SIHA NETWORK LAUNCHES “Between Poverty and Trauma” – A Shelter Management Manual for Migrant and Trafficked Women and Girls

Over the years, SIHA’s work with adolescent girls has focused on girls living in conflict, post-conflict and emergency contexts, including migrant and IDP girls, and girls who migrate (or are forced to migrate) to other countries in search of economic opportunities.

The “Between Poverty and Trauma – Shelter Management manual for Migrant and Trafficked women and girls” has been developed to respond to the growing needs within the Horn of Africa to establish transitory shelters for women and girls whose lives and well-being are at risk. The manual was inspired by the experiences of women and girl migrant domestic workers and women whose poor employment conditions combined with societal and cultural stigma make them vulnerable to abuse, often leading to trauma, poor mental health and stigma.

The different components within the manual draw on SIHA’s experience with the impact of discrimination, repression and abuse on the mental health of women, particularly the poor and marginalized women and girls who perform marginal jobs – as highlighted in Caught between Poverty and Trauma, published by SIHA. Even more crucial to the protection of these migrant women and girls, a group often subjected to torture and abuse, is addressing their need for safe spaces to regain their mental health.

SIHA strongly believes that women’s organizations and government agencies working with women and girls across the region will benefit from this Shelter Management Manual. Particularly in light of the importance of women’s transitory shelters as critical establishments to support the masses of poor women subjected to torture and violence due to their employment and /or social and economic conditions. Furthermore, the institution of these shelters aids in psycho-social support to allow the women to regain their self-esteem and heal and reclaim their ability and agency to function within their society.


This Manual provides step-by-step guidance on how to apply a culturally sensitive, gender-responsive, human rights-based approach to shelter management with complete and coordinated shelter support from admission to reintegration to post-integration follow-up.

This manual is designed primarily for use by shelters and social workers working in structures of transitory support for migrant and trafficked women and girls. Furthermore, SIHA is more than happy to provide further technical support with the use of this manual, to organizations that are running transitory shelters of migrant and trafficked women and girls, and survivors of torture.