U.S. Funding for Safe From the Start Announced at the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 22, 2014

Today, Secretary Kerry announced that the United States is making available an additional $12 million for Safe from the Start to strengthen prevention and response to gender-based violence from the onset of humanitarian emergencies. Secretary Kerry announced the new funding at a high-level event for the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by the United Kingdom in 2013 and now led by the United States. Safe from the Start is a joint effort of the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and represents the U.S. commitment to the Call to Action.

Today’s announcement brings the total committed funding for Safe from the Start to more than $22 million since Secretary Kerry launched this initiative in September 2013. These programs are responding to immediate needs in current crises and laying the groundwork for system-wide change to prevent and respond to gender based violence in future emergencies. Additional partnerships and programs will be announced in the coming months.

Funding and programs for Safe from the Start include the following support to date from the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM):

  • UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)- More than $7 million to support the first and second year of the agency’s multiyear Safe from the Start project. This will support hiring new staff, training throughout the agency, and launching an innovation challenge across field offices to develop new gender based violence projects.
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)- $5 million to support the ICRC’s activities to strengthen its response to sexual violence in situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence.
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)- More than $4 million to support non-governmental programs to bolster gender based violence prevention and response for refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Syria, and to develop and share new research and best practices from those projects.
    • This includes an award to the Women’s Refugee Commission to develop a “strategic roadmap” for the Call to Action, in consultation with relevant stakeholders. This project will build a common framework and strategy for strengthening, prioritizing, and tracking commitments made through the Call to Action process.

USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), part of the agency’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, has supported the following global programs for Safe from the Start:

  • UNICEF- More than $2 million to strengthen UNICEF’s innovative efforts to ensure that prevention and response to gender-based violence are central to the agency’s relief efforts, especially for children.
  • Non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies- Nearly $4 million to equip aid workers across different sectors with the skills needed to prevent and mitigate the effects of gender-based violence, deploy gender and protection specialists to crisis settings, and support cutting edge research on social norms and new models of care for survivors.
  • The Real Time Accountability Partnership- USAID, along with the International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, UNFPA, OCHA, and UNHCR will team up and test a model response in two current crises, using the results to establish clear benchmarks on accountability for timely gender-based violence prevention and response by the humanitarian community.


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.

  • In FY 2014 alone, State/PRM dedicated nearly $15 million to other gender-based violence programs. These targeted programs build on PRM’s core funding to international organizations and their work to address gender-based violence and women’s empowerment.
  • USAID/OFDA provided more than $20 million in FY 2014 to support gender-based violence prevention and response efforts in the following countries: the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, The Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

For more information on the Safe from the Start initiative and U.S. leadership of the Call to Action, please visit: //2009-2017.state.gov/j/prm/policyissues/issues/c62377.htm#GOAL