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Winners of Relay! GBV Challenge Announced

The Lotus Flower Organisation from Iraq and the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA) of Turkey are the winners of the inaugural Relay! GBV Challenge.
The Lotus Flower Organisation from Iraq and the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA) of Turkey are the winners of the inaugural Relay! GBV Challenge.

AMMAN, Jordan (December 10, 2018) – A business incubator for displaced Iraqi women and a mental health mobile service with a smartphone application aiding confidential outreach to domestic violence survivors from Syria were the winners of the inaugural Relay! GBV Challenge, the global humanitarian organization CARE announced today at the conclusion of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) campaign.

The Lotus Flower Organisation from Iraq, which runs the business incubator, and the Syrian Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA) of Turkey, developers of a GBV awareness mobile application, won the Relay! GBV Challenge after a month-long call for the best initiatives addressing Gender-based Violence in the Middle East and North Africa. As the grand prize winners among the 90 applications from Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq, Lotus Flower and SEMA will receive additional funds for their programs and a partnership with CARE staff in their countries to further the programs’ work and impact.

The Relay! GBV Challenge began accepting application in October. The challenge aimed to surface the best interventions that are working to respond, prevent and understand gender-based violence in various contexts throughout the region. CARE identified particular scenarios in each country that detailed target population and GBV specifics, for example, early marriage in Jordan or sexual harassment in Egypt. Local organizations replied to country-specific challenges and highlighted their best initiatives displaying the most promise. Eleven (11) semi-finalists were chosen in November and the final two winners were decided based on a rigorous judging process by CARE senior staff and other international organizations’ leadership.

Gender-based violence is one of the greatest barriers to gender-equity and can encompass a wide range of dangerous and sometimes invisible tactics, from financial intimidation, harassment, to physical abuse and murder. The work to address GBV is critical to save the lives and livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable populations around the word. In 2017 alone, 50,000 women were killed by family members or intimate partners, and statistics show that at least 1 in 5 refugee women experience sexual violence. The needs of women and girls are great, and CARE takes a holistic approach, including awareness training, financial and resource assistance, health care, and counseling.

CARE believes that violence against women is a human rights violation, and knows that preventing and responding to it requires a network of change-makers, allies, and advocates. The Relay! GBV challenge hopes to infuse resources and capacity to work that is making a marked difference in communities. The great work from other organizations and support of the entire community of actors, is pivotal to creating a world of dignity, safety, and security for women and girls. Congratulations to Lotus Flower and SEMA!

Notes on the two winners:

SEMA provides psychological support to individuals through a physical center and, as a RELAY! Winner, will develop a new smartphone application to increase outreach directly and confidentially with GBV survivors, offering a suite of support services.

The Lotus Flower are local implementers that support women and girls impacted by conflict and displacement. As a RELAY! Winner they will use the grant to scale up their Women’s Business Incubator to provide a financial foundation and business mentorship for women-led small businesses.


Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world.

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