Call to Action Progress Reports September 2014

A Call to Action on protection from gender-based violence in emergencies
Progress Summaries 2014

In conjunction with the Call to Action event on September 2014 during the U.N. General Assembly, a number of Call to Action partners prepared progress reports on the commitments they made when the initiative was launched in November 2013. This document includes the executive summaries of these reports. The material gathered from partners during the reporting process will help inform the development of a detailed, results-oriented road map for the next phase of the Call to Action.


American Refugee Committee (ARC)
CARE International
Christian Aid
European Union (EU)
GBV Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR)
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
International Medical Corps (IMC)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Refugees International (RI)
Save the Children
United Kingdom
UN Women
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United States of America
Water Aid
Women’s Refugee Commission
World Food Program


American Refugee Committee (ARC)

The American Refugee Committee (ARC) committed to the following in late 2013:

  • Partner with national NGOs and women’s groups throughout four countries to strengthen local technical and organizational capacity to safely address VAWG, building on ARC’s partnership toolkit
  • Scale up multi-sector, client-centered assistance for survivors of GBV as well as learning and economic opportunities for women and girls to reduce risks of violence and abuse
  • Implement evidence-informed, participatory prevention interventions that bolster supportive local protection mechanisms and engage whole communities to reduce the acceptability of VAWG

ARC is partnering with three local national and state-level women’s groups in South Sudan and will seek continued funding in 2015. In Uganda, Somalia, and Pakistan, ARC is also seeking funding to revive or build mutually-beneficial partnerships with local women’s groups. Through these partnerships, ARC will update and improve our partnership toolkit for greater efficacy and advancement of local leadership. Additionally, ARC has been able to scale up multi-sector, client-centered assistance for survivors of GBV, expanding into additional geographic locations in Somalia and South Sudan. This includes comprehensive psychosocial and health care according to global standards and good practices.

Regarding evidence-informed VAWG prevention interventions, ARC has been supporting organic community-based protection networks and local community activists by adapting and rolling out the Raising Voices SASA![1] community mobilization approach in South Sudan in early 2014 and engaging traditional male leaders for social change. This work started in Uganda four years ago, but ARC is now working to revive and improve our implementation of the SASA! methodology.

Short-funding cycles, limited funding, and challenges in recruiting highly qualified staff remain challenges in fully reaching our commitments and intended impact. However, ARC is prioritizing the need to address internal staff capacity (e.g., adequate staffing numbers and competency) to ensure informed, strategic interventions that have meaningful, actual impact, appropriate for each context.



Australia has a steadfast and ongoing commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The new Australian aid policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability (launched June 2014), includes a strong focus on these issues, identifying three pillars to concentrate efforts: women’s voice in decision-making, leadership, and peacebuilding; women’s economic empowerment; and ending violence against women and girls. The Government’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, advocates for these issues, with a particular focus on the Indo-Pacific. The Government has also set a target requiring that at least 80 per cent of aid investments, regardless of their objectives, will effectively address gender issues in their implementation. The new aid policy also commits Australia to the implementation of the UN Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security commitments through effective aid program investments in countries affected by conflict.

Protection is a core component of Australia’s humanitarian action. Australia has a long-standing commitment to protecting people affected by natural disasters and human-induced crises, reflecting our desire to prevent and reduce the violence, exploitation and deprivation that people in such situations face. Australia released its first Protection in Humanitarian Action Framework (the Framework) in 2013. The Framework commits Australia to fund and advocate for dedicated protection programs and for protection to be mainstreamed in humanitarian action. It identifies three priority areas for Australia’s protection work: being accountable to affected populations; protecting people with a disability; and preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV). These commitments are consistent with those outlined in the Call to Action Communiqué.

Since the launch of the Call to Action, Australia has continued to focus on protection in humanitarian action, including through:

  • Support to a global Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme in Crisis and Post-Crisis settings (SPRINT) which aims to ensure the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) is implemented in humanitarian settings – a key commitment in the Call to Action Communiqué
  • Providing additional funding of $1.65 million to global protection activities, including through the Women’s Refugee Commission, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Protection and Gender Standby Capacity Projects (ProCap and GenCap), and the Global Protection Cluster’s GBV Area of Responsibility
  • Providing $4 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Special Appeal: Strengthening the Response to Sexual Violence to assist in strengthening their organizational response to GBV.



Canada recognizes that during humanitarian crises, the incidence of violence against women and girls is amplified and they often face increased protection risks such as sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking, and child, early and forced marriage.

In Canada’s statement during the November 2013 ‘Keep Her Safe’ high-level event in London, UK, Canada committed to:

  • Building on existing investments to respond quickly and effectively to violence against women and girls from the onset of an emergency
  • Prioritizing the protection of women and girls with multilateral and non-governmental partners
  • Supporting innovative approaches and work on child, early and forced marriage

In 2014, in an effort to better address these protection risks, Canada provided $10 million to experienced humanitarian organizations to expand their capacity to prevent and reduce sexual violence and to strengthen the overall international humanitarian system’s ability to protect women and girls from violence in emergency contexts. Canada also announced $50 million for education and child protection activities that support the “No Lost Generation” initiative to reach children affected by the crisis in Syria.

Canada has intensified its efforts to end child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) and in 2013, played a leadership role in the development of the first-ever stand-alone resolutions on CEFM at the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly and will co-lead with Zambia on an UNGA resolution on CEFM again in 2014. In July, 2014, Canada announced a $20 million contribution (over two years) to UNICEF towards ending child, early and forced marriage in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Yemen and Zambia.

Canada also participated in the June 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, in London, UK and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs underscored the importance of ensuring that commitments are turned into action to end sexual violence in conflict and called on the international community to bring perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict to justice. Canada continues to support an $18.5 million 5-year initiative (2013-2018) with UNDP to fight against impunity and support survivors of sexual violence in DRC.

These efforts are complemented by Canada’s continued commitment to implement its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. This National Action Plan guides Canada’s implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, and helps improve Canada’s capacity to safeguard and support affected populations during all phases of peace operations, peace enforcement, conflict prevention, mediation, and stabilization and reconstruction in fragile states and conflict-affected situations.

Going forward we will continue to monitor humanitarian situations around the world to ensure the needs of those most vulnerable – including their protection and education needs - are met through our humanitarian response.


CARE International

CARE International believes that the Call To Action offers a great platform to promote a coordinated, harmonised and aligned approach to gender equality and addressing gender-based violence in humanitarian settings. The process has already brought together donors, NGOs and UN agencies at a senior level in an unprecedented fashion on these issues. To maximise its potential, we need to agree ways forward that broaden the list of stakeholders which endorse and implement the twelve commitments in the communique, share best practices and hold themselves accountable to them.

In terms of CARE’s own commitments, we have made significant progress in building staff capacity, promoting implementation of the MISP (Minimum Initial Service Package on Reproductive Health in Emergencies) and rolling out innovative approaches to accountability for addressing gender in response efforts. On accountability, CARE has piloted a new internal Gender Marker ++ system across emergency project design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation as part of our Syria Response and in West Africa. We look forward to bringing that experience into dialogue with donors, UN and peer agencies on wider approaches to accountability across the humanitarian sector. In terms of the MISP, CARE has scaled up programming in five countries and is collaborating with peers on taking forward findings from the global MISP evaluation. In terms of staff capacity, trainings with our Senior Humanitarian Sectoral Specialists, Regional Emergency Coordinators, and Rapid Response Team have built our cadre of experts who can champion more effective approaches to gender and gender-based violence both in our own programmes and in our work with others.

In terms of our recommendations for donors, UN agencies and peer organisations, CARE International shares the following recommendations:

  • All actors should commit to sustain the Call to Action process through to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) towards fostering global consensus on how commitments in the communique can inform WHS outcomes and wider humanitarian reform efforts.
  • Further High Level Events should be convened to sustain political leadership of the process and broaden the list of signatories to the communique towards the WHS.
  • In a limited number of prioritised crisis contexts (L3+), donors could also undertake field-level peer reviews to assess progress in advance of World Humanitarian Summit.
  • Commitments in the communique should be factored into the revision of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) "Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters" (March 2015).
  • Donors could also consider establishing bilateral ‘Call to Action Implementation Plans’ to translate the twelve commitments in the communique into their policies, funding mechanisms and operational guidance/requirements for agencies they fund and partner with.

Senior Technical Officials Meetings could be convened to share best practices and foster harmonisation, coordination and alignment across bilateral and agency-specific efforts to implement the communique. Priority themes could include: how donors might systematically monitor implementation of the commitments in rapid on-set crises (e.g. through multi-cluster initial rapid assessments, L3 strategic response plans, CAPs, and Inter-agency Real Time Evaluations); sharing best practices on addressing GBV prevention and response in bilateral donor policies, funding and operational guidance; and clarifying areas for enhanced donor alignment at the global level (e.g. on donor engagement with ‘gender markers’ and roll-out of the forthcoming revised IASC GBV guidelines to promote accountability for gender equality and gender-based violence efforts).


Christian Aid

Christian Aid recognises that gender is a universal power relationship –shaping men’s and women’s choices and opportunities in every sphere (political, economic, social and interpersonal) and at every level from household to global. While other structures (such as ethnicity, age, disability, caste, sexuality) can have a more profound impact on individuals, gender is all-pervasive – we’re all gendered, and we all act every day within and upon a web of gender relationships. Every one of us is personally implicated in gender as a question of power. However, although we’re all part of the problem, we’re also all part of the solution.

To respond to this power relationship Christian Aid has launched a new Corporate Gender Strategy in May 2014 with specific reference to gender based violence (GBV) in which we have committed ourselves to demonstrating that we are making a significant contribution towards a reduction in gender based violence through challenging and changing damaging social norms.

To make this commitment a reality the humanitarian division within Christian Aid have developed an Action Plan framework which includes major GBV objectives which set up clear parameters and goals for GBV within the TVBP (Tackling Violence, Building Peace) strategy as well as include GBV prevention within our protection mainstreaming in humanitarian programmes.

The Action Plan framework includes three strands of activity which are outlined below alongside our progress made;

1. Developing new guidance on gender and GBV for humanitarian staff and develop and execute new training initiatives. In March 2014 Christian Aid arranged and facilitated an international workshop/training event involving the participation of 20-plus key Christian Aid staff members and has been instrumental in informing Christian Aid’s future approach to Gender and GBV in its humanitarian work.

2. Developing and implementing a new strategy for humanitarian protection with a strong GBV component. Christian Aid is in the process of finalising its new TVBP (Tackling Violence Building Peace) strategy document, which launched at the end of August 2014 outlining Christian Aid’scommitment to supporting our partners with GBV expertise as well as building capacity within our partners that lack GBV skills and experience to establish safe referral and reporting processes to competent organisations. Christian Aid’s evaluations will also integrate GBV within wider gender-sensitive planning and a holistic approach to rehabilitation, which includes both men and women.

3. Upgrading our humanitarian M&E guidelines to more explicitly incorporate gender. At a corporate level and in line with Christian Aid’s new stated priorities gender specific considerations are being incorporated into Christian Aid’s project database and management system (PROMISE) which will ensure that all beneficiary data is disaggregated by gender. Alongside this Christian Aid are developing pragmatic gender-sensitive M&E tools to ensure that M&E and needs assessment documents include gender and protection indicators within them. These are on-going pieces of work targeted for completion by the end of 2014.


European Union (EU)

Tackling Gender Based Violence in emergencies remains of high importance for the EU and whilst this issue is addressed primarily through humanitarian aid provided by the EU, a number of other financial instruments in the area of development and external relations (such as the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace) are equally providing funding for this important topic. Details have been included in the original commitments of the EU on the occasion of the launch of the "Call for Action".

Since the launch of the Call for Action the European Commission's service for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) has further stepped up its work in the field of GBV in emergencies. In 2013 ECHO launched its new gender policy Gender in Humanitarian Assistance: Different Needs, Adapted Assistance, which includes an explicit chapter on sexual and gender-based violence.

The document clearly states that SGBV should be addressed from a survivor-centered and comprehensive multi-sectorial approach, including medical care, psychological support, referral to legal services and, if possible, livelihood support or socio-economic assistance. SGBV can either be addressed through mainstreaming, targeted actions that specifically address SGBV or capacity building that empowers humanitarian actors to better address SGBV in a coordinated way.

To support policy implementation and coherence, the Commission has introduced a Gender-Age marker, which applies to all projects funded by ECHO as of January 2014. The marker is a unique tool that uses four criteria to assess how strongly all ECHO funded humanitarian actions integrate gender and age dimensions. To facilitate the implementation of this new tool ECHO is already offering trainings to staff and partners, both at HQ and in the field. Several reference documents have also been published, such as the Gender-Age Marker Toolkit and training materials, which are available for free on ECHO's website or at ECHO's Gender and Age Group at the EU's online knowledge sharing platform Capacity4dev:

In accordance with the commitments made for the Call for Action, for the humanitarian support to Syria refuges, in 2014 the EU has so far provided € 13.1 million to support actions that include specific child protection and GBV-related elements, including healthcare and psychosocial care, with partners such as UNICEF, IRC and Save the Children.

In 2014 ECHO also funds a global capacity building project led by IOM aimed at preventing sexual abuse and exploitation (SEA) by aid workers by piloting inter-agency community-based complaints mechanisms in DRC and Ethiopia.

In addition, the EU is addressing SGBV in emergencies under its new Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (the former IfS) , by providing pre-deployment training for civilian crisis management personnel on how to address and prevent GBV in crises. It also supports a program in Gender and Transitional Justice, as well as civil society actors at local and regional level to developing better responses to gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict environments.


GBV Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR)

The Gender Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR), a functional component of the Global Protection Cluster, is the global working group charged with coordinating GBV prevention and response activities in humanitarian settings. Its members include international and national non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, academics and other experts who work together to achieve more predictable, accountable and effective approaches to GBV in complex emergencies. The GBV AoR is co-led at the global level by UNFPA and UNICEF.

As detailed in humanitarian standards and guidance, preventing and responding to GBV requires well-coordinated actions from humanitarian actors across program sectors, clusters and organizations from the very start of an emergency. The GBV AoR currently supports coordination efforts in 20 humanitarian emergencies, including the declared Level 3 emergencies in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria.

In addition to its coordination responsibilities, the AoR also supports initiatives aimed at ensuring more effective GBV programming that delivers tangible, measurable improvements in the safety and well-being of those at greatest risk—most often women and girls. Several key AoR initiatives related to improving preparedness, strengthening the capacity of GBV professionals, developing more effective programming, and advancing community-wide learning and good practice are captured in the commitments the AoR has made under the Call to Action. In attempt to make the GBV AoR commitments for measurable and time-related, the SAG has made the following modifications:

1. By December 2014, a one-page concept note that outlines the criteria on how to support GBViE in 3 high risk countries will be written and approved by the SAG.

2. By December 2014, a two-page technical note on practical approaches for better programming on GBV and DRR will be endorsed by the SAG.

3. By March 2015, the SAG will have approved a team of GBV Coordinators and GBV Experts who can provide surge support in emergencies (via the REGA and RRT mechanisms). [Target: 4 REGA and 4 RRT]

4. By December 2014, a 5-year Capacity Development Strategy will be completed and approved by the Learning Task Team, for SAG endorsement by March 2015.

5. By December 2014, the GBV AoR website will be updated, including with the latest information from each of the AoR Task Teams.

6. By March 2015, the SAG will have approved a GBViE Emergency Preparedness Toolkit and will have posted this toolkit to the GBV AoR webpage.

7. By March 2015, the IASC will have endorsed the revised IASC GBV Guidelines and the GBV AoR will have a SAG-approved strategy for their rollout and implementation.

8. By March 2015, the SAG will have approved the revised GBV Coordination Handbook and developed a strategy for its wide dissemination.

The GBV AoR has made substantial progress in accomplishing the aforementioned goals, with many goals likely to be achieved within the upcoming six months. A collective effort from a senior leadership group within the GBV AoR known as the GBV AoR Strategic Advisory Group (SAG), along with the GBV AoR Task Team chairs and co-chairs, have been essential in ensuring action on GBV AoR commitments that are directly linked to the AoR’s work plan. In conjunction to commitments made by individual agencies, SAG members have been dedicated to developing a harmonized approach to preventing and responding to GBV across agencies through the GBV AoR that can be implemented by a broad platform of actors, including but not limited to, UN agencies, international organizations, national governments, and community based organizations.



The InterAction GBV Working Group (GBV WG) committed the following:

  • Contribute to the development and promotion of evidence-informed GBV programming, by sharing knowledge learned and gained through InterAction GBV Learning Events aimed at educating ourselves, field staff, and partners in best practice and lessons learned.
    • Through the Results-Based Protection initiative led by InterAction, we will contribute to robust protection analysis to support VAWG prevention and response as part of protection strategies and overall humanitarian response.
  • Produce an NGO report that provides critical feedback on the appropriateness and use of interagency tools and resources in support of programming, coordination and advocacy for preventing and responding to VAWG. The report will include lessons learned, successes, and gaps in the implementation of new initiatives such as the US Government’s Safe from the Start initiative as well as report on InterAction member commitments, at the end of the first year (and subsequent years) of implementation.
  • Initiate a dialogue with InterAction members on how internal structures and processes are established, implemented, and monitored to support programming for VAWG. We will commit to set in motion increased accountability of InterAction members to establish the necessary policies, structures and processes that support comprehensive GBV programming.

Members of the GBV WG contributed significantly to advancing our commitments made under the 2013 Call to Action. A critical endeavor led by the GBV WG to better understand the Call to Action, including the contributions of its own commitments, involved commissioning a review of the commitments made by individual agencies and an analysis of the full scope of the Call to Action in order to better understand, through an NGO perspective, whether the current barriers and constraints to VAWG prevention and response were addressed. Following this analysis, the review explored what framework would be needed to reinforce accountability in relation to the Call to Action. This piece of work helped to drive our members’ engagement, to prioritize action within the GBV WG, and take up recommendations for the US government’s road mapping process for addressing VAWG in emergencies.

The engagement of members of the GBV WG plays a significant role in fulfilling the group’s obligations. Members continue to support learning towards evidence-informed programming through active participation and leadership in organized Learning Events and additional side events addressing lessons learned, opportunities, challenges and gaps of VAWG.

Strong linkage between the InterAction Results-Based Protection initiative and the work of the GBV WG further explores how VAWG can support protection outcomes and strengthen overall approaches to VAWG. This work and collaboration is expected to continue and grow in the coming year with new funding from ECHO to support the key elements of Results-Based Protection. It is envisioned that the learning generated from this work will enhance the commitments made by the GBV WG to the Call to Action.


International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) work that focuses on protection from gender-based violence in emergencies includes;

  • Addressing violence in disaster and emergency response (e.g. Philippines, DR Congo, Jordan) and recovery (e.g. Kenya, Pakistan, Lebanon, etc.), disaster preparedness and development programmes. This work is led by local volunteers at the community-level. Volunteers often respond in hard-to-access locations, complex environments and in small- and medium-scale emergencies that can be under-served and become “silent disasters.”
  • Conducting humanitarian diplomacy to raise awareness of the issue of GBV in emergencies and of local solutions on prevention and response to key decision-makers at the local, national and international levels.
  • Including this critical theme at Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Statutory Meetings in 2013 and in planning for next meetings in 2015; the 2015 Statutory Meetings will include the IFRC, the ICRC, all 189 National Societies and their governments.
  • Including measures for protection from GBV in emergencies in the key new Principles and Rules for Humanitarian Response document, which is the primary guideline for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to disasters and emergencies.
  • Building IFRC and National Society capacity through a series of trainings and in the development and implementation of tools. These trainings and the use of the tools are supported by technical support at the local, regional and international levels.
  • Directly and/or with National Society and academic partners, investing in research and evaluation projects on GBV in emergencies’ themes.


International Medical Corps (IMC)

International Medical Corps endorsed the Final Communique of the Call to Action and submitted four specific commitments to further protect women and girls in emergency settings in November 2013. Over the past 10 months, International Medical Corps (IMC) has taken a number of actions to uphold its commitments and to strengthen prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV). International Medical Corps has also contributed to interagency coordination around the Call to Action commitments, including participation in consultation workshops held in May and June 2014.

International Medical Corps will continue to prioritize GBV prevention and response in emergency settings as a core area of focus throughout the coming year and beyond. International Medical Corps has made a number of additional commitments toward the Call to Action for the coming year and will monitor progress toward these commitments. International Medical Corps will also continue to contribute toward coordination efforts, through the GBV AoR, InterAction, and through specific forums related to the Call to Action road mapping process.

We hope that coordination over the coming year will focus less on accountability toward individual agencies’ commitments and more on addressing common barriers to achieve commitments. We also recommend more attention to core principles and actions outlined in the Joint Communique, and we hope the road mapping process will allow space for more analysis and creativity toward addressing key issues related to GBV in emergencies.


International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Population movements – whether induced by conflict or natural disaster – expose those who are vulnerable in the affected populations, particularly women and children, to gender-based violence (GBV). Violence against women and girls is particularly prevalent and often widespread in the complex emergencies and natural disasters where IOM operates. This is one of the reasons that the IOM Director General called upon missions world-wide to scale-up the Organization’s activities to prevent and address GBV on the last International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. IOM recognizes that GBV also affects men and boys and seeks to undertake preventative, remedial and environment-building activities which adopt an inclusive approach to all survivors. These measures are captured in the commitments IOM has made under the Call to Action.

While SGBV encompasses a broad range of abuses, two particularly egregious forms of it include sexual abuse and exploitation (SEA) by humanitarian staff and human trafficking. For the past three years, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) appointed the IOM Director General to serve as the UN System Champion to Prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. This function included working with IASC agencies’ senior focal points which culminated in December 2013, when the Director General presented two reports to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. The first report detailed cutting-edge recruitment practices on PSEA for international organizations and non-governmental programs. In May 2014, the IASC Principals’ progress report on PSEA was sent to the Secretary General of the United Nations. Internally, IOM continues to address SEA through continuous staff training, awareness-raising and actively investigating allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation received from the field. The Organization is also engaged in an inter-agency pilot program to establish community-based complaints mechanisms in Ethiopia and the DRC.

IOM has also taken steps to prioritize combatting human trafficking in emergencies – where it often flourishes because affected populations are more vulnerable given the breakdown of traditional support structures and weakened state infrastructures and social service support systems. To remedy this, IOM his working to strengthen its crisis response to make trafficking part of the initial needs assessment at the onset of a crisis, and has increased training for colleagues in emergency operations, provided tailored protection and assistance to victims, increased awareness among natural disaster-affected populations, and continued to strengthen the capacity of local actors to combat human trafficking in their national territories. Through its Resettlement and Movement Management division, IOM also continues to provide emergency repatriation services to stranded migrant women, the majority of whom are at increased risk of being trafficked or subjected to forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. The Organization recognizes the need for analyzing past and current interventions in emergency settings in order to compile best practices and develop effective and comprehensive approaches. The Organization aims to create a permanent pool of experts to lead research, carry out prevention pilot programs in pre-crisis countries, and draft counter-trafficking best practice policy guidelines in pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis settings.

IOM has taken measures to integrated GBV prevention, care and referral services across its core health and psychosocial programs before, during and after emergencies. To respond to the needs of survivors of SGBV, recent health projects have been established in Yemen, South Sudan and the Philippines with referral mechanisms to effectively support affected persons, and psychosocial programs supporting survivors in CAR and Nigeria, including assisting the Chibok girls and their families, have been successfully implemented.

As the global lead agency of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster in natural disasters, IOM has included GBV expertise in the Rapid Response Team and Cluster Coordinator portfolios so that GBV prevention and response is integrated into emergencies setting where IOM is working. This expertise extends into the ongoing adaptation of the information management tool, the displacement tracking matrix to allow it to provide more timely responses to VAWG; capacity building initiatives, such as the inclusion of a GBV module into the CCCM Global Training materials, and the design of GBV/Protection trainings and workshops for camp management staff, national authorities and civilians; the CCCM Cluster’s agreement on the minimum standards on GBV prevention/response in the camp response which is being piloted in South Sudan; the recruitment of GBV specialists; and the production of the Comprehensive Guide for Planning Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND Guide) pilot document.

Complementing IOM’s direct response to GBV in emergencies, IOM also works to identify, mitigate and address the root causes of GBV as part of its post-crisis transition and recovery programming. This includes initiatives to mainstream gender into Security Sector Reform and compiling lessons learned to replicate this model in other countries, supporting the enfranchisement of women to electoral processes, strengthening community cohesion and governance, and sensitizing civilians around GBV in communities hosting high numbers forced migrants seeking international protection. The Organization has also systematically advocated for giving victims of sexual violence priority in states’ reparations efforts, and promotes remedies that are adapted to victims’ specific needs and vulnerabilities. It IOM collaborates closely with authorities and partners in Colombia, the former Yugoslavia, Nepal, and Sierra Leone.


International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)

In June 2014, IPPF committed $1.5m of core resources to review current experience, draw best practice and strengthen our national Member Associations’ (MAs) systems and health provider capacity to deliver services to women and girls at risk of and/or affected by SGBV - including as a core component of our Integrated Package of Essential Services. Since the Call to Action, IPPF has undertaken staff training on the Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health in Crisis Situations (MISP) for 11 MAs and partners in 11 countries. IPPF is committed to mobilising funds to implement the MISP in crisis settings. In 2013, 91 MAs provided SGBV-related services (69%), and IPPF is working to increase this to 80% by 2015. In 2013, IPPF MAs provided 1.8 million SGBV-related services to women and girls and is currently working to increase this number. IPPF has strengthened partnerships with international, regional and national organisations, including UNFPA and International Medical Corps. IPPF is committed to carrying out participatory research to build the evidence base for MISP implementation.

IPPF’s SPRINT initiative has advocated successfully with 15 national organisations to integrate the MISP into their preparedness and response programmes in order to enhance the implementation of the MISP. These organisations have expanded their work on the MISP to other humanitarian agencies in those countries. Integration into national programmes has strengthened ownership of the MISP by national stakeholders and encourages sustainability.

All SPRINT priority countries in South Asia are part of the country level Emergency and Disaster Risk Reduction forum and network with UNOCHA, WHO, Ministries of Public Health and UNFPA to actively formulate strategies for the integration of the MISP into national disaster management policies. In other priority countries, SPRINT has emphasised participation in UN clusters on Disaster Risk Reduction at the national level.

In 2013 Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan, integrated the MISP into their national disaster/emergency management policies. In other priority countries, there is a strong commitment within the government for the integration of MISP into emergency preparedness and response policies at national and local level[2].

SPRINT has provided monthly leadership and guidance to the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) MISP sub-working group and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Reproductive Health sub-working group through the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC). SPRINT has advocated for the integration of SRH in emergency settings and disaster risk reduction in various global and regional platforms including the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR), the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), the World Conference on Disaster Management. SPRINT has also supported development of policy briefs by WRC on integration of SRH in emergency and disaster management, and WRC’s participation in the multi-agency MISP assessment in response to the Syrian crisis in Jordan in 2013 which led to an article on Conflict and Health. These documents were part of the effort to improve response, meet the SRH needs of refugees and contribute to the IAWG global evaluation.


International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC believes that the ‘Call to Action on protection from Gender Based Violence (GBV) in emergencies’ is evidence of the increasing recognition of and political will to protect women and girls in emergencies, to not only keep women and girls safe from violence, but safe to enjoy their full range of human rights. The following is an update of IRC’s 2013 ‘Call to Action’ commitments:

a) Train and support 25 grassroots civil society organizations over 2 years to ensure that there are local experts ready to respond to the next crisis (completed)

The IRC has significantly increased its investment in GBV in emergencies by developing a GBV Emergency Response Programme Model and training package, which ensures survivors of violence have accessible and appropriate services and risks to women and girls are reduced. The model addresses a longstanding gap in guidance on what should be prioritised in the first stages of an emergency. The IRC has trained over 100 grassroots organizations on responding to GBV emergencies even in extremely challenging circumstances. Since the 2013 High Level Event, the IRC has trained 50 participants from 44 organizations across Sub Saharan African with the support of the MacArthur Foundation. The IRC has also re-launched its website with resources on GBV response & prevention, women’s and adolescent girl protection and empowerment, emergency response & preparedness, policy & advocacy, and research & learning. Our GBV Emergency Response Program Model and training package can be freely accessed at this website.

b) Undertake qualitative research on domestic violence in three countries (Iraq, Kenya, and South Sudan) (completed)

In partnership with researchers from Duke University, an independent researcher and with the support of the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM), the IRC has recently concluded its research “Private Violence, Public Concern” on the drivers, forms and consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) on women and girls in conflict settings in South Sudan, Kenya and Iraq. A report will be released in December 2014 and will provide specific data to help humanitarian organizations identify entry points, challenges and women’s perspectives on how organizations can best address this issue in humanitarian and conflict-affected settings.

c) Implement programs to promote the safety, prevention of and response to violence against adolescent girls in the DRC, Pakistan and Ethiopia (in progress)

The IRC launched in April 2014 the DfID-funded programme “COMPASS: Creating Opportunities through Mentoring, Parental Involvement and Safe Spaces”. It aims to protect and empower adolescent girls in humanitarian contexts in Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. This programme will identify, acknowledge, and respond to the vulnerabilities of adolescent girls by establishing a foundation for their healthy transition into adulthood in humanitarian crises. It includes a research component to appropriately define effective and supportive responses for adolescent girls in humanitarian contexts, where they are largely invisible and under-served.

d) Use existing networks to convene focused discussions with emergency directors of operational NGOs to share operational strategies and good practice for preventing and responding to VAWG in emergencies (in progress)

The IRC’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment Unit (WPE) is working with its Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit (EPRU) to finalize a strategy to complete this commitment and select the best method to bring these actors into together to action. This will be a follow up of the IRC-led April 2013 session on VAWG prevention and response during the Inter-Agency Working Group on Emergency Capacity meeting in New York with the emergency directors of Save the Children USA, CARE USA, OXFAM GB, Mercy Corps, World Vision, and CRS, where the IRC examined GBV responses in four emergencies – Haiti, Pakistan, the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo– to better understand the decisions and investments that influenced response to violence against women and girls. The IRC will be seeking funding to hold a one day meeting to bring these directors together in the upcoming 6 months.

e) Implement a global VAWG capacity building program for 300 specialist and non-specialist staff (UN, NGOs, governments, national civil society) in three regional hubs (pending)

The IRC continues to be committed to capacity building of non-specialist staff and it continues to seek for funding to carry out this specific commitment.

f) Scale up an evidence-based, field-tested prevention program (working with men and boys) on VAWG in humanitarian contexts (in progress)

Since 2003, the IRC’s Women’s Protection & Empowerment (WPE) Unit has been working to engage men in preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG). Based on our evidenced-based and field-tested curriculum, we have developed the “Preventing Violence against Women & Girls: Engaging Men through Accountable Practice (EMAP)” intervention, a one year primary prevention intervention which aims to reduce violence against women and girls by addressing its root causes.

The intervention includes the EMAP Resource Package, concluded in 2013 with the support of the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM), the NoVo Foundation and Irish Aid. The IRC has recently received confirmation that BPRM is funding the “Preventing Violence against Women and Girls: Building Humanitarian Practitioner Capacity”, the will strengthen the field practice of the EMAP model.



Ireland has long prioritised the protection of women and girls in emergencies through dedicated policy, programming and advocacy efforts, noting that almost without exception, there is an increase in gender based violence during and after natural disasters and conflict. Ireland affirms that the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls is in itself a life-saving action which needs to be an essential part of every humanitarian operation.

Ireland is a strong supporter of all international efforts to end sexual and gender based violence in crises, as evident in our endorsement of the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict at the UN in September 2013, and our strong commitments through the Call to Action Campaign to support protection of women and girls from violence in emergencies which we believe should be prioritised as a life-saving intervention from the first phase of an emergency.

Specifically, Ireland has committed to:

  • Ensuring that the protection of women and girls in emergencies is prioritised in our development and humanitarian policy commitments.
  • Allocating specific human resource capacity and technical specialist expertise in order to support effective humanitarian response to gender-based violence in emergency and recovery contexts, including through the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps and support to GenCap.
  • Ensuring that the protection of women and girls in emergencies is part of the appraisal criteria for all recipients of Irish Aid humanitarian funding.
  • Maintaining the Irish Government’s commitment to active engagement in the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence which is a key forum for promoting international best practice in this area.
  • Reconfirming the Irish Government’s commitment to support efforts to implement Ireland’s National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
  • Progressively increase Irish Aid funding to the protection of women and girls in emergency and recovery contexts over the coming three years.

Furthermore, Ireland was one of the 122 states which endorsed a Statement of Action at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London on June 10th -13th 2014 which declares “that rape and sexual violence is not an inevitable consequence of war or lesser crime”, that signatories are committed to supporting survivors and “to holding accountable those who perpetrate or are otherwise responsible for these crimes”.



In September 2013, at the last 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his commitment to support for realizing "a society in which all women shine" and made financial commitment in excess of $3 billion for 013-2015. Accordingly, the Government of Japan (GoJ) has provided relevant projects and programs to support women in developing countries with approximately $1.8 billion in 2013.

Under the pillar on supporting women in peace and security in PM’s commitment, GoJ has supported various projects including those protecting women from GBV in humanitarian crisis such as in Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, etc. in cooperation with international organizations including UNHCR and IOM etc., and Japanese NGOs, participating in the Japan Platform.

The GoJ has committed to protect women in emergencies. Specifically, based on our lessons learned in the Great East Japan Earthquakes, Japan submitted two draft resolutions to the UN Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2012 and in 2014 on “Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in Natural Disasters”, which were adopted in consensus. The resolutions highlighted gender considerations during disaster response, recovery, and reconstruction, as well as disaster risk reduction, and suggested to enhance women’s participation in building resilient communities.

The GoJ also commits to finalize the draft process of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace, and Security pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) in consultation with CSOs and academia. GoJ is committed to implement the plan for the next three years in 2015-2017 in cooperation with JICA, NGOs, and international organizations. Monitoring and evaluation will be arranged with CSOs every year. The issues of protection from gender-based violence in emergencies are mainstreamed into four different sections which consists of the NAP 1325: Participation, Prevention, Protection, and Humanitarian Assistance and Recovery.

Under the initiative by Prime Minister Abe, Japan just held the "World Assembly for Women” on 12-14 September in Tokyo (WAW! Tokyo 2014) and discussed the issues including “human security and women” and “women in peace and security.” Two of the 12 proposals suggested at the conference is to strengthen the role of women in peace and security, which leads to end the culture of impunity for sexual violence and provide survivor-centered support in peacebuilding, and create mechanisms to ensure the empowerment and support for women.


Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

NRC Commitments for 2013-2014:

  • Address VAWG in Kurdistan-Iraq through community-based initiatives increasing women’s and girls’ voice
  • Roll out the NRC Education Guidelines for the Prevention and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in all NRC education programs
  • Research on the linkages between VAWG and security of tenure in humanitarian/displacement settings and promote the key recommendations within the humanitarian and donor community
  • Explore the possibility of strengthening and expanding pool of protection and GBV experts
  • Explore further roster management support to provide immediate deployment in rapid onset unforeseen disasters and provide short-term mission in support of preparedness

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is in the process of initiating 3-5 pilots over a two year period of time. In addition to starting up GBV standalone programs NRC is looking at how to mitigate GBV in its already existing core competencies. The new commitments made by Jan Egeland, the Secretary General, during the High Level Event in the UK are related to both the first standalone GBV pilot, by two NRC core competencies; Education and Information, Counselling, and Legal Advice (ICLA). Finally, NRC explored how to scale up on the availability of the GBV expertise in the Norcap and GenCap emergency deployment rosters.

As per the commitments, NRC will initiate a new project on the 1 of November to support female “Emerging Youth Leaders” to increase the participation of young women in refugee camp committees and other decision making bodies in both Iraq-KRI and in Gaza, OPT. The Youth Leaders will be trained about their rights and entitlements as young women and will be mentored by women from a local NGO in Iraq and by female mukhtars in Gaza. The Youth will be responsible for conducting community-based awareness activities and campaigns with their peers to eliminate violence against women and girls. With new leadership skills, they will participate in decision-making forums such as camp committees and student councils to make heard the voice of young women.

The NRC Education Guidelines on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) were introduced to Program Managers (PMs) during a Global Seminar for Core Competencies in 2013. NRC has now translated the SEA guidelines into Arabic, Spanish, and French. Two new manuals have been drafted and are ready for piloting; one Training for Trainers and one for developing SEA Focal Points. A limited number of manuals will be printed so that they can be field tested in diverse education settings. Several obstacles have been encountered by the Education PMs in the roll out process; including a lack of funds and full time dedicated staff for SEA training and follow-up. NRC would like to pilot the SEA guidelines in several countries before rolling them out in all NRC Humanitarian Settings. Research has also been done in Liberia on GBV in schools and the report, “Addressing SEA in Schools- Liberia Experience, Passing the Test” was published and launched as part of a Consortium. Important findings about SEA in the schools, related to both boys and girls, made an impact on both the Ministry and parents who are looking at how to address the issues raised in the report.

NRC also published a report on the overlap between HLP rights and gender-based violence in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. The report is available here: Intimate partner violence (IPV), a common occurrence among Liberian couples, is linked to male control of and access to housing, land and property. In addition, many young girls and other vulnerable women have to resort to transactional sex to obtain housing. The report was launched in June 2014 by Liberia’s Gender and Development Minister Honorable Julia Duncan Cassell. Representatives from other government ministries dealing with issues related to HLP, such as the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy and the Liberia Land Commission, were also present.

Finally, in terms of the commitment to provide rapid response in the onset of a new emergency NRC continues to strengthen the GBV capacity of its rosters through regular recruitment to both NORCAP and GenCap. In 2013, GenCap had 48 deployment months dedicated to GBV at regional level to support the humanitarian country teams. Recruitment for GBV expertise has been a special focus for the NorCap Roster and recruitment to address reproductive health in emergencies has also been initiated as a new area.

In 2015, NRC would like to expand the number of GBV pilots. The challenge that NRC faces is strongly tied to funding constraints; it has been particularly difficult to obtain funding for GBV standalone programming in chronic or post-conflict humanitarian settings. In Iraq-KRI, NRC has demonstrated how having GBV as a core competency has enabled joint programming that includes the integration of GBV mitigation into WASH and Shelter sectors and a do no harm approach. Coordination together with UNHCR and UNFPA of the GBV AOR for refugees and IDPs in Iraq-KRI, has also been a demonstrated strength for both camp and urban settings.



The Oxfam confederation works in over 90 countries and undertakes VAWG/GBV programming in over 40 countries, of which a number are conflict and emergency affected. Oxfam places a high priority on supporting women at all levels to become leaders and take valued roles in the society and economy, seeking to embed such an approach in its development, humanitarian and campaigning work. Oxfam envisions a safe and just world where women and girls are in control of their lives and live free from violence. Oxfam work aims at the universal realisation of human rights; violence against women, like poverty, is a denial of these basic rights. Oxfam considers a multi-layered approach to be transformational, in that this approach promotes change at individual and collective, legislative-political and social levels.

Oxfam has launched a “knowledge hub” on Violence Against Women and Girls/Gender-based Violence and a specific area of work on VAWG/GBV in conflict and emergency settings will be started early in 2015.

Investments have been made in safeguarding through ensuring every country and region has a focal point, supported by a dedicated global lead, and through renewing organisational policies. New governance structures have been put in place to strengthen accountability.

Oxfam’s campaigning capacity has been used to highlight how emergencies have particularly impacted women as well as the contribution women can make when given greater voice and leadership, directly raising issues of gender inequality.

A new global strategy on Women’s Rights in Humanitarian Programming has been developed for the period 2014 to 2016. This includes seeking more strategic partnerships with women’s organisations to help Oxfam better understand the impact of emergencies on women and girls in different contexts, and increase relevance and reach.

In addition, new technical strategies specifically consider gender, women’s rights and the provisions for reducing the risk of GBV, e.g. water and sanitation (WASH). Work is ongoing to ensure tools used in sectors such as WASH or emergency food security and vulnerable livelihoods (EFSVL) give specific consideration to gender.

A global roll out and training programme on Oxfam’s Gender in Emergencies (GiE) minimum standards is nearing completion and investments have been made to establish additional technical posts to support GiE work.

We have also been investing in our protection programming, expanding learning from practice into new responses. We have focus on the prevention of GBV through addressing and mitigating risk factors, and ensuring survivors get rapid safe access to care and support services, including post-rape clinical care. Investment has been made to pilot new electronic based systems for recording data to dramatically speed up data collection and analysis.

Organisational challenges have been around both financial and human resourcing; additional funding is being sought to drive investment and staff development. Another challenge is to ensure the depth and richness of gender analysis from our development programme informs our humanitarian programming.


Refugees International (RI)

Refugees International was pleased to participate in the 2013 Call to Action. In that process we committed to undertake assessment missions to four different emergencies is 2014 to assess the humanitarian prevention and response to GBV, including follow up advocacy to improve coordination, programming, and to help mitigate the risks of GBV. To that end, RI has already undertaken three assessment missions to the Philippines, South Sudan, and Lebanon, and are planning a fourth mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo later this year. For each mission, we carry out advocacy with key government, UN, and NGO stakeholders to mitigate the risks of GBV in emergencies.

In January, RI traveled to the Philippines, where our team focused on the humanitarian response following Typhoon Haiyan and the degree to which women and girls’ needs were being identified and addressed. Following the mission, RI was invited by DFID to present during their day-long workshop on lessons learned from GBV programming during the response. RI’s presentation was well received by DFID, other donors, and non-governmental organizations who are taking up RI’s recommendations. In addition, following the recommendations RI made regarding the Transformative Agenda, the IASC has expressed that it is currently revising the Humanitarian Program Cycle and its tools to ensure that women and girls’ protection concerns are more robustly considered.

In May, RI undertook a mission to South Sudan to assess the conditions of IDPs residing at UN peacekeeping bases and document their unmet needs. Following that mission, RI drafted a two page advocacy brief for the Oslo Donor Conference, highlighting the particular protection concerns faced by displaced women and girls and advocating for more funding for GBV prevention and response programming. The U.S. government pledged an additional $291 million for South Sudan, five percent of which is specified for protection programs including those focused on GBV.

In August, RI travelled on mission to the governorates of Beirut and Mount Lebanon in Lebanon where the Syrian refugee population has increased threefold in the past year and are struggling with limited livelihood opportunities. RI spoke with Syrian women about their daily struggles to meet basic needs and the domestic violence that they faced as backlash from earning even a limited income through livelihood programs. RI will release a report in mid-September highlighting RI’s targeted policy recommendations to address the GBV refugee women are experiencing.

RI will complete two missions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2014. The first, in June, found a major gap in assistance for GBV survivors affected by the Pygmy-Bantu conflict in Katanga and advocated for more aid, the deployment of mobile clinics, and enhanced civilian protection efforts by MONUSCO. As a result, funding for mobile clinics is being considered by USAID, while MONUSCO’s presence in two key territories (Monono and Mitwaba) is being enhanced. This October, RI will lead a mission to North and South Kivu to analyze the legacy of the 2009 investments in fighting sexual violence in to understand the lessons learned from this period when Congolese women’s suffering captured the world’s attention. We will interview humanitarians, donors, government officials, and Congolese women themselves to understand what should be done next to offer women a lasting peace.

To carry out these missions and advocacy activities, RI utilized our regular funding and technical capacity. In order to maintain its independence, RI does not accept funding from any government or from the United Nations. We expect that all four assessment missions will be completed by the end of 2014. Advocacy on the issues raised by each mission is currently ongoing and will carry into 2015 as needed.


Save the Children

Since the Call to Action in November 2013, Save the Children continues to implement the commitments it made on addressing violence against women and girls in emergencies in line with its organizational focus on children. This has included continuing to implement response and prevention activities within its child protection and health programmes in emergency settings in West and Central Africa, East Africa and the Middle East. These interventions are conducted by Save the Children and local partners and in partnership with other agencies.

Such work is linked to existing medium and longer-term strategies within the organization and is monitored through adherence to thematic work-plans as well as programme-based M&E tools.

In addition to its programmatic work, Save the Children continues to have strong engagement in key high level, global advocacy initiatives such as the Global Summit on Sexual Violence in Conflict/PSVI and the Girls Summit.

In implementing its programmes addressing violence against women and girls, and its commitments, Save the Children continues to experience some challenges, particularly related to limited technical resources and funding opportunities. The organization will continue to work with other agencies, including inter-agency technical working groups such as the GBV Area of Responsibility, Child Protection Working Group and Health Cluster, as well as on its own internal strategies, to strengthen technical capacity and resources.



  • A starting point for Swedish aid is gender equality, safeguarding human security and freedom from violence.
  • Swedish humanitarian aid takes into account the special needs of women and children as well as the need to protect women against violence.
  • In 2014, The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, has reached 39% integration of specific GBV/SGBV goals in the humanitarian contributions.
  • Our main instruments are gender mainstreaming and supporting targeted action to prevent GBV/SGBV. Gender equality and empowerment are seen as key factors to prevent GBV/SGBV.
  • Sweden is a strong supporter of the GenCap project and the IASC Gender Marker tool.

In order to strengthen the implementation, we see the need for:

  • Exchange of lessons learnt on prevention and examples on best practices in strategies for prevention.
  • Increased focus on prevention of gender based violence.
  • Develop key indicators on prevention.
  • More gender segregated data.



Sexual violence in emergencies has highly destructive consequences and all acts of violence against women and girls constitute an abuse and violation of human rights, which require a firm and effective response. Any intervention in emergencies is about protecting women’s and girl’s rights, including during the onset of a humanitarian crisis. Switzerland therefore endorsed the Communique “Keep Her Safe – Protecting Girls and Women in Emergencies”, launched at a UK-hosted conference in November 2013. In addition, Switzerland made several commitments for the implementation of the Call to Action (see separate document).

For Switzerland, the implementation of its commitments under the Call to Action is part of a long-term engagement towards gender equality and combatting violence against women. Viewing the issue of sexual violence in conflict as part of the broader Women, Peace and Security agenda, Switzerland actively advocates for a specific reference to sexual violence in conflict in the post-2015 agenda.

At the domestic level, the implementation of the Swiss commitments is founded in the updated Swiss National Action Plan on UNSC Resolution 1325 (2013-2016), the Swiss Strategy on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (POC Strategy), a newly developed operational protection concept for the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Domain and a soon to be released Action Plan on the protection of children associated with armed groups.

Switzerland also takes its commitment seriously at the programme level and spends approx. CHF 25 Mio/year (figure from 2011) on programs aiming at the prevention of, protection from and response to violence against women and girls in both emergency and post-conflict situations across the globe.

Recent progress in the implementation of the Call to Action includes financial and logistical support to UN Action, an increase in deployments of protection and child-protection experts to field operations, and support towards the launch of a course for humanitarian managers on sexual violence in emergencies at the Geneva-based Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH).

Meanwhile, Switzerland continues its assistance to the Justice Rapid Response (JRR) Facility (focus on tackling impunity for SGBV through deployments of SGBV experts who lead and participate in investigations, etc. on conflict-related gender-based violence), Geneva Call (dialog with non-state actors towards the adoption of a deed of commitment for the prohibition of sexual violence in armed conflict), makes (core) contributions to humanitarian agencies with protection mandates (ICRC, UNCHR, UNICEF, Norwegian Refugee Council, etc.) and funds specific projects focusing on SGBV in humanitarian contexts such as Syria, Lebanon, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), etc.

More long-term engagement with substantive contributions include the regional psychosocial programme on violence against women and girls in the DRC and a gender-based and domestic violence prevention and response programme in Nepal. Moreover, Switzerland is a major donor to multilateral organizations working to protect women and girls, such as UN Women and UNFPA (Switzerland contributes more than 30 Mio CHF for these two organisations in 2014, with an additional 4.5 Mio allocated to the UN Trust Fund to end Violence against Women [2013-2015]).

For Switzerland, the implementation of the Call to Action will be further strengthened by enhancing women‘s participation and empowerment, addressing gender inequality from a long-term perspective, engaging men and boys in preventing and addressing sexual violence in emergencies, working on changing attitudes, increasing support to local civil society, women’s organizations and networks and ensuring close links between the Call to Action with the multilateral system.


United Kingdom

At the launch event last year, the UK endorsed the Call to Action communique and made a range of commitments to protect women and girls in emergencies. We announced over £20million in new funding to establish innovative programmes and develop our internal capacity to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in humanitarian settings.

A large proportion of this funding went towards establishing the right programmes, including a programme called ‘COMPASS’ (Creating Opportunities through Mentoring, Parental Involvement and Safe Spaces) with the International Rescue Committee. Operating in Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, the programme aims to empower girls to be able to protect themselves better in humanitarian settings. Working with over 300,000 beneficiaries it seeks to build a protective environment for adolescent girls to access services and support from peer to peer mentors. It will also scrutinise approaches to preventing violence against girls in humanitarian contexts and provide an evidence base to inform future interventions.

Additional funding also went to support women and girls affected by the Syrian crisis, including through the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) who are working to protect girls and women in Syria by establishing safe spaces and providing psychosocial support to women who have experienced GBV. Funding also went to support for projects in Lebanon and Jordon to assist vulnerable families who may otherwise need to rely on negative survival strategies such as forced and early marriage of young girls, in addition to building new housing units to ensure security and privacy for displaced women and girls.

In response to each new emergency since the Call to Action we have assessed the needs of girls and women and ensured we have provided appropriate protection. In the Philippines we deployed technical specialists on violence against girls and women to support the UN effort, as well as providing items such as solar lanterns with built-in mobile phone chargers to enable girls and women to move around more safely after dark. In Iraq we are working with partners to address the protection needs of all vulnerable groups, including the specific needs of displaced women and girls. We are supporting protection monitoring and the formation of community outreach services to provide psychosocial support for survivors of sexual and gender based violence, and refer them to the appropriate services. And in CAR the UK is supporting several agencies to provide comprehensive care as well as protection packages for women and girls.

In support of this work, the UK is also investing heavily in research and innovation on violence against women and girls. At the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence, we launched our £25m pioneering research programme titled ‘What Works to Prevent Violence’. A component of this research programme will focus specifically on what works in conflict and emergency settings, producing state-of-the-art studies and evidence in support of new programmes on the ground.

Over the past year, the UK has also made considerable progress in embedding the Call to Action in our humanitarian programming by ensuring the right tools and mechanisms are in place. It is now a requirement that all UK funded humanitarian support considers the risks of violence against women and girls, and demonstrates how those risks have been addressed. We have created new technical guidance for our humanitarian advisers, and adapted humanitarian funding guidelines and other response documents to ensure that VAWG is adequately covered in emergency interventions.

We have provided training and specialised support to our country offices so that we can be prepared for when a crisis hits, in addition to contributing to the ICRC’s special appeal on sexual and gender based violence to ensure that their response responds to SGBV as effectively as possible. The UK is also working wwith partners to explore how best to support training initiatives and deployable expertise in emergencies, including how we ensure we can access the right people with the right skills.


UN Women

Overall, UN Women is making progress on all of its commitments, and has been more effective at a) internal communications and SOPs for emergencies (both specific to each crisis and with regards to coordination on gender-based violence in emergencies in general), b) preparing and submitting programme proposals on emergency response for donors and humanitarian funding, for emergencies all over the world, and c) launching its first ever humanitarian strategy and an important partnership with OCHA to roll it out. As you can see below, most of these commitments are global in nature, and do not include the specific programmatic response that we have put in place in several crises throughout the world.

We are, however, extremely concerned that the frequency and magnitude of crises dwarves our capacity to response: the proliferation of new conflicts, natural disasters, and global heath crises is affecting women and girls disproportionately, and many of these conflicts are driven by a rise in extremism that explicitly targets women’s rights.

Some of UN Women’s priorities over the next two years are to strengthen the capacity of our offices in key high-risk countries and our corporate systems to deliver surge capacity, and to ensure that we generate or disseminate relevant knowledge, data, and advocacy-oriented messages regarding other forms of violence against women and girls in emergencies, besides sexual violence (which is finally getting greater visibility and attention).

Another concern that we have is that the gender-in-emergencies and the GBViE communities of practice work sometimes in parallel tracks, whereas greater consolidation would help amplify our collective voice. Given the challenges that we have to catch the attention of humanitarian actors on the ground and government counterparts in the midst of emergencies, it continues to be a challenge that we have broken up in relatively smaller silos to work separately on gender in emergencies, GBV in emergencies, and sexual violence in conflict. Any initiative to review these coordination mechanisms would be welcome.


United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF is mandated to uphold children’s and women’s rights. Ensuring protection from GBV in emergencies is a fundamental component of realizing this mandate.

Overall, UNICEF’s work on GBV in emergencies is guided by three priorities:

  1. Delivering life-saving, holistic, multi-sectoral care and services for survivors of GBV.
  2. Improving children’s and women’s protection from GBV by guaranteeing safe access to goods and resources and by supporting duty bearers in upholding their protection responsibilities under international law.
  3. Implementing and evaluating short and longer-term prevention initiatives to reduce short-terms risks and to lay a foundation for tackling the underlying causes of GBV.

UNICEF’s approach is shaped by the obligations outlined in the Core Commitments to Children (CCCs);[3] the need for comprehensive and coordinated programming across agencies and sectors to holistically address the needs of children and women; and the comparative advantage presented by leveraging UNICEF’s leadership and programming across humanitarian response, including in the Child Protection, Education, Health, HIV/AIDS, Nutrition, and WASH sectors.

Building on its particular expertise and operational capacity, UNICEF made 13 commitments to the Call to Action. In order to more effectively report on progress, the 13 commitments have been consolidated into the following 10 work streams:

  • Pre-positioning, scaling up and improving guidance and procedures related to Dignity Kits and commodities for care and support for child survivors of sexual assault;
  • Human resource expansion and capacity development;
  • Roll out of an internal strategy to promote prioritization of addressing GBV as lifesaving in emergencies;
  • Implementing the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) framework;
  • Developing a programming framework for mitigating adolescent girls’ risk to GBV through economic strengthening;
  • Leading the GBV Guidelines and Coordination Handbook revision processes;
  • Developing GBV in emergencies-specific cross-sectoral guidance and tools for programme design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation;
  • Scaling up the GBV information management system (GBVIMS);
  • Piloting a social norms and community-based care programme in Somalia and South Sudan; and
  • Finalizing and piloting a research toolkit to promote safe and ethical research to promote good programming to address the needs of survivors and children born of sexual violence in conflict.

In line with the UNICEF Call to Action Commitments, UNICEF has made prevention of and response to GBV in emergencies one of four cross-sectoral targeted priorities in the organization’s new Gender Action Plan (GAP) 2014-2017 that was presented at the June 2014 Annual Meeting of the Executive Board. The new GAP is integrally linked to UNICEF’s Strategic Plan and provides a clear programmatic focus on the gender equitable results that UNICEF aims to achieve across all seven result areas of its Strategic Plan. Progress on the UNICEF Call to Action Commitments is progress on the operationalization of the GAP.

UNICEF has made progress toward achieving all of the 13 commitments, particularly in terms of the GBV Guidelines and Coordination Handbook revision process, social norms and community-based care, dignity kits, development of cross-sectoral operational guidance and monitoring of results; and scale up of the GBVIMS. Additional progress will be made during the rest of 2014-2015.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The Call to Action is an important framework for UNHCR to advance its commitments to protect women, girls, men and boys from sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). The organization addresses these issues from numerous angles in collaboration with national and international partners, governments and persons of concern. UNHCR’s commitments can be grouped into four of the Call to Action Puzzle Pieces: 1) The Right People, 2) The Right Programme, 3) The Right Tools and Mechanisms, and 4) Research and Innovation.

Important initiatives are underway as part of the “Safe from the Start” project, with specific activities, initiatives and programmes being implemented to fulfil UNHCR’s commitments in each of these four areas. Concrete and positive progress has already been achieved.

A significant component of Safe from the Start is the deployment of six roving Senior Protection Officers (SGBV) to emergencies in order to ensure the Right People are on the ground. The Senior Protection Officers (SGBV) support the establishment of robust SGBV protection-based programming from the onset of an emergency that is sustained by the country teams after the deployment ends. In addition, UNHCR initiated the recruitment of SGBV/Child Protection positions in Headquarters (HQ) and in the field under the Capacity Building Initiative and deployed another four SGBV Protection officers under its Surge deployment scheme.

To improve staff and partner capacity development, UNHCR is in the final stage of the development of a mandatory SGBV e-learning programme and a facilitator’s guide on SGBV prevention and response.

One of the means for UNHCR to have the Right Programmes in place is developing and monitoring SGBV strategies at country level that are in line with UNHCR’s global strategy, Action against SGBV: An Updated Strategy (2011-2016). UNHCR Senior Regional Protection Officers based in the regional offices of Amman, Dakar, Nairobi and Panama City, in collaboration with HQ staff as well as field staff, have supported the development of multi-year country-level strategies in 22 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

Through the provision of medical, legal, material and psychosocial assistance as well as safe spaces for SGBV survivors, UNHCR operations have reported significant progress towards their operational targets in the 2014 mid-year reporting exercise. Globally, 71 operations have provided psychosocial counselling to 9,718 SGBV survivors, 56 operations provided legal assistance to 3,790 survivors, 42 operations provided medical assistance to 2,580 survivors, and 28 operations supported 1,232 survivors with safe spaces.

52 operations from all over the world have reported that there are 986 community-based groups working on SGBV prevention and response, 799 of which are in Africa. This number shows an improvement from 2013, when 488 community-based groups were working on SGBV prevention and response globally. Multiple initiatives are being taken to strengthen the engagement of men and boys in the prevention of SGBV, as well as the involvement of community members to create safe learning environments for children.

Under the Right Tools and Mechanisms, UNHCR has successfully rolled out the Gender Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) in 9 UNHCR operations in 2014 and continues to provide remote technical support to a total of 22 UNHCR operations through a team of 2 dedicated UNHCR GBVIMS coordinators. In addition, UNHCR is working with Columbia University on developing sound assessment tools to strengthen evidence-based child protection and SGBV interventions in humanitarian settings.

Lastly, under Research and Innovation, UNHCR is exploring innovative energy and livelihoods programmes with funding received through Safe from the Start in order to empower and protect populations at risk of SGBV. The first two pilot projects are being undertaken this year in Egypt and Uganda, to be followed by the selection of the best innovative ideas developed by UNHCR staff, partners or persons of concern to be implemented in 2015 with the view to developing institutional good practices on SGBV prevention and response programming.

UNHCR will establish a high level Advisory Board to act as a consultative group on SGBV prevention and response in emergencies and protracted situations.



United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

OCHA as a member of the Call to Action made commitments to; (a)ensure Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is incorporated into cluster response plans, (b)provide advocacy support to country offices, (c)adapt guidance and checklists for needs assessment and planning of humanitarian assistance to integrate Gender Based Violence(GBV), (d)to develop a tool for tracking which projects supported by pooled funds contain a GBV prevention or response component and (e)to ensure the Emergency Relief Coordinator(ERC)-Humanitarian Coordinators(HC) compacts for 2014 include explicit reference to VAWG. The various commitments are at different levels of implementation and various actions are still on going.

Since the beginning of 2014, OCHA has embarked on integrating gender equality perspectives in the overall policy framework of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC), the HPC Reference Module, and into the accompanying technical guidance and tools. In particular, the guidance underscores the importance of gender and vulnerability analysis and stresses the importance of the prevailing differences with respect to sex, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, and other social markers of exclusion of affected people. In 2014/5 Strategic Response Planning (SRP) cycle, OCHA with technical support from the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) GenCap project will support countries to enhance inclusion of gender equality perspectives, including actions to prevent and respond to GBV.

OCHA consistently engages in global, regional, national and context specific advocacy on Gender Based Violence and Sexual Violence through various high level platforms e.g. the South Sudan Oslo Donor Conference and the London Summit on Sexual Violence; the Security Council briefings, country level advocacy initiatives and including GBV elements in information products. In particular, there has been a keen focus on the various L3 emergencies such as Syria, South Sudan, and Central Africa Republic (CAR) to bring focus to the grave GBV occurrences and concerns. OCHA continues to host IASC GenCap Advisers at country level, who provide technical support to Humanitarian Country Teams to integrate gender and actions to respond to GBV in humanitarian planning and response. Such support is hosted by OCHA in CAR, Yemen, and Philippines. Deployments to Myanmar and DRC (co-hosted with UNICEF) were finalized in the course of the year. At global level, OCHA hosts the IASC GenCap project. The project also deploys GBV advisors at regional level.

In 2014, out of a total of 24 ERC-HC Compacts, two-thirds (14) include specific reference to GBV, a variety of gender deliverables such as enhancing collection of Sex and Age Disaggregated Data and information (SADD), Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), implementation of the IASC Gender Marker and broader protection deliverables.

The IASC Gender Marker tool has been in use and is mandatory since 2009 in the Consolidated Appeals Processes (CAP’s - now SRP’s) and the pooled fund mechanisms. Between April to July 2014, an assessment of the IASC Gender Marker was undertaken by the GenCap project to assess the impact the Gender Marker has had in enabling gender responsive humanitarian programming since 2009. OCHA plays a key role in supporting the process as a member of the IASC Gender Reference Group and as the housing agency for the humanitarian financing mechanisms. The report from this assessment is under review and discussions to formulate the feasible way forward in terms of ensuring the tool is utilized throughout the HPC and tracks both resources and results are ongoing.

As the organization is mandated with coordination of humanitarian actors to bring about a coherence response; OCHA continues to engage broadly through various channels and platforms with existing and emerging humanitarian stakeholders, to fulfill the Call to Action commitments. The World Humanitarian Summit also presents a strategic platform for broader engagements.

The inadequacies of collection and utilization of sex and age disaggregated data and information remains as an overarching challenge for OCHA and the humanitarian system. This gap continues to compromise holistic gender analysis and identification of differential concerns, risks and threats facing women, girls, boys and men. Humanitarian actors need to put in concerted efforts to ensure systemization and consistency in data collection and utilization.

To further enhance collective implementation of OCHA’s gender equality commitments, the organization will be undergoing a participatory gender audit in 2014/5. This exercise will further define the overall capacities and resources that will be key to ensuring the Call to Action Commitments are met among other gender related commitments.


United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Since November 2013 when UNFPA’s Executive Director shared our commitments for “stepping up to eliminate GBV in humanitarian contexts”, UNFPA has made several key advancements in this area. Through funding from Denmark, we are advancing with developing a more robust “GBV Hub” in our Programme Division/Humanitarian and Fragile Contexts Branch, including hiring a new P4-level GBV Capacity Development Specialist and P3-level GBV Information Management Specialists. These funds have also supported our hiring 3 consultants: one in Geneva to back-stop our GBViE work there; one reporting to New York-based staff to support development of UNFPA’s Minimum Integrated Package of GBViE Support; and one hired by UNFPA but reporting to the GBV AoR’s Learning Task Team (which UNFPA chairs with the International Medical Corps (IMC)) to develop the GBV AoRs 5-year Capacity Development Strategy. UNFPA also leveraged additional funds from Australia to support a full-time GBV AoR Coordinator (UNFPA) and Deputy Coordinator (UNICEF). Additional staff may also be hired should UNFPA be successful in its bid for funds from the US and UK to support GBViE-focused surge and scaling up of UNFPA’s GBViE field-based human resources.

UNFPA continues to coordinate the GBVIMS, including hosting the full-time GBVIMS Inter-Agency Coordinator. Recently, UNFPA oversaw completion of a massive external evaluation of the GBVIMS, which is undergoing an inter-agency management review. UNFPA also successfully raised additional funds from the Government of Canada for a joint UNFPA-UNHCR-UNICEF-IRC project on improving quality of services and expanding use of the GBVIMS in 6 crisis-affected countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, CAR, Mali and Niger.

As part of its 2014 Corporate Project on Humanitarian Mainstreaming and GBV Integration, UNFPA organized a large Humanitarian Consultation in August 2014 that included representation from all parts of the Fund to help identify concrete steps for improving the timeliness, effectiveness and efficiency of our humanitarian response. Outputs from this Consultation and an on-going Inter-Divisional Working Group (that has been meeting for several months) will be presented to the Executive Committee for their endorsement. It is likely that this will result in substantial and tangible change to enable UNFPA to better respond to L3 and other crises, including in the area of addressing GBV.

UNFPA continues to promote use of the Managing GBV in Emergencies E-learning Course and is leading two training courses using regionally-adapted curricula in the Asia-Pacific and Arab States regions. Courses will be held in Bangkok in October 2014 (a follow-on pilot from one held last summer in India) and Cairo in November 2014. UNFPA is also re-invigorating dialogue with the University of Ghent to explore opportunities for resuming the GBV Coordination Course in Kenya (in partnership with the Technical University of Mombasa).

Finally, UNFPA continues to expand and improve its SRH-focused work, including through ensuring partner access to critical and lifesaving RH kits.


United States of America

In 2014, the U.S. Government assumed leadership of the Call to Action to End Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Emergencies. In addition, the United States also focused on the first phase of implementation of the joint State Department and USAID Safe from the Start initiative. This effort, launched by Secretary Kerry in September of 2013, serves as the framework for U.S. commitments to the Call to Action.

Through on going engagement with non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and key networks, and targeted funding and outreach, U.S. efforts have helped lay the ground work for the kind of system-wide change required to realize the overarching goal of Safe from the Start and the Call to Action more broadly. The United States is supporting the Women’s Refugee Commission to assist in a strategic “roadmapping” project to advance the Call to Action in 2014 and 2015.

In addition, in 2014 the United States made available an additional $12 million for Safe from the Start, building on the $10 million commitment Secretary Kerry launched the initiative with in 2013, for a total of $22 million committed to date for Safe from the Start.

These resources will support: strategic investments in the institutional capacity of key partners to implement timely prevention and response measures; new efforts to promote accountability to beneficiaries on GBV prevention and response; support for new learning, innovations, and tools to guide programming and other efforts of frontline workers and decision makers; and, resources for urgent responses to address GBV in current crises.

These Safe from the Start funds and programs complement other comprehensive efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in new and protracted humanitarian crises, in line with the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender Based Violence Globally and the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

The United States has also worked to strengthen integration of gender-based violence prevention and response in to internal policies, guidelines and staff training. PRM also now requires all NGO partners to complete a gender analysis describing how they will address gender inequalities and risks to women and girls throughout their program design, before receiving PRM funding. This is similar to USAID/OFDA’s protection requirements. USAID continued efforts to monitor and support implementation of existing guidelines, and support capacity to integrate protection and gender into responses through on-going staff training and deployments of specialists to key disaster and crisis settings.

More information on U.S. leadership of the Call to Action and funding for Safe from the Start can be found at:



Water Aid

On June 9, 2014, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, WaterAid, along with the Sanitation and Hygiene Applied Research for Equity (SHARE) Consortium and 27 NGO, UN and governmental partners, launched Violence, Gender and WASH: A Practitioner’s Toolkit. It is a practical resource developed for organizations and governments that are providing access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), to help them better identify and acknowledge the links between poor access to WASH, poor quality service delivery, persistent gender inequalities, and gender-based violence (GBV); and to better mitigate risks and contribute to their reduction. Developed through a highly consultative and peer-reviewed process over more than a year, the Toolkit examines available evidence around how lack of access to WASH increases vulnerability to GBV in development, transitional and humanitarian contexts; provides examples of promising good practices; and offers comprehensive materials and job aids based on four practical modules. Accompanying materials include videos, sample codes of conduct, international legal norms, and advocacy support materials.

In rolling out the Toolkit, initial capacity development workshops have taken place or are planned at WASH-focused gatherings, and collaborations with GBV partners such as with the Inter-Agency Steering Committee are envisioned. WaterAid is also in process of identifying opportunities to cascade this training to our field staff in our 26 country programs. As partners take up the Toolkit and as WaterAid and the Toolkit co-publishers continue our efforts to train our staff and partners in its contents, we hope to identify opportunities to strengthen our own capacity and human resources to provide technical support in these areas. Internally, WaterAid is preparing a new global strategy 2015-2020, which is envisioned to include enhanced focus on equity, including gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Finally, WaterAid has advocated that WASH is effectively prioritized in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals framework. In addition to a stand-alone goal on water and sanitation, we have sought to highlight the importance of ensuring that access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is reflected in goals on health and gender equality. Helping to develop a deeper understanding of the role of WASH in contributing to reduced violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a core element of this approach.


Women’s Refugee Commission

While the WRC’s commitment on adolescent girls in urban areas was not funded during the reporting period, WRC has made significant strides in researching and pilot testing tools and practices to enhance the protection of adolescent girls from gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian settings. Through operational partners, WRC has piloted girl-specific programming inclusive of safe space models, mentorship, financial literacy, and vocational training in protracted humanitarian settings in Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Standardized baseline, mid-line and end line data collection across the three sites has demonstrated substantive improvements in adolescent girl’s agency, empowerment, and sense of personal safety. Our report of findings, Strong Girls, Powerful Women: Program Planning and Design for Adolescent Girls in Humanitarian Settings, can be found at:

For the past year, WRC has also been researching and testing tools on how to better protect adolescent girls in the earliest days and weeks of emergencies. WRC has partnered with the Population Council and Action against Hunger to test the girl roster and the girls in emergency matrix in South Sudan and has provided training on working with adolescent girls for practitioners working on the Syrian refugee response in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan with the Population Council and Mercy Corps in Amman in March. The WRC will launch a report entitled, I’m Here, on learning, findings and recommendations covering this body on work in September and will pilot and refine the tools and guidance during fiscal year 2015.

WRC has recently been notified of approved funding for research on GBV prevention and response in urban and non-camp contexts which will begin in September and cover adolescent girls (current commitment), persons with disabilities, LGBTI, men and boys as well as women.

The WRC received substantial commitment and support from UNFPA to undertake its work on community-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) with civil society organizations focusing on gender and reproductive health including GBV. The WRC developed a highly participatory training curriculum that includes producing community action plans to build on existing reproductive health including GBV prevention and response capacities and to address gaps. The training curriculum also allows UNFPA Philippines to both support and monitor community action plans while the training module is now available for national rollout in the Philippines. In addition, the WRC received a new funding opportunity from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to further seed the training and action planning on gender and the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) of reproductive health within a large women-led civil society federation to improve the health and resilience of women in typhoon-affected areas of the Philippines.

As chair of the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises MISP sub-working group (SWG), the WRC worked with representatives of approximately ten agencies to develop a strategic matrix to improve the quality of MISP services which address prevention and response to sexual violence. Based on the evidence from the recent IAWG global evaluation, the matrix sets out the specific gaps to quality of care and identifies proposed solutions, agencies interested in leading the work and the secured or required funding to implement the solutions. The US government has committed to addressing one of seven solutions through funding the IAWG training partnership initiative to address the gap in effective national and regional level MISP response in emergencies. The MacArthur Foundation has committed to further sustaining the IAWG training partnership over two years.


World Food Program

For WFP, gender-based violence (GBV) is a key protection risk that WFP has been addressing for over a decade and formally committed to through its Protection Policy (2012) as well as reflected in its new Strategic Plan 2014-2017. These formative and strategic documents highlight the importance of aligning programmes with international humanitarian law and respect for the humanitarian principles, as well as providing assistance in a manner that does not expose people to further harm, but rather contributes to their safety, dignity, and integrity. A review of the Protection Policy implementation in June 2014 found that WFP has made significant progress on implementing the Policy with more than one-third of country offices having taken steps to implement the Policy, including on training, conducting protection reviews resulting in adjustments to programmes for safer and more dignified assistance, and supporting protection outcomes including for survivors of sexual violence. WFP’s pledge at the launch of the Call to Action in November 2013 forms part of the Programme’s work in this regard and its continuous efforts to enhance capacity to integrate GBV and other protection considerations in its programmes.

Progress has been made on the commitment to develop guidelines and systems to respond to GBV. WFP’s protection manual is being updated together with specific guidance on GBV. A significant achievement has been the development of draft data protection guidance, Personal Data Protection and Privacy (PDPP), due to be launched shortly. This guidance is necessary in establishing standards for managing personal data and sensitive information, including on GBV, in a principled way, with the safety of beneficiaries as the prime goal.

While also an objective in its own right, improving accountability to affected populations is a cornerstone of WFP’s commitments to protection. Complaints and feedback mechanisms (CFM) are one tool WFP is utilising to enhance accountability that also support efforts to include women’s voices and respond to their concerns. New guidelines and standards around GBV, protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) and data protection are all contributing to improved processes for managing GBV concerns that may arise using any one of WFPs’ CFMs. Monitoring of these CFMs is a systematic process that ensures GBV cases raised using these mechanisms are dealt with in a safe and ethical manner. Inroads have also been made in developing and piloting referral mechanisms with initial discussions on WFP’s role in this matter at a global level and implementation of these mechanisms forthcoming.

Significant developments have been made to further cement its commitment to protect its beneficiaries against sexual exploitation and abuse. A new Code of Conduct which specifically mentions staff responsibilities to PSEA, an updated ED Circular and a new mandatory e-learning all dedicated to work on PSEA have been developed with the launch of all three items imminent. Accompanying these are the trainings that WFP staff and partners receive on GBV and PSEA as part of continuous efforts to mainstream protection at regional bureau, country office, and field levels.

Planning for 2015, WFP has two main priorities for enhancing protection from GBV in emergencies - 1) to ensure that our updated standards and commitments are comprehensively rolled out and 2) to improve capacity for monitoring protection concerns, including GBV in WFPs operations, by developing protection indicators for Country Offices.

[2] Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Democratic Republic of the Congo

[3] Namely, CP Commitment 1 (Coordination): Effective leadership is established for both the child protection and GBV areas of responsibility, with links to other cluster/sector coordination mechanisms on critical inter-sectoral issues; and CP Commitment 5 (Programming): Violence, exploitation and abuse of children and women, including GBV, are prevented and addressed.