Call to Action Partner Executive Summaries, October 2015

A Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies
Partner Progress Reports: Executive Summaries
October 2015

American Refugee Committee (ARC)
Christian Aid
European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO)
Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR)
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Rescue Committee (IRC)
International Medical Corps (IMC)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
United Kingdom
UN Women
United States
Women's Refugee Commission (WRC)
World Food Programme



The American Refugee Committee (ARC) committed to the following in 2014:

  • 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.
  • Implement evidence-informed, participatory prevention interventions that bolster supportive local protection mechanisms and engage whole communities to reduce the acceptability of VAWG.

ARC is establishing partnerships with local national and state-level women’s groups in South Sudan for future programming in 2016, particularly in Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile states. In Somalia, and Pakistan, ARC is also seeking funding to revive or build mutually-beneficial partnerships with local women’s groups. In Uganda, ARC has been engaging youth clubs using the SASA! methodology to bring about change in the social norms that perpetuate violence. Additionally, ARC has been able to scale up multi-sector, client-centered assistance for survivors of GBV, expanding into additional geographic locations in Somalia. ARC also consistently engages with local health system actors to provide training and ensure comprehensive psychosocial and health care for survivors of violence.

ARC’s evidence-based, primary prevention interventions have expanded and include the development of an innovative livelihood pilot in South Sudan based on the needs expressed by women, including VAWG survivors. Initial findings are positive, and the project will be scaled up as funding sources permit. ARC is also piloting women’s and youth greenhouse groups in Uganda to serve as a platform for preventing VAWG and promoting equal rights.

In Uganda, ARC has been increasing training of other actors, particularly UNHCR and other protection implementing partners, in the SASA! methodology. The SASA! cycle continues into the next phase in Uganda. Lead staff members have strengthened ARC program teams, and they have shaped future program design in favor of women and girls. Mobilization of additional resources targeted at improving the lives of women and girls will be necessary to retain these staff and bring pilots to scale, as well as ensure continuity of existing programs that provide essential health, psychosocial, and legal support for survivors of violence.


Executive Summary

The Australian Government has a steadfast commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Australian aid policy, Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability, includes a strong focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Australian aid program mainstreams gender throughout its initiatives and where there are persistent challenges and slow progress towards equality, Australia invests strongly, particularly in enhancing women’s voices in decision-making, leadership, and peacebuilding; women’s economic empowerment; and ending violence against women and girls. 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.

Australia also pursues gender equality and women’s empowerment through our diplomatic and foreign policy engagement. Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, works to ensure that the empowerment of women and girls is a central focus of Australia's diplomatic, development and defence work. By advocating internationally for women's equal participation in political, economic and social affairs, the Ambassador advances global progress on these issues.

Australia’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012-2018 (NAP) articulates Australia’s domestic and international plans to integrate gender perspectives into peace and security efforts, placing significant emphasis on the protection of women and girls in crises. In June 2014, the first Progress Report on the NAP was tabled in Parliament. This report provides the first comprehensive picture of the actions undertaken across Government to implement the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The first interim review of the NAP will be completed in late 2015. This independent review will consider the relevance of the actions identified in the NAP.

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’s Protection in Humanitarian Action 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 August 2014, Australia has built on the achievements outlined in its 2014 Call to Action Report, including by securing an ongoing, high level of funding to prevent and respond to SGBV in emergencies and ensure sexual and reproductive health services are available and by contributing to high-level international advocacy to end SGBV in emergencies.

Examples of Australia’s funding since August 2014 include:

• AUD 4 million contribution (over two years) to UN Women’s Global Facility on Women, Peace and Security. Australia was the first donor to earmark funding for the Facility’s Global Acceleration Instrument (GAI) on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action. The GAI identifies five impact areas, one of which is protection;

• AUD 2.151 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross’ 2014 Special Appeal: Strengthening the Response to Sexual Violence;

• AUD 1 million to support the implementation of UNHCR’s Action against Sexual and Gender-based Violence Strategy;

• AUD 1 million earmarked contribution to UN Women for Women, Peace and Security Activities;

• AUD 1.65 million to support global gender-based violence activities, including through the Women’s Refugee Commission, the Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility and GenCap/ProCap; and

• AUD 2.5million to support sexual and reproductive health in emergencies, through the United Nations Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Program in Crisis and Post-crisis Settings.

Australia continues its international advocacy on ending sexual and gender based violence in conflicts and emergencies. We made several statements to the UNSC in the reporting period including: ‘Sexual Violence in Conflict’ (April 2015); ‘Protection Challenges and Needs Faced by Women and Girls in Conflict and Post-conflict Settings’ (January 2015); and ‘Displaced Women and Girls – Leaders and Survivors’ (October 2014). Australia also supported UNSCR 2185 on the Role of Police in Peacekeeping and Post-conflict Peacebuilding with reference to the need for protection from sexual and gender-based violence (November 2014).

In the coming 12 months, Australia will continue to provide funding focused on addressing SGBV in emergencies and providing sexual and reproductive health services. Australia will also continue to advocate internationally that these issues be prioritised in disaster and conflict settings, including through the World Humanitarian Summit process and the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

2015 has also seen a number of high-level reviews, including the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325. Australia has been actively engaged in the Global Study and looks forward to the findings. We will consider how best to implement the recommendations following the UNSC High-level Review in October 2015.


During the reporting period (August 2014 through July 2015) the protection and advancement of women’s human rights remained a central policy priority for Canada, based on the view that gender equality is not only a human rights issue, but is also an essential component of sustainable development, social justice, peace, and security. As such, gender equality has been treated as a cross-cutting theme within Canada’s international assistance envelope.

Key issues for Canada related to gender equality included addressing sexual and gender-based violence, ending child, early and forced marriage, improving maternal, newborn and child health, promoting the women, peace and security agenda as well as women’s economic empowerment.

To date in 2015, Canada expanded its support to experienced humanitarian organizations able to respond to violence against women and girls in emergencies with funding earmarked to SGBV programming. This programming has focused in particular on Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and totals $16 million CAD to date. Activities supported include: improving access to protection, health services, and counselling to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence; support to local women’s community centres to create a safe space for women and girls; and improved integration of protection, especially as related to gender-based violence, into camp coordination and camp management tools. Additionally, on July 29, 2015 Canada announced an additional $8 million to address sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, which included $3 million to support the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

The protection of women and children continued to be a key theme of Canada’s engagement with its multilateral and non-governmental humanitarian partners in 2014-15. This was reflected in Canada’s statements at Executive Board meetings (see, for example, Canada’s statement at UNHCR’s Executive Committee in September 2014) and in our frequent dialogues with humanitarian partners. DFATD also continued to advocate for the inclusion of language on the protection of women, as well as for women’s full participation in all stages of humanitarian response, during negotiations on UN General Assembly resolutions and the annual ECOSOC Humanitarian resolution. In April 2015, the Canadian statement to the UN Security Council Open Debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict emphasized the importance of addressing violence against women and girls and ending sexual violence in conflict. In July 2015, Canada hosted the visit of the SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura, including a meeting with Canadian civil society organizations. Canada’s Foreign Minister and the SRSG also published an op-ed in Canadian newspapers.

During the reporting period, Canada has been a leader on advancing efforts to end child, early and forced marriage (CEFM) and bringing global attention to this issue through multilateral initiatives and development programming. Canada has taken a holistic approach to this complex and multifaceted issue, addressing it from both a human rights and development perspective.

Multilaterally, between August 2014 and July 2015, Canada co-led with Zambia the first substantive resolution at the United Nations General Assembly on CEFM that was adopted by consensus with 116 co-sponsors from all regions of the world. Canada was also among the core group of countries that developed a resolution at the Human Rights Council on CEFM in June 2015 that was also unanimously adopted.

Furthermore, Canada has been among the strongest advocates for a target on ending child marriage in the post-2015 development agenda and related targets and indicators throughout the agenda. To build support for this objective, Canada organized and participated in high-level events over the course of the year in Ottawa, New York and countries where the practice is prevalent. These negotiations have now concluded and a target on ending child marriage will be included in the final framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.

With respect to programming, since 2013, Canada has announced nearly $69 million in targeted CEFM programming, including support to Canadian and international civil society partners, UNICEF and UNFPA. The following are examples of this support:

  • Canada is contributing $890,000 to the Women’s Refugee Commission to prevent CEFM and ensure that support mechanisms are in place for those already affected by CEFM in conflict and displacement settings: Somali refugees in Ethiopia, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and Burmese Internally Displaced Persons. The project is raising awareness of harmful effects of CEFM among girls and their families, increasing services and support, and strengthening institutional capacity of humanitarian aid organizations to address CEFM in situations of conflict and displacement.
  • In November 2014, Canada announced $10 million in funding for projects with CARE Canada (Mali and Benin), Plan Canada (Bangladesh and Zimbabwe) and Save the Children Canada (Pakistan and Nigeria). We are also pleased to be providing institutional support to Girls Not Brides, a global partnership to end child marriage.
  • In July 2015, Canada announced a $20 million contribution to a large-scale CEFM project with UNFPA. The project aims to help adolescent girls gain better access to health information and services, education and life skills training, while also generating valuable data that will be used for advocacy, training and project tracking. The UNFPA will implement the new project over two years in Guatemala, Haiti, India, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

As noted in the past, several of the above-mentioned efforts are also reflected in Canada’s implementation of its National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The National Action Plan has guided Canada’s implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, and helped 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. More detailed information including annual progress reports are available on the web.

In addition, since 2001 to present, Canada has chaired the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security at the UN in New York. This group has provided a forum for information exchange and strategizing with other like-minded countries and non-governmental organisations in order to hold the UN system and member states to account for their responsibilities in these areas.

Before identifying Call to Action priorities for 2015-2016, Canada looks forward to see the finalized Call to Action road map and will undertake further internal review in order to identify measures that would be most appropriate and effective.


The CARE 2020 Program Strategy outlines CARE’s commitment to preventing and addressing GBV both within CARE’s approaches and in strategic outcome areas.

Our Gender-Based Violence Goal

• In 2020, people of all genders exercise their right to a life of dignity, security, freedom and harmony where diversity is celebrated

The expected outcome for GBV explicitly stated in the CARE International 2020 Program Strategy is:

• 100 million women and girls exercise their right to a life free from violence

The ambitious outcome area will be possible to achieve by 2020 with a strategic set of activities appropriate for context, in partnership with local activists and partners working to reduce and respond to GBV. While the impact group is women and girls, CARE works consistently to provide services, response mechanisms and prevention activities that explicitly target men, women, boys and girls. We understand that women and girls represent the majority of survivors of GBV – however, CARE keeps in mind groups of people whose social status causes them to have inequalities which intersect with gender – therefore increasing the risk of GBV occurring. This can be based on, for example: age (children, older people), migration and displacement, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, poverty, or disability. This is not an exhaustive list and therefore in each context a rapid gender analysis should be conducted which explores intersectionality prior to setting up GBV response and prevention programming.

CARE’s 2020 Program Strategy also commits CARE, with our partners, to support 150 million people from the most vulnerable and excluded communities. As part of the CARE approach to tackling the drivers of poverty and injustice – along with inclusive governance and increasing resilience – gender equality and women’s voice is central to everything we do as an organization - in both internal organizational practice and of course in our programming (in both development and humanitarian contexts).

Global programming evidence demonstrates that we cannot address issues surrounding gender equality and women’s voice without addressing gender-based violence, so this is both an essential element of the CARE approach as well as an outcome area in the Program Strategy. GBV is both a driver and a consequence of gender inequality and clearly limits opportunities and support for those affected, acting as a threat to their inclusion in governance and development processes as well as humanitarian response. CARE’s niche includes a focus on transforming root causes of GBV as well as integration of GBV work across programming as an essential component.

Last year (2014), CARE reached more than 568,000 women, men, boy and girls through gender-based violence prevention and response programming in communities vulnerable to or affected by conflict and disasters. In addition, in 2014, we supported nearly 800,000 people in communities vulnerable to or affected by conflict and disasters, providing psychological first aid, psychosocial support, and mitigating protection concerns through a gender lens.

Rapid Gender Analysis

From August 2014 to July 2015, there have been a huge number of new conflicts and disasters, whilst conflict continued in Syria and South Sudan, the effects of the Sahel crisis were unrelenting, and Ebola persisted. CARE’s Global Gender in Emergencies team where heavily involved in all new crises and continued to work on protracted humanitarian contexts. In all new crises, CARE was amongst the first to produce rapid gender analyses. These gender analysis looked at protection issues as well as intersectionality. In particular, the gender analysis work conducted for Turkey (influx of refugees from Kobane, Syria), the Nepal earthquake, the Yemen conflict and Iraq IDPs in Kurdish Region of Iraq, responses were well received from the international community and informed a number of other agencies response strategies. In all locations mentioned above, our preparedness work in generating a gender in brief for each country office enabled CARE to make informed decisions on programming which would mainstream GBV prevention, mitigation and response appropriately according to the context. We are aiming to ensure that a gender in brief is completed as an emergency preparedness exercise for all country offices in 2016. Gender in Briefs are used in the preparedness phase to identify the critical issues, including social and gender norms which perpetuate GBV and the reporting rates of different forms of GBV. These are also used in the preparedness phase to not only be prepared but also to increase staff and partners’ capacity. Recent work in Pakistan has resulted in the development of Gender in Briefs for 15 separate districts. Gender in Briefs are in place for Nepal, Philippines, South Sudan, Vanuatu, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste and Vietnam – with more in development.

Advocacy and Research

CARE has produced a large number of advocacy and research material on GBV in the past year

“To protect her honour”: Child marriage in emergencies – the fatal confusion between protecting girls and sexual violence

  • Countries: Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Global
  • Published: June 2015

This document advocated for child marriage interventions to be considered life saving in emergencies – due to the reproductive health impact of this form of GBV. It also discussed a number of health and psychosocial issue. This document led to a panel discussion in the UK House of Lords hosted by CARE and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health. This document also had a direct influence on the UK DFID incorporating a focal point into their VAWG team to focus on child marriage in emergencies and humanitarian contexts.

Beyond 2015 for Women, Peace and Security

  • Countries: Global
  • Published: April 2015

Tackling the double injustice of climate change and gender inequality

  • Countries: Global
  • Published: December 2014

Engaging men and boys for gender equality series: Lessons learnt (Brief 2)

  • Countries: Global
  • Published: October 2014

Partnerships and engagement with southern civil society

CARE supported national and local women’s organisations in Afghanistan and Syria to engage with humanitarian policy-makers to bring their recommendations into country/regional-specific decision-making on the response to the crisis.

CARE supported over 50 local women’s rights organisations and women-led humanitarian NGOs from the global south to feed into consultations on the World Humanitarian Summit, including through convening the first consultation on the WHS and gender equality at UN CSW in March 2015.


Christian Aid’s mission is to expose the scandal of poverty, to help in practical ways to root it out from the world, and to challenge and change the systems that favour the rich and powerful over the poor and marginalised. We work for fundamental change, as well as supporting vulnerable groups to meet immediate needs and build long-term security. Christian Aid exists to support communities in claiming their right to escape poverty and move towards thriving and resilient lives. Working in partnership with others, of all faiths and none, we are part of a global movement of individuals and organisations passionately committed to ending poverty and social injustice.

Christian Aid launched a new Corporate Gender Strategy in May 2014. As the 4th of 5 major actions identified as key to making this strategy a reality a commitment was made that as an organization:

“We will demonstrate that we are making a significant contribution towards a reduction in gender based violence through challenging and changing damaging social norms”

In an emergency, we start from the assumption that there will always be violence against women and girls. Violence exists before an emergency occurs and is exacerbated when support networks erode during a crisis. In some cases protection mainstreaming will lead to a reduction in or prevention of GBV, e.g. locating latrines in safe places; providing lighting so that women can move safely at night, etc. In other cases, and where we have the required expertise, Christian Aid will be proactive in addressing GBV. Given the extreme sensitivity of working on these issues, a ‘Do No Harm’ approach is vital, and any interventions are planned within a broader gender-sensitive approach and a holistic approach to rehabilitation that includes both sexes. Where we lack the skills and experience, we aim to establish safe referral and reporting processes to competent organisations.

In the past year, Christian Aid:

• developed a new strategy for humanitarian protection with a GBV component;

• commissioned and developed a protection mainstreaming training programme for humanitarian country programme and partner staff with a GBV component;

• recruited a new gender, inclusion and protection specialist charged with driving forward gender, inclusion and protection issues across our humanitarian programmes; and

• introduced a gender scoring tool for all our major humanitarian appeal programmes. This is ensuring gender sensitive components are incorporated into all programme design processes, including the consideration and awareness of gender based violence both as a consequence and cause of vulnerability. This process is both building staff awareness of the issue and tracking programme compliance.

In the next year, Christian Aid aims:

• To roll out protection training across our main humanitarian country programmes.

• To develop a strategy and action plan for driving gender issues across our humanitarian programmes.

• To develop clear plans and resources for driving forward Christian Aid’s programming and advocacy work around our strategic corporate priority agenda of tackling violence and building peace.


Tackling Gender Based Violence in conflict and crisis situations remains of high importance for the EU and whilst the response to this issue primarily is channeled through EU's humanitarian aid, gender based violence is also addressed by other EU institutions in the area of development and external relations (such as the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace).

During the last year the EU has also prepared two new documents that will set the framework for all EU External Actions work on gender, including gender based violence in the coming years. The new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019), adopted on 20 July 2015 ensures a comprehensive human rights approach to conflicts and crises, inter alia by moving from early-warning to preventive action and by enhancing the capacity to address conflicts and crises at multilateral and regional level. In the context of EU external action and development cooperation, the EU Action Plan on Human Rights also priorities actions targeting, inter alia the protection of physical and psychological integrity of women and girls through activities which help protect women's human rights and freedom from violence with special attention to ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Child Early and Forced Marriage, gender based and sexual violence in conflict. The EU is also in final stages of finalizing the development of a successor of the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Cooperation 2010 - 2015 (GAP). This document will provide the context, rationale and priorities for result-oriented measures for gender equality during the period 2016-2020, including a strong focus on ensuring girl's and women's physical and psychological integrity and indicators and activities related to protection for all women and men of all ages from sexual and gender based violence in crisis situations.

In the last year 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 by strengthening its internal capacity and further disseminating its gender policy Gender in Humanitarian Assistance: Different Needs, Adapted Assistance, which includes an explicit chapter on sexual and gender-based violence. The gender policy 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 also 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. The first internal evaluation of the gender-age marker is on-going. 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:

To facilitate the implementation of this new tool and strengthen the capacity in the areas of gender and GBV, ECHO is offering trainings to staff and partners. In 2014, ECHO offered 9 trainings on this tool, 3 at HQ and 6 at field level. ECHO also strengthened its internal capacity in 2014 by hiring a full-time Global Expert on Gender, based in Nairobi.

In accordance with the commitments made for the Call for Action, for the humanitarian support to Syria refuges, in 2014, ECHO allocated more than € 18 million to protection programs that support specific GBV related activities through UNICEF, UNFPA, and International Rescue Committee. GBV is mainstreamed into all EU humanitarian operations in Syria and neighboring countries. ECHO has so far committed over € 33 million to protect victims of the Syrian crisis, through gender-based violence and child protection activities. So far in 2015 ECHO has currently allocated € 7.4 million globally to projects aimed at preventing and responding to GBV.

In addition, the EU is addressing GBV 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.

The EU's top three Call to Action priorities in the coming year:

• Develop and implement a successor to the EU Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Cooperation 2010 - 2015 (GAP), which will set a strong framework for EU External Actions in the years to come to tackle gender based violence in crisis situation. Furthermore, the ECHO protection policy is currently under revision and will include a special focus on GBV

• Further enhance policy dissemination and strengthen the EU internal capacity.

• Continue funding projects aimed at preventing and responding to GBV in various crises but also projects aimed at strengthening the global capacity in the area of GBV.


The Gender Based Violence Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) is the global level forum responsible for coordinating GBV prevention and response actions in humanitarian and other crisis affected settings. A functional component of the Global Protection Clusters, the GBV AoR is guided by its membership, which consist of GBV experts, implementers and includes; international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations (UN) entities, donors, academics, independent experts and other organizations.

The members of the GBV AoR come together to achieve more predictable, accountable and effective approaches to GBV in humanitarian and other crises affected settings, led by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). The GBV AoR not only supports coordination at a national and global level, it also supports initiatives aimed at ensuring increased GBV capacity and developing standards and guidance to ensure GBV coordination and prevention and response programming delivers tangible, measurable improvements in the safety and well-being of those at greatest risk – most often women and girls.

Over the past year, the GBV AoR achieved several of its individual commitments to the Call to Action as well as completed actions that will bring attainment of the Call to Action overarching commitments closer. Three main achievements this year are outlined below.

• The 2015 Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action have been endorsed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), launched during the Sexual Violence Research Initiative global forum and the process for rollout has started. The development of the guidelines is based on thorough ‘research’ conducted over two-years to come up with the ‘right tool’ to ensure the ‘right programs’ are being implemented and build capacity across sectors.

• A five-year GBV Capacity Development Strategy and a set of GBV in Emergencies (GBViE) Core Competencies have been developed laying the ground for a more consorted, step-by-step implementation, to build GBV capacity nationally, regionally and globally to enable more effective GBV humanitarian programming and future leadership. The strategy gives strong focus on bringing together partners and identifying, standardizing and building on existing GBV related training and capacity building efforts.

• The Regional Emergency GBV Advisor (REGA) Initiative, which seeks to focus on longer-term GBViE capacity of regional and national level actors has successfully been implemented with four advisors being posted and covering the: West and Central Africa Region; South-East Asia and the Pacific Region; Arab States and North Africa Region and the East and Central Africa Region.

Building on these successes, in the coming year, the GBV AoR will focus on three main strategies, which may evolve in consultation with membership.

• Development of standardized GBV Guidance, which could include GBV Minimum Standards to ensure global uniformity in how GBViE is addressed by setting standards that must be adhered to, while at the same time aligning the GBV AoR with other AoR and clusters who have the same (minimum standards) to ensure quality program implementation across the sectors. In addition, this should include updating the GBV Coordination Handbook and other guidance/learning documents to have an update core toolbox of guiding documents for GBViE.

• Expansion of the REGA initiative and the re-establishment of the GBV Rapid Response Team, which will fulfill the GBV AoR’s commitment to ensure, through a two-pronged approach, that a team of GBV experts and coordinators can provide longer term capacity building support to lay the groundwork for emergency inter-agency response missions in emergencies. The AoR will review the REGA initiative as it finishes it first year and will place 7 REGA’s to ensure nearly global coverage of humanitarian settings as well as being able to focus on preparedness and response in often-neglected regions like Latin America and the Caribbean region. The RRT’s will ensure that surge support is ready at the onset of emergency and they will work in partnership with the REGA to ensure inter-agency GBV capacity in coordination and response is available from the initial on-set of an emergency and beyond.

• Development and implementation of a GBV AoR support function, which could include an official ‘help-desk’ function, where GBV sub-cluster and working group coordinators can go to receive support. This would also include access to an up-to-date comprehensive library of resources and a repository of new and on-going research and best practices.


The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is a global research institute with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and regional offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and New Delhi, India. Our research evidence identifies women’s contributions as well as the obstacles that prevent them from being economically strong and able to fully participate in society. ICRW translates these insights into a path of action that honors women’s human rights, ensures gender equality and creates the conditions in which all women can thrive.

ICRW's mission is to empower women, advance gender equality and fight poverty in the developing world. To accomplish this, ICRW works with partners to conduct empirical research, build capacity and advocate for evidence-based, practical ways to change policies and programs. We comprise social scientists, economists, public health specialists and demographers, all of whom are experts in gender relations. We are thought leaders driven by a passion to alleviate poverty and rectify injustice in the world. And we believe that women and girls – in collaboration with men and boys – are essential to the solutions. We know that when their quality of life improves, families are healthier and economies are stronger.

During the reporting period, ICRW’s top three accomplishments related to the Call to Action were:

  • Conducted new research: The International Center for Research on Women, Ipsos-Mori – part of the National University of Ireland Galway-led consortium funded by the U.K. Department for International Development, is investigating the economic and social costs of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in fragile and conflict-affected countries (Pakistan, South Sudan). The study moves beyond an exclusive focus on intimate partner violence and will consider forms of violence perpetrated against women and girls including sexual violence in schools, sexual harassment in the workplace, and rape as a weapon of war. The project takes a multi-disciplinary approach, involving experts in economics, social sciences, political science, sociology, gender studies, public health and psychology.
  • Secured partnerships for new research:
    Assessing International Medical Corp’s (IMC) Women Friendly Service for Risk Mitigation (2014-2015): ICRW is providing technical expertise for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to improve program effectiveness and inform promising practices in the prevention and response to GBV among South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia. ICRW is working with IMC to develop a monitoring framework as well as evaluate the value of these interventions for new refugee populations after one year of programming and document lessons learned.
    Responding to and Mitigating GBV amongst Women & Girls Displacement in Urban Contexts (2014-2015): With funding from US Department of State, ICRW, in partnership with International Rescue Committee, is providing technical expertise in to analyze mobile approaches to respond and prevent GBV in urban refugee contexts-- testing, adapting and evaluating them to inform humanitarian responses within and beyond the Syrian crisis. The study site will be Syrian refugees living in Lebanon on the Syrian border.
  • Advocacy and Thought Leadership: US and global advocacy on girls in crisis settings: ICRW continues to conduct advocacy to call attention to the rights and needs of girls in conflict and crisis settings, including encouraging the U.S. leadership to prevent and respond to child, early and forced marriage in the context of conflicts with Boko Haram and ISIS; advocating for attention to these issues in the post-2015 development agenda; participating in the Call to Action roadmapping workshop; and hosting a summit on girls in crisis settings along with the Government of Belgium, the Women’s Refugee Commission, Georgetown Institute on Women, Peace and Security and Plan International this spring.

In the coming year, ICRW will continue to explore opportunities to advance the research and policy agenda on girls and women in crisis settings, in such forums as the International Humanitarian Summit. We will take the following steps to advance the overarching principles of the Call to Action:

  • Host a high-level side event to the UN General Assembly with actress Ashley Judd and UN and civil society partners calling for strong implementation of Sustainable Development Goals targets to end gender-based violence, child early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation by 2030.
  • Conduct new research on for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to improve program effectiveness and inform promising practices in the prevention and response to GBV for refugee populations in the early phases of an emergency.
  • Conduct new research on mobile approaches to respond and prevent GBV in urban refugee contexts in the Syrian crisis.


InterAction is the largest alliance of US-based international NGOs focused on the world’s poor and most vulnerable people. The InterAction GBV Working Group (GBV WG) is a collaborative platform for NGOs working to address GBV in humanitarian settings. Our members include both operational and non-operational organizations that lead programming to prevent and respond to GBV, carry out research and advocacy that documents best practices, and develop innovative tools to improve the way GBV considerations are mainstreamed in humanitarian action to ensure inclusivity, safety, and dignity of populations at risk to GBV.

During the reporting period, the GBV WG has achieved progress on several areas that support the Call to Action, including:

Accountability to advancing the commitments members have made to prioritize the prevention and response to GBV

Since the launch of the Call to Action, the InterAction GBV WG has remained committed to the vision and core objectives within the 2013 Call to Action and Communique. Our members collectively made 42 commitments to the Call to Action, representing twenty percent of all commitments made at the High Level Event in 2013. These commitments covered a range of themes such as capacity building, research, advocacy, scaling up programming, inclusion, integration of GBV programming, and other program or context-specific interventions. As part of our collective accountability, the GBV WG carried out a review of member commitments that analyzed progress and barriers towards implementation. This joint progress report was presented at the UN General Assembly in 2014 within the Call to Action side event (see InterAction GBV Working Group Report on the Call to Action (2014)). This report reflects a continued commitment towards holding ourselves accountable to improving GBV prevention and response.

Since the launch of our members’ collective progress in September 2014, the GBV WG has maintained a dedicated stream of work advancing our commitments and helping to shape both content and scope of the roadmap to support the Call to Action.

Contributions to the development and promotion of evidence-informed GBV programming

A significant accomplishment that reflects the GBV WG’s first commitment is the continued work on developing and promoting evidence-informed GBV programming. The GBV WG has carried out several Learning Events on emerging themes and issues that provide both opportunities and challenges for the humanitarian community. One area in particular was exploring the gap in both programming and policy as it relates to sexual and gender minorities and GBV. The event provided a space to share current approaches to programming and helped to initiate a dialogue within the GBV community about the unique risks and opportunities that sexual and gender minorities face in humanitarian situations.

In addition, the close linkage between the GBV WG and the Results-Based Protection Program led by InterAction provided new learning on how to support protection outcomes that strengthen overall approaches to GBV. Several interagency webinars and on-line discussion forums highlighted GBV case examples for strengthening a more results-based approach to GBV programming. This included identifying key elements within a results-based approach to protection that support program design and protection strategy. The progress and findings from this work can be found here:

Particular field-level work on Results-Based Protection in Lebanon that explored developing a causal logic for engaging men and boys in the prevention and response to GBV is another example of this collaborative effort to support GBV programming and strengthen the evidence-base.

Advancements in global-level policy dialogue on GBV

The GBV WG has maintained strong relationships with key stakeholders and continues to engage in constructive dialogues with UN offices and donor governments. Several GBV WG-led events focused on country-specific issues in regards to GBV, including programming within South Sudan and the Central African Republic. The discussions, as well as several follow-up letters and position papers, led to direct engagement with key stakeholders including the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, and the US Government. These dialogues provided a space to emphasize barriers to GBV programming, recommendations for actionable solutions, and gaps in funding and programming.

Priorities 2015-2016

In the coming year, the GBV WG has prioritized three commitments that will advance the objectives of the Call to Action. These include:

A. Supporting the implementation of the Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action (GBV Guidelines) and contributing to the uptake and learning by InterAction members.

B. Continuing meaningful engagement with the Call to Action and with the new leadership building on the progress made under the US government’s direction.

C. Engaging within the global level GBV Area of Responsibility (AoR) to ensure UN Cluster-Lead agencies are held accountable for effective coordination for GBV prevention and response both within global and country-level clusters and working groups.


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian network, with 189 member National Societies and over 17 million volunteers. The IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies.

The organisation is guided by Strategy 2020, which is our collective plan of action to tackle the major humanitarian and development challenges of this decade. The strength of the organisation lies in our volunteer network, our community-based expertise and our ability to give a global voice to vulnerable people.

In 2015, the Movement carried out a survey that showed that about a quarter of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies engage in GBV response and/or prevention work. Also in 2015, the IFRC developed minimum standards for mainstreaming GBV prevention into humanitarian response work.

By including GBV in armed conflict and disasters as one of six key themes for the International Conference in December 2015, the Movement states clearly that GBV is a humanitarian issue that requires our attention and action and demonstrates its commitment to address this predictable and preventable problem. Through the active promotion of minimum standards, an increasing number of National Societies and Red Cross Red Crescent operations are mainstreaming GBV prevention and response measures. In addition, with the momentum created in preparing for a resolution on GBV in armed conflict and disaster at the International Conference and afterwards and the anticipated increase in capacity and resources, it is expected that an increasing number of National Societies will engage alone or in partnership with other organisations on targeted GBV programming.

Call to Action Accomplishments In Reporting Period

1. Survey - Between October 2014 and April 2015, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement carried out a global survey on projects and activities addressing SGBV related to armed conflict and disaster. The objective was to identify all recent (i.e. since 2013) Movement work, good practices and gaps and challenges in GBV prevention and response. The survey report sets out a number of recommendations that will be presented to the Council of Delegates in December 2015.

2. Research on GBV in Disasters - While there is established recognition that sexual violence is a feature of most conflict situations, much less is known about the nature and extent of GBV in disasters and public health emergencies. In order to address this knowledge gap, in 2015, the IFRC undertook field-based research to examine the issue. Researchers were deployed to nine disaster-affected countries, interviewing a range of stakeholders. Findings from the field research, together with academic and other secondary sources, will provide the basis for a global study that will be presented at the International Conference.

3. SGBV Coordination Group, resolution and definitions – Following a workshop on ‘SGBV in Armed Conflict and Disasters’ at the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s Council of Delegates’ (CoD) meeting in Sydney in November 2013, the IFRC came together with the ICRC and a number of National Societies to form the Movement-wide SGBV Coordination Group. The group’s purpose is to realise the three recommendations of the 2013 CoD meeting; namely, to keep the topic on the agenda for the 2015 International Conference; to carry out a survey of Movement activities on SGBV related to armed conflict and disasters; and to develop common definitions for key terminology related to the theme.

As a result of the group’s work and the commitment of senior management in the IFRC and the ICRC, the Movement will present a resolution on SGBV in armed conflict and disasters at the International Conference 2015 and draft definitions for endorsement by the CoD.

Call to Action Priorities in Coming Year:

1. Continue research on GBV in disasters - The IFRC is exploring opportunities to continue, to expand and to deepen its research on GBV in disasters with the objective of better informing mainstreaming and targeted medical, psychosocial, legal, policy and advocacy action. The focus of further research will remain on National Society activities to prepare for the occurrence of, to prevent and to respond to GBV in small and/or seasonal disasters.

2. Minimum Standard Commitments (MSCs) and associated training programme - In June, the IFRC launched the pilot version of the Minimum Standard Commitments (MSCs) to Gender and Diversity in Emergency Programming (EN, AR, FR, SP). The MSCs provide practical guidance on mainstreaming gender and diversity, GBV and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) prevention and child protection in seven technical sectors. The MSCs are also embedded in the Seven Moves training programme, which has been rolled out in whole or in part to delegates and staff in six locations since the end of April. A Training of Trainers has been organised by SIDA/Swedish Red Cross in September and an action plan for cascading the training throughout the regions has also been developed. In this way, IFRC envisages that an increasing number of National Societies and IFRC operations will integrate minimum standards on GBV mainstreaming.

3. Resolution at the International Conference and engagement with National Societies and States on its drafting and implementation – In the drafting of, the many discussions and preparatory consultations on SGBV in armed conflict and disasters at the International Conference in December 2015, the IFRC is engaging with National Societies and States from all regions on the topic. There is increasing engagement on the topic and interest in how National Societies and States can contribute to addressing the issue in humanitarian action.


The IRC’s comprehensive approach to women’s protection and empowerment (WPE) supports the pursuit of a world where women and girls live free from violence as valued and respected members of their community. In over 30 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, our innovative WPE programs focus on providing care to women and girls who have experienced violence as well as tackling the root causes of abuse through five core areas: service provision, violence prevention, empowerment of women and girls, research and learning, and advocacy.

Over the past year, IRC is proud to have achieved many accomplishments that have advanced the work of the Call to Action. Of most significance are our accomplishments related to the following:

1. Training and capacity-building of humanitarian staff in preventing and responding to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in emergencies: Since August 2014, IRC has used funding from MacArthur Foundation and Irish Aid to train an additional 47 local organizations on GBV-specific emergency preparedness and planning using our GBV Emergency Response Program Model. In 2014/2015, the IRC for the first time followed training by awarding small cash awards for local NGOs to invest further in preparedness. Eight organizations received awards and used funding to undertake activities such as the development and training of internal emergency rosters specialized in VAWG response (Kenya), training of national and regional disaster response management committees (Mozambique), and leading response to localized crises (DRC). The IRC brought these local organizations together at the end of their projects to share lessons and develop recommendations for further work in this area. The IRC’s report on this process will be disseminated in August/September 2015.

In addition to our emergency response training, IRC has been selected to lead the development of an inter-agency case management toolkit that will be field-tested in six countries and endorsed by the GBV AoR for global use. The toolkit, which includes case management guidelines for responding to GBV, supervision resources, and training materials, will establish global standards of care for GBV survivors and serve to support staff and supervisors in the implementation of such standards. As part of the GBV Information Management System (GBVIMS) Steering Committee, the IRC has also co-facilitated inter-agency workshops in Central African Republic and Mali to support the implementation of the GBVIMS.

Lastly, since 2003, IRC has been working to engage men in preventing VAWG, most recently through our evidence-based and field-tested curriculum, Engaging Men through Accountable Practice (EMAP). This project is informed and led by women’s voices and priorities for engaging men in transformative individual behavior change. During the reporting period, IRC trained 25 men and 21 women as Global EMAP Facilitators in 28 countries through a one-year project to build humanitarian practitioner capacity in VAWG funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). IRC also directly implemented EMAP in DRC, with Liberia and N. Caucasus implementation in progress.

2. Building the evidence base of research and program initiatives that address VAWG in humanitarian settings: In January 2015, IRC completed PRM-funded research with women survivors, community members and humanitarian organizations in South Sudan, Kenya and Iraq. The study, Private Violence, Public Concern, examined key drivers of intimate partner violence during displacement, consequences of violence, women’s decision-making after an experience of violence, and entry points for improved programming. Findings and recommendations for practitioners and policymakers were shared with over 200 stakeholders at events in Washington, DC, New York, and globally through two webinars. In addition, in June of 2015, IRC and the Women’s Refugee Commission released new research, funded by the Australian Aid Program and Open Society Foundations, to identify barriers for accessing GBV programming for women and girls with disabilities, and to pilot and evaluate strategies for promoting disability inclusion in GBV programming in Burundi, Ethiopia, Jordan and the N. Caucasus. “I see that it is possible”: Building capacity for disability inclusion in gender-based violence programming in humanitarian settings, culminated in a report, project brief, Toolkit for GBV Practitioners and launch events targeting humanitarian actors, donors, UN agencies and policymakers.

3. Influencing policy and practice on prioritization of women and girls in emergencies: IRC works with policy- and decision-makers, first responders and the wider humanitarian community on raising awareness about what keeps women and girls safe during crisis. In September 2014, IRC released Are We Listening?: Acting on our Commitments to Women and Girls Affected by the Syrian Conflict, which brings to light the voices of Syrian women and girls and the barriers they have faced during five years of displacement. As a direct result of this report, UNFPA and UNHCR commissioned a real-time evaluation of the implementation of the IASC GBV Guidelines in the Syria Regional Response. Findings from this evaluation will be shared in mid-September and will be utilized, along with the revised GBV guidelines, to improve the implementation of minimum standards in all emergencies.

With those accomplishments in mind, IRC is committed to carrying out the following priorities to advance the Call to Action principles over the coming year:

1. Develop and test a model for strategic-level action and accountability for preventing and responding to VAWG in humanitarian settings: In January 2015, IRC joined UNICEF, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNOCHA, and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, to launch the Real-Time Accountability Partnership (RTAP) to promote accountability for the prioritization, integration and coordination of GBV efforts across all humanitarian action. Over the course of 2015, the RTAP members drafted key tools to take the work of the partnership forward: a theory of change around the intended impact that women and girls are free from all forms and threats of GBV in emergencies; and a draft framework for strategic level actions to advance the goals of the RTAP. Partners will use this framework to guide action in two humanitarian emergencies in late 2016 and 2017. The RTAP will then evaluate how effectively the partnership operationalized and held actors accountable to the framework. RTAP partners are currently preparing for a baseline evaluation that will take place in five humanitarian contexts in early 2016.

2. Further expand evidence and learning to influence policy and practice on VAWG in humanitarian settings: IRC is currently leading a five-year research consortium project, “What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises” funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID). The consortium (a partnership with CARE International UK and the George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute) aims to produce evidence on prevention and response mechanisms to VAWG in fragile and conflict-affected environments. The project will include five studies: a prevalence survey in South Sudan; an evaluation of comprehensive case management in Dadaab, Kenya; retrospective analysis on the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; an evaluation of the impact of cash programming on women’s empowerment and protection in the immediate onset of a prospective acute emergency (site to be selected); and a comparative study exploring the intersection of VAWG and state and peace building in South Sudan, DRC, Nepal and Yemen.

Additionally, with support from Irish Aid, IRC will launch an update of its landmark discussion paper, Lifesaving, Not Optional: Protecting women and girls from violence in emergencies. The updatewill examine GBV emergency response in Central African Republic, Iraq, Sierra Leone (Ebola) and South Sudan. In addition, IRC will be sharing learning from a project on VAWG in emergency settings in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Regional learning will shine light on a) how to work with women and girls more effectively and let their voices guide GBV programs, b) how to advocate to and partner with community leaders to increase access to GBV services, and c) why investing in preparedness at local, national, and regional levels is crucial to a region like the Horn and East Africa, where emergencies are cyclical. Both advocacy products will be launched in Brussels in September 2015.

3. Implement new, innovative programs to promote the safety, prevention of and response to violence against adolescent girls in the DRC, Ethiopia and Pakistan: In 2014, IRC launched a three-year, DfID-funded program, COMPASS: Creating Opportunities through Mentoring, Parental Involvement and Space Spaces. The program has just completed its first year and a diverse range of safe spaces for girls has been created in all three countries, with girls soon accessing asset-building activities and support in these spaces to increase their resilience to violence. Formative research carried out by Columbia University has already yielded unexpected findings in understanding the level of the girls’ skill sets and addressing their vulnerabilities to violence. COMPASS has developed a number of innovative programming and research tools to address these issues which will be shared with the wider humanitarian community.


International Medical Corps’ mission and work on gender-based violence

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through relief and development programs. First established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses to strengthen healthcare in humanitarian settings, International Medical Corps has, in the past thirty years, expanded the scope of its programming to sectors of mental health and psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition and food security, and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response. International Medical Corps is now a leading agency in focused GBV prevention and response programming in humanitarian settings with stand-alone interventions in the majority of International Medical Corps’ operations across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

International Medical Corps’ GBV prevention and response programs are designed to support and empower women and girls who are most at risk of gender-based violence and face particular risks during and after armed conflict and natural disasters. International Medical Corps’ priority is to strengthen core services for survivors of GBV, particularly case management and psychosocial support services and quality healthcare. In areas of operation, International Medical Corps works with local organizations, community-based support workers and healthcare providers to provide survivor-centred care and support. International Medical Corps also works with communities to promote women’s equality and to combat beliefs and practices that perpetuate different forms of GBV. International Medical Corps tailors its programs to ensure activities are needs-driven, adapted for cultural and security considerations, and responsive to the nature and extent of GBV present in different contexts.

International Medical Corps’ Call to Action accomplishments from August 2014-July 2015

During the past year, International Medical Corps has taken actions to improve the safety of women and girls affected by humanitarian crises in more than twenty countries. The organization has also continued efforts to improve coordination, learning and advocacy around gender-based violence at the global level, through collaboration with partners and active participation and leadership in GBV coordination mechanisms. International Medical Corps’ top three accomplishments over the past year should include the expansion of programming in key regions affected by protracted crises, the early inclusion of attention to GBV in new emergencies, and contributions toward increased capacity of GBV professionals.

International Medical Corps has continued its programming in many areas affected by protracted crises over the past year. Of note, International Medical Corps strengthened its programming in all countries affected by the regional Syria crisis, including Syria itself. International Medical Corps also assumed responsibility of co-chairing the GBV working group in southern Turkey, has actively participated in a new regional GBV coordination group, and serves on a steering committee to lead a real-time evaluation of the humanitarian community’s response to GBV-related needs during the Syria crisis. International Medical Corps also expanded its programmatic response to the crisis in South Sudan. The organization is now leading focused GBV programs across Jonglei and Upper Nile states, and has assumed responsibility of co-chairing the national GBV sub-cluster. Across the border in Ethiopia, International Medical Corps remains the only international NGO with focused GBV programs to support South Sudan refugees in the Gambella region of Ethiopia. International Medical Corps has responded to the increasing Gambella population by increasing camp coverage, constructing additional women’s centers, and training additional staff and volunteers. International Medical Corps also led GBV mainstreaming trainings for partners working in different sectors across Gambella camps, introducing the draft revised GBV Guidelines and helping sector working groups to develop action plans to mitigate risks of GBV.

In its response to new emergencies during the last year, International Medical Corps upheld its commitment to include early attention to GBV risks. Emergency assessments were carried out in Malawi, Ukraine, Northern Nigeria and Nepal. Following these assessments, International Medical Corps has launched new emergency programs in Ukraine, Nepal and Northern Nigeria.

At the global level, International Medical Corps’ GBV Technical Advisory Team has devoted great attention over the past year to the challenge of increasing professional capacity for GBV prevention and response. As co-chair of the GBVAoR Learning Task Team, International Medical Corps helped to guide a consultative process to develop a competency framework for GBV managers and coordinators, as well as a five-year global strategy to increase GBV capacity for humanitarian response. International Medical Corps also joined the GBVIMS Steering Committee and began collaborating on an interagency GBV capacity building project, including the development of a GBV case management toolkit. Internally, International Medical Corps developed technical guidance notes to support field teams with specific programmatic challenges and organized multiple training opportunities for GBV staff, partner agencies, government counterparts, healthcare providers, and community groups.

International Medical Corps’ Call to Action priorities for the coming year

• International Medical Corps’ three priorities for the coming year will align with major accomplishments from the previous year. Our first priority is to continue engagement in areas of protracted crises, with an emphasis on building capacity of local service providers for transition to government and civil society counterparts. We are committed to ensuring that core services- particularly case management, psychosocial support, and healthcare services- are available for all survivors of GBV in humanitarian settings. Where possible, we will continue to expand our scope and range of service to offer legal counseling and a range of interventions aimed at empowering vulnerable women, including skills training, savings groups, and income generation activities. We are further committed to working toward social norms change, by targeting specific practices that contribute to risks of GBV through engagement with key stakeholders, men, women, boys and girls.

• International Medical Corps will also prioritize early action during emergency response operations to address risks of GBV and to establish core services for survivors. We remain committed to the deployment of a GBV specialist during the earliest stages of every emergency response operation to assess specific risks, to identify services and community structures that might be reinforced, and to initiate both mainstreaming and focused programming initiatives where needed.

• International Medical Corps will also continue its efforts to increase global capacity for GBV prevention and response in humanitarian settings over the coming year. In August 2015 International Medical Corps will host a workshop with specialist staff from 13 of International Medical Corps’ country operations to contribute to an interagency initiative to develop GBV case management standards and guidance. International Medical Corps also plans to work with UNFPA and partners to re-launch the Managing GBV in Emergencies learning program, aimed at building capacity of emerging practitioners. As co-chair of the GBV AoR Learning Task Team and the InterAction GBV Working Group, International Medical Corps will continue to advocate for, and contribute to, additional learning opportunities for staff engaged in humanitarian response.


IOM is committed to ensuring that the particular needs of all migrant women, men, girls and boys are identified, taken into consideration, and addressed by IOM projects and services, which includes taking effective prevention measures to guarantee protection and provide gender responsive assistance. The Organization continues to develop, test, and implement a range of programming models to address the rights and needs of victims/survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the aftermath of conflicts or natural disasters, as well as during transition and recovery periods. IOM mainstreams protection from and response to SGBV across its myriad humanitarian programs. At the policy level, IOM Principles for Humanitarian Actions, including policy components on Durable Solutions and Protection Mainstreaming, are underway and IOM aims for finalization by the end of 2015. Specific project tools have been developed and tested which integrate four key principles1 and actively advocate for the inclusion of prevention and mitigating measures against SGBV into the various steps of the project life-cycle. IOM’s Durable Solutions Policy initiative will underscore the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment with recognition of gender-related protection issues, particularly in the areas of safety and security and access to justice.

Operationally, the Migration Health Division continues to support service provision and capacity building in the field of sexual and reproductive health through: 1) the integration of MISP (Minimum Initial Service package) for Reproductive Health in all primary health care provision settings, of which emergency contraception and post-exposure prophylaxis are core components; 2) clinical management of rape and referrals of SGBV survivors as part of primary health care provision; 3) training on clinical management of rape to its health care providers; and 4) provision of psychological support both directly to survivors of SGBV and to families/ communities. In its capacity as the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster co-lead for natural disasters, IOM has improved information gathering and management tools, as well as increased training on camp management and GBV considerations. Dedicated activities to enhance the focus and understanding of human trafficking in emergencies has taken place, as well as efforts to address and mitigate GBV during the transitional phase by means such as safety and security, livelihoods, and effective remedies for displacement-related violations including access to justice, reparations, and information about the causes of violations. Preventing SGBV and responding holistically to the immediate and longer term needs of survivors, as well as supporting more systemic responses, are critical concerns.

PSEA is a threat that continues to be addressed through many of IOMs response programs; internally through continuous staff training, awareness-raising, revision of the IOM Standards of Conduct, and actively investigating allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation received from the field. At the inter-agency level, Director General Swing continues to serve as the PSEA Champion and IOM is coordinating an inter-agency pilot program to establish community-based complaints mechanisms in Ethiopia and the DRC.

IOM’s top three Call to Action accomplishments from August 2014 - July 2015 Camp Coordination and Camp Management, Cluster co-lead for Natural Disasters /Displacement Tracking Matrix:

IOM has modified indicators, fields, and databases in the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in the Philippines, Iraq, South Sudan, Malawi, Nigeria, Vanuatu, and Mozambique to strengthen GBV prevention and mitigation and to better respond to needs identified by camp managers and other sectors. DTM and CCCM information is now more systematic and standardized in the integration of gender-sensitive demographic statistics (i.e. sex-age disaggregated data); gender-sensitive information on needs, vulnerabilities, and service gaps; 2 GBV-related risks, 3 information on livelihood strategies related to GBV and protection (e.g. coping mechanisms); and IDPs’ knowledge of GBV services. 4 GBV and Child Protection actors at the field level have actively participated in the inclusion of these indicators. Extensive discussions have been held with GBV, Child Protection, and Camp Management actors to help clarify roles, responsibilities, and information expected from the three clusters at the operational level, and how relevant information can be exchanged to contribute to different IM systems and improve analyses by different sectors. Finally, IOM has trained camp management and DTM staff on the complexities of Child Protection and GBV, often engaging GBV and CP experts from country-level AoRs. The capacity-building intends to build the knowledge about referral pathways, the survivor-centered approach, GBV and CP guiding principles, what not to do, and GBV and CP AoR support expectations of camp managers.

Reparations for Victims/Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: IOM has been providing policy development and technical support to national and international stakeholders (government and civil society) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, and the Republic of Kosovo to move towards developing and establishing comprehensive status recognition, legal frameworks, and operational mechanisms for victims of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV).

Counter-trafficking: IOM carried out much-anticipated research on the link between trafficking and crisis from November 2014 to May 2015, through internal funding support. The research focused on past and present countries in crisis, including armed conflicts in Libya, Iraq and Syria; natural disasters in the Indian Ocean Earthquake, Haiti, and the Philippines; and mixed flows in complex settings of Eastern Africa and the onward North Africa migratory route. The study findings indicate that not only do crises exacerbate the pre-existing modes of trafficking in persons, but that also new, crisis-induced trafficking modes emerge. The study identified that despite the strong protection component within the humanitarian response system, trafficking remains largely unaddressed leaving an important protection gap that needs to be filled. Another key finding of the study is that human trafficking is a direct consequence of crises, not a mere side effect, which requires addressing at the onset of emergencies. These and other study findings were released at various forums and events, including the Human Rights Council in June 2015.

IOM’s top three Call to Action priorities in the coming year that will help advance the overarching principles of Call to Action, its goal, and one or more of the objectives identified for the road map. Camp Coordination and Camp Management, Cluster co-lead for Natural Disasters/Displacement Tracking Matrix:

CCCM is in the process of establishing SOPs for information exchange between camp managers, the GBV AoR, and the Child Protection Working Group on protection risks within displacement sites. IOM anticipates that this will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of responses and processes to share actionable data between CCCM, GBV, and Child Protection actors. In South Sudan, a draft SOP produced by CCCM and GBV colleagues is also currently under discussion. Coordination between CCCM, CP, and GBV at the global level is also taking place and IOM will continue to actively participate in the following areas: GBV AoR SAG; GBV Guidelines Reference Group; CP Working Group; CP Assessment Task Force and the CP Case Management group.

Reparations for Victims/Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: The reparations programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, and Republic of Kosovo are ongoing. During the next reporting period IOM will expand this project support to additional countries affected by conflict to arrive at a comprehensive solution for survivors of CRSV. Continued progress in this endeavor will depend on overcoming the following challenges: a) Depoliticizing the conception of victimhood and the responsibility to provide justice and care; b) Achieving balance between the retributive and restorative justice efforts in post-conflict societies; and c) Identifying sustainable financing models for reparations.

Preventing and Protecting against Exploitation of Vulnerable Persons: IOM will continue to prioritize PSEA at both the internal and inter-agency levels. The IOM Director General continues to serve as the UN System Champion to Prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and to work with IASC agencies’ senior focal points on the issue, with the next meeting scheduled for November 2015. Both IOM’s revised Gender Policy and draft PSEA Policy will be presented to senior management for approval, which will be followed-up with the development of in-depth guidance notes and targeted training materials for IOM field offices. At the inter-agency level, the Organization will focus on completing its coordination of the inter-agency PSEA pilot project to establish community-based complaints mechanisms on behalf of the IASC in Ethiopia and DRC, and compile best practices to facilitate replication in other humanitarian settings. This effort also includes working with IASC agencies to develop global Standard Operating Procedures on interagency complaints handling and referrals. IOM plans to continue providing technical assistance on establishing CBCMs in humanitarian response operations, upon request, to field missions or HCTs in 2016.

As a follow-up to the findings from the study on the nexus between trafficking and crisis, IOM is currently developing an internal strategy to address trafficking in times of crisis, and has already begun operationalization by deploying a Counter-trafficking in Crisis Expert from the onset of a crisis, whose primary aim is to comprehensively assess the human trafficking situation, a need that was both established and found to be lacking in the IOM study. IOM aims to carry out further, larger-scope research in the near future. The Organization is also attempting to advocate an external strategy within the international community, emphasizing the finding that not only does trafficking exist during crises, but that it has received insufficient attention and the humanitarian response must incorporate TIP considerations in its future actions.


Ireland continues to prioritise the protection of girls and women in emergencies throughout its policy, programming and advocacy work. Ireland’s updated Humanitarian Assistance Policy, officially launched in July 2015 at the Irish Humanitarian Summit, unequivocally reiterates Ireland’s commitment to addressing gender-based violence issues. The policy recognises 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 girls and women is in itself a life-saving action which needs to be an essential part of every humanitarian operation. The implementation of Ireland’s Humanitarian Assistance Policy is informed by 16 Guiding Principles, one of which specifically addresses the primacy of protection of vulnerable groups and that the prevention of, and response to, gender-based violence is a life-saving action in any humanitarian response. Ireland is committed to providing flexible, predicted and coordinated humanitarian funding and its work on gender-based violence (GBV) is no exception. Ireland earmarks funding to support invited NGO partners’ work in specialised thematic areas, of which GBV is one. On the international stage, Ireland will continue to use its position as a leading and well respected humanitarian donor to advocate for the protection of women and girls in emergencies, and specifically for humanitarian interventions that systematically address GBV.

Ireland made six specific commitments at the launch of the Call to Action initiative in November 2013. Progress has been achieved across all six and is elaborated upon in greater detail at a later stage of this report. However, the three areas in which the greatest accomplishments were achieved over the past 12 months are as follows:

1) Increased funding to GBV and Protection work in emergencies.

In the past 12 months, the Irish Government has increased the amount of funding that it has directed to targeted programmes which address GBV and Protection in emergencies. Support has been provided for standalone programmes in a number of contexts; for example, a Christian Aid Ireland GBV programme for Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDPs in northern Iraq and programmes implemented by Concern in Lebanon and Turkey which engage men in gender-based violence reduction activities, as well as supporting survivors of GBV. In July 2014, Irish Aid entered into a two year €2 million Strategic Partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The aim of the Partnership is to not only provide funding to the IRC’s vital GBV response and prevention work in emergency settings, but also to support the IRC’s advocacy efforts to promote GBV emergency policy and response amongst European stakeholders.

In addition to these specific GBV programmes, all of Irish Aid’s humanitarian funding proposals are appraised on how protection of girls and women in emergencies is meaningfully addressed and protection and GBV are frequently elements of broader multi-sectoral humanitarian programmes. Gender and GBV are integral criteria of Irish Aid’s appraisal of NGO humanitarian funding proposals and Irish Aid actively encourages its NGO partners to submit proposals for funding which address these issues – both as standalone programmes or mainstreamed.

2) Prioritisation of GBV and protection in Ireland’s submission to the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016

Over the past 12 months, stakeholders within the humanitarian community in Ireland have been engaged in the Irish Humanitarian Consultative Process to the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). Discussions on gender, protection and GBV in emergencies have taken place at every stage of the consultation thus far. Of the six thematic areas identified as priorities for Ireland, Systematically integrate protection and gender-based violence initiatives in norms, policy and practice has emerged as a key priority for the Irish humanitarian stakeholders involved in the consultations – the Irish Government, NGOs, academia, diaspora and the private sector. While GBV has not been identified as a key theme for the WHS itself, the Irish humanitarian community feels that the issue demands urgent attention and discussion on how we can better prevent and respond to violence against girls and women in emergencies. The Irish Humanitarian Consultative Process has come up with a series of Recommendations that will be championed in lead up to, and during, next year’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. The Recommendations include building the capacity of local actors on protection and the prevention of GBV, systemically providing training on protection and GBV to civilian and military personnel in UN and regional peacekeeping missions, and integrating GBV prevention and response as a priority at the core of all humanitarian intervention planning.

In addition, the consultative process suggested a number of key undertakings for actors in Ireland to further strengthen GBV initiatives. One undertaking which is being explored further is collaboration between academia, the Irish Government, NGOs and the diaspora in Ireland to develop a centre of excellence around training and research on GBV in emergencies. This would build on some of the work already being undertaken by the Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence and would draw upon international expertise in the field.

3) Policy engagement to increase emphasis on GBV in Ireland’s updated Humanitarian Assistance Policy and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security

Ireland’s updated Humanitarian Assistance Policy was launched on 2nd July 2015 at the Irish Humanitarian Summit. The Policy was updated over the past 12 months to reflect Ireland’s policy priorities, including more robust prioritisation of GBV in emergencies in line with Ireland’s Call to Action commitments.

Over the reporting period, the Irish Government has also been a key member of the Consultative Group to develop Ireland’s second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), which was officially launched in January 2015. This plan, which runs from 2015 to 2018, has an increased focus on the empowerment and participation of women in conflict-resolution and peace-building. The plan is also designed to bolster Ireland’s ongoing work in protection from gender-based violence. Ireland’s first National Action Plan, which ran until 2014, was independently and positively evaluated at the end of 2014.


At the 69th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2014, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, stated: “we intend to make the 21st century a world with no human rights violations against women. Japan will stand at the fore and lead the international community in eliminating sexual violence during conflicts”. Japan recognizes that in order to build more effectively a “peaceful society to ensure women’s participation and undertake a gender perspective to reflect women’s views at all stages of conflict prevention and resolution as well as peace building. We also recognize the importance of preventing violations of women’s rights and protecting women’s rights in conflicts. Japan is strengthening its effort in this area.

1. WAW! In September 2014, Japan held the World Assembly for Women in Tokyo (WAW! Tokyo 2014). WAW! TO DO (A/69/396) outlines recommendations that were discussed at WAW! Tokyo 2014 including strengthening the role of women in peace and security as follows: Document and make accessible the role that women play in peace and security and ensure that resources are available to support such efforts, end cultures of impunity for sexual violence, provide survivor-centered support in peacebuilding and create mechanisms to ensure the empowerment and support of women.

2. The 3rd UN World Conference on DRR and outcome documents

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Sendai City in March 2015. 187 United Nations member states and a total of 150,000 participants from Japan and abroad attended the conference and related events which were the largest-ever UN-related international conference held in Japan (in terms of participating countries). The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” and the “Sendai Declaration” were adopted by consensus. “The promotion of women youth leadership” was included in the new international guiding principle for disaster risk reduction,

3. Contribution to international organizations

(1)In 2015, Japan contributed 2.55 million US dollars to the Office of SRSG Bangura in order to support the Team of Experts’ work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

DRC: Support the consolidation of the implementation of the joint communiqué on addressing sexual violence (1.7million USD)

CAR: Support the Establishment and Strengthening of a Rapid Response Unit within the gendarmerie to Address Sexual Violence (0.85 million USD)

(2) Establishment of UN Women Japan Liaison Office

With the successful conclusion of WAW! Tokyo 2014, the Government of Japan will, once again, host "The World Assembly for Women: WAW! 2015" in Tokyo, which will include sessions such as “Women and Peace Building”(share knowledge and experience of member states; on progress and implementation mechanism of their national action plans; seek measures to prevent GBV, provide adequate support to GBV victims (including men and boys), and end impunity, and ”Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction”(mobilize women’s leadership in disaster risk reduction).

Japan will continue to make steady efforts to end cultures of impunity for sexual violence in conflict and to protect victims, by enhancing its cooperation with relevant international organizations such as UN Women, and the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in close cooperation with relevant Ministries and Agencies as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), is currently drafting Japan's National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and other relevant instruments.


The Netherlands has a good reputation as a champion for equal rights for women and girls as a way to contribute to gender equality worldwide. Within the Dutch foreign policy, the prevention and eradication of violence against women and girls, is one of the main focal points. In order to deal with the complex matter of gender based violence in fragile settings, the NL takes on a comprehensive cross cutting approach in which different departments work closely together in a ‘ Taskforce on Women’s Rights and Gender’ to combat the root causes and devastating consequences of gender based violence. In addition, we have a department on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), which collaborates closely with the Taskforce. Several cross-cutting themes include the prevention of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), female genital mutilation (FGM) and child, early and forced marriages (CEFM). Given the particular vulnerabilities and large-scale needs of these groups, we particularly focus on young people and victims in crises situations, including IDPs.

1. The National Action Plan 1325 (NAP 1325) is a unique cooperation framework between the NL government and more than 50 civil society organizations. Building on UNSCR 1325, special attention is given to increasing female self-reliance and the elimination of violence against women, in particular within conflict affected areas. After the great successes of the last two NAP 1325, the third NAP 1325 (2016 – 2019) will be launched in the beginning of next year.

2. The Dutch Relief Fund has been established for the period of 2014-2017 in which 570 million euros is made available to meet the pressing need for humanitarian aid in an adequate and efficient manner. The Dutch Relief Fund pays attention to vulnerable groups – in particular to women and children - to ensure appropriate measures are taken in order to prevent that they are disproportionately affected by humanitarian crises, natural disasters, and armed conflict.

3. Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) is a fund that has been set up by the NL to improve the position of women and girls in developing countries, including fragile settings. One of the priorities of FLOW is to promote security by combating violence against women and actively involving women in processes of peace, security and reconstruction. In January 2016 the second FLOW program will start, having a budget of 93 million euros for the period between 2016 and 2020. De deadline for applications was August 31 2015.

The humanitarian policy of the NL acknowledges that the usage of a thorough gender analysis is essential in preparedness and response (before, during and after humanitarian crises). The need for gender-specific aid is widely recognized by humanitarian actors. However, the focus on the actual implementation of these gender and SRHR components is often lacking within humanitarian aid operations. Therefore, the NL is determined to hold all the relevant organizations accountable to make sure that organizations practice what they preach.


Combating violence against women and girls is a priority in the Norwegian government’s Action Plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Foreign and Development Policy (first launched June 2013 and revised in June 2015). A gender perspective is included in all humanitarian protection and response activities supported financially by the MFA.

A gender dimension is promoted in policy dialogues with all major national and international humanitarian organisations, including as a mandatory agenda item during annual meetings. The gender dimension is followed up at donor/board meetings of UN agencies and during field visits with humanitarian organisations. Reviews and evaluations have been and will continue to be conducted on how the gender perspective is followed up in practice by Norwegian NGOs and the UN Agencies.

Norway’s top three Call to Action accomplishments during the reporting period. This may relate to work in support of the core commitments in the Call to Action Communiqué and/or specific organizational commitments made when the initiative was originally launched in 2013.

  • UN Consolidated Appeals that receive Norwegian support have to include a gender perspective (have a gender marker of 1 or 2).
  • The Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap) is supported financially by Norway to actively promote better integration of a gender perspective in UN humanitarian assistance. GenCap Advisers can be deployed in the initial stages of sudden-onset emergencies as well as in protracted or recurring humanitarian situations. GenCap is an inter-agency standing committee (IASC) initiative created in 2007 in collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). It seeks to facilitate and strengthen the capacity to promote gender equality programming to ensure that the distinct needs of women, girls, boys and men of all ages, are taken into account in humanitarian action at global, regional, and country levels. The GenCap Support Unit is hosted by OCHA (UN Geneva) and links Senior GenCap Advisers to humanitarian policy development and coordination. NRC acts as employer for GenCap roster members and handles all administrative issues. Gender Capacity Advisers are deployed to support the Humanitarian Coordinator, Humanitarian Country Teams, UN agencies, cluster leads, NGOs and governments.
  • Norway´s new action plan for Women, Peace and Security (2015-2018) was launched in February 2015.

Norway’s top three Call to Action priorities in the coming year that will help advance the overarching principles of Call to Action, its goal and one or more of the objectives identified for the road map.

  • Since 2006 it has been an explicit requirement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that organisations receiving funding for humanitarian assistance include the gender perspective - and especially consider the relevance of Security Council resolution 1325 - in all their activities, and report on this. A checklist specifying what “including a gender perspective” means, has been developed. This requirement has contributed to including a gender perspective in the activities of the relevant organisations, which in turn leads to a greater focus not only on protection issues but more broadly on men´s and women´s roles in society and in pre-emption of SGBV. The reporting aspect of this requirement, e.g. development of indicators, will be further refined.
  • Funding will be earmarked for protection, response and post-conflict humanitarian interventions aimed at reducing GBV and sexual violence.
  • Norway´s new action plan for Women, Peace and Security (2015-2018) lists four national priority areas :

a. peace processes and peace negotiations in which Norway is engaged should involve both women and men, and peace agreements should address the rights, needs and priorities of both women and men;

b. women’s and men’s security, rights and needs are to be taken into account in all aspects of international operations;

c. peacebuilding processes in which Norway is involved should contribute to increase women’s economic and political freedom of action and influence;

d. Norway’s efforts in response to humanitarian crises should safeguard the rights of both women and men and address their needs and priorities.

Preventing and combating sexual violence in conflict is a key element of efforts in all four priority areas. For example, steps to prevent and combat sexual violence are to be integrated into peace processes, and tactical routines for international operations must include protection against sexual violence.


The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an independent, humanitarian, non-profit, non-governmental organisation. NRC’s mandate is to promote and protect the rights of all people who have been forced to flee their countries, or their homes within their countries because of conflict, regardless of their status. This mandate can only be implemented by acknowledging the impact of gender on the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Therefore, NRC is committed to integrate a gender perspective in all aspects of its work in order to respond appropriately to the needs of refugees and internally displaced people and to advocate for their rights. Building on this, NRC has over the last two years increased its focus on gender-based violence via the establishment of several stand-alone GBV projects and the recruitment of a full time Global GBV Adviser with the goal of potentially establishing GBV as a core competency within the organisation in the next 2-3 years.

As per our commitments, NRC has in this reporting period implemented two additional GBV standalone projects. In Gaza, Palestine, with support from UNICEF, NRC has begun a 12-month project that seeks to strengthen the referral pathway as well as improve quality of case management for child protection and GBV cases. This project has been developed closely with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the child protection and SGBV working groups. In Colombia NRC has with the support of SIDA and the UN via Emergency Response Funds, begun GBV prevention activities in the south with newly displaced communities and in the north we are supporting survivors of sexual violence who are in the process of seeking reparations from the government. In addition NRC has scaled up its GBV program in Iraq so as to better meet the needs of Iraqi IDPs. Initiatives include safety audits in transit camps and urban areas of high IDPs, psychosocial counseling and case management via mobile support teams, development of referral pathways and capacity building of new prevention and response actors. We have also accepted to be the co-chair of the national SGBV working group.

In planning for additional stand-alone projects significant investment has been made by the GBV Adviser in increasing knowledge and building support of Country Directors and senior management to recognize and support the need for GBV projects at all stages of conflict and displacement. To this end, country assessments have been conducted in Central African Republic, Iran and Afghanistan, documenting the gaps in GBV prevention and response and opportunities for engagement by NRC.

Following the finalization of the NRC Guidelines on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, the first of several planned country testing trainings has been completed – the first being in Colombia. The tools aim to increase how NRC Education staff and partners better prevent and respond to reports of SEA in education settings. Feedback from the teachers, teacher trainers and mentors as well as government officials who attended the testing in Colombia was very positive. With many reporting knowing about SEA cases in their schools and even more reporting the need to focus on SEA in the wider community. Funding is being sort to continue the testing of these tools so as to ensure suitability and relevance in a range of contexts and geographical settings.

NRCs work in the area of Displaced Women’s Housing Land and Property continued to expand during the reporting period. Research reports have been completed for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon; in Gaza where the HLP needs following the August 2014 conflict were assessed; and in Central African Republic where the research documented the increasing rate of the eviction of widows. Although not specifically GBV in their focus, all reports found that GBV was a critical element that was often both a driver and a result of women’s HLP rights being denied.

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 the reporting period, GenCap had over 40 deployment months dedicated to GBV at regional level to support the humanitarian country teams. Recruitment for GBV expertise continues to be a special focus for the NorCap Roster and recruitment to address reproductive health in emergencies has also been initiated as a new area.

In the coming year NRC will focus on expanding its work on GBV via the establishment of additional GBV projects; documenting the benefits that having a GBV stand-alone project has on other core competencies; and tracking gender mainstreaming efforts.


OCHA as a member of the Call to Action on protection from Gender Based Violence (GBV) in emergencies made commitments in 2013 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.

Between November 2014 and March 2015, OCHA conducted a corporate Participatory Gender Audit (PGA) at the headquarters and select country offices. The aim of the PGA was to inform gender equality including GBV programming in the organization beyond 2015. The main objectives of the PGA were to determine the progress and constraints towards the achievement of gender parity targets and identify workable solutions where there are gaps; analyze the organizational culture for gender sensitive practices and propose corrective actions; and analyze OCHA’s progress, capacities and challenges in translation of programmatic gender commitments to action and provide recommendations. The PGA findings and recommendations are under implementation.

OCHA has enhanced and continues to prioritize global, regional and national advocacy initiatives, with a particular focus on the L3 emergencies and other major protracted crises contexts. This aims at galvanizing collective support by humanitarian stakeholders to address deepened gender inequalities during the crisis and increased risks and occurrence of GBV. This can be evidenced by various key messages as reflected in Security Council briefings, senior management press statements and speeches, country level advocacy initiatives, World Humanitarian Summit messages, news updates for the Secretary – General’s spokesperson and other written contributions delivered by or on behalf of senior humanitarian officials in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and the impact of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria. During the reporting period, there has been heightened use of social media platforms, films, microsites, blogs and targeted online campaigns during global events such as ECOSOC and CSW to highlight gender and GBV challenges and progress in Central Africa Republic, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Syria.

Further, OCHA is working towards strengthening the collection of sex and age disaggregated data and gender analysis. A starting point has been an ongoing review of key frameworks and tools to ensure that differential analysis on the impact and experiences of women, girls, men, boys of different ages and backgrounds forms the basis of information gathering and dissemination. Examples of strategic reviews in 2014 include the review of Central Emergency Response Funds (CERF) and pooled fund guidelines and information management guidelines such as the humanitarian bulletins. Further, through the humanitarian data exchange project (HDX), a platform that aims to make data easy to find and use for analysis, OCHA is proactively encouraging and profiling data from partners that is disaggregated by sex and age and other diversifying factors. This is still an area that is in progress.

On the Humanitarian Program Cycle, there have been continuous efforts to integrate gender and GBV dimensions in the needs assessment tools and guidelines, particularly the MIRA and the Humanitarian Needs Overview. The revision of the MIRA tools was spearheaded by an informal inter-agency reference group chaired by UNICEF and included inputs from the global GenCap advisers and field-based gender/GBV specialists. The revised tools highlight gender and GBV perspectives. The HNO includes specific guidance to guide development of gender responsive humanitarian needs analysis.

In 2014/5, 90% out of already developed ERC-HC Compacts (18) include specific reference to a variety of gender deliverables, including prevention and response to GBV based on the actual country or regional contexts. Other specific deliverables include strengthening the collection and utilization of sex and age disaggregated data and information (SADD), advocacy on gender and GBV, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), implementation of the IASC Gender Marker and broader protection results. A further 23 compacts are yet to be completed.

There will be continued efforts in the coming year to fully implement all the Call to Action commitments. Further, OCHA is part of a partnership with OFDA, USAID, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR and IRC that builds on Call to Action and the joint USAID-State Safe from the Start initiative , both which focus on systemic solutions to improve the timeliness and effectiveness of prevention and response efforts in the medium- to long-term.

This partnership aims to develop and test a basic model for “good response” at the strategic level – one that captures GBV risk reduction as well as specialized GBV response and prevention, and which reinforces the centrality of protection and the critical importance of promoting gender equality across all areas of a response. This will be a priority in the coming year.


Oxfam works in over 92 countries and undertakes VAWG/GBV programming – both through stand-alone projects with explicit objectives to address VAWG/GBV and through cross-cutting projects with VAWG/GBV activities integrated into larger programmes – in over 40 countries, of which about 16 are priority conflict and emergency affected. Close to 100% of these programs work on changing attitudes, norms and behaviors; almost 80% of these programs help support women's rights organizations; approximately 70% do influencing work to change legislation and policy; and just over 50% of Oxfam programs provide support to survivors.

Ending gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women (VAW) is:

• An integral part of Oxfam’s vision to see a safe and just world where women and girls gain power over every aspect of their lives and live free from violence

• Critical to Oxfam’s mission of addressing the root causes of poverty and suffering and

• A key strategic area for attaining its goal of Gender Justice and its broader development objectives.

Goal 2: “Our goal is sustained, widespread changes in attitudes and beliefs about gender power relations in order to further women’s rights and gender justice.”

Oxfam’s Gender Justice Agenda commits the organisation to tackle unequal gendered power relations and therefore underpin and support efforts to end VAW/GBV. Ensuring that women live free from structural and systemic violence is seen as one of the preconditions for a just and equitable world. Reducing the social acceptance and incidence of VAW/GBV has therefore been confirmed as a key plank of Oxfam’s strategic plan (2013-19)[1].

Oxfam’s 2020 Humanitarian Strategy impact statement is that “By 2019 the different impact of conflict and disasters on men and women, and their differing needs, are recognized and addressed by duty bearers and humanitarian organizations, leading to greater gender justice and respect for women’s rights in crisis affected countries.” To contribute to this impact Oxfam is accountable and is investing in embedding gender and women’s rights in humanitarian programming.

The Oxfam VAWG/GBV Knowledge Hub, launched in November 2014, is now in full operation focusing its functions on country level assistance to Oxfam colleagues in order to improve the quality of VAWG/GBV programs, the effectiveness of their influencing, or to increase funding for their work. “GBV in conflict” was one of the issues that country programmes identified as a priority.

Oxfam’s commitment to safe programming has been consolidated in organisational strategy and tools as Oxfam goes through a major change process. This means that all humanitarian responses consider the protection needs of affected communities and specifically identify the risk of various, context-specific types of GBV unless there is clear evidence that it is not taking place (and that situation has not occurred). Protection analyses in the major humanitarian responses of the past year have analyzed the risks of forms of GBV, and their impact and targeting as well as the self-protection and coping strategies used, and the types of responses that Oxfam should consider both immediate preventative and responsive actions well as longer-term to tackle underlying causal factors.

Preventative work includes ensuring design of facilities and implementation of humanitarian responses reduces risk as outlined above. In addition it has now become standard practice for multi-sectoral humanitarian responses to build in simple referral mechanisms and to develop SOPs/train staff and partners to deal with a range of sensitive protection threats including GBV. Work to develop these activities is/has been carried out in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, South Sudan and with refugees in Ethiopia and Uganda, DRC, Mali, Haiti, Dominican Republic, CAR and Burundi responses and is currently being developed in Yemen where Oxfam has just returned and is starting up a new response.

Oxfam has also made progress in our partnership with Womens’ Rights Organisations (WROs). Oxfam is building the capacity of a range of WROs as humanitarian actors that promote women’s rights in disaster preparedness and response. Oxfam has identified partnerships with national women's rights organizations, especially those who can effectively address VAWG/GBV and build their capacity to deliver high quality, gender-sensitive humanitarian responses, participate in international coordination and planning processes, and influence the humanitarian system to be more inclusive of local civil-society actors.

The VAWG/GBV Knowledge Hub is partnering with UNFPA to launch an initiative to help improve Oxfam’s responses to GBV in humanitarian settings. In a first phase, the Oxfam Knowledge Hub will use the revised IASC GBV Guidelines to assess Oxfam’s approaches and responses to GBV in four conflict settings. Using the results of this phase, the project will develop an action framework to strengthen the effectiveness of Oxfam’s responses. In its first phase, it will include a subset of the following countries: Colombia, DRC, Mali, Palestine, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Myanmar and will be broadened as resources allow.

Linked to Oxfam’s commitments to the Call to Action, is its work as part of the Reference Group for the revised GBV Guidelines, headed by the GBV AoR. As part of our responsibilities on the Reference Group, Oxfam will lead and/or coordinate with other INGOs and governments to launch the revised Guidelines (possibly in Canada, Ireland and Australia).


Organizational Mission and your work on GBV Issues

PAI champions policies that make it possible for every woman to have quality reproductive health care. We work with policymakers in Washington D.C., UN agencies, and our network of partners in developing countries to remove the policy barriers between women and the care they need.

PAI believes that every woman has a right to quality reproductive health care, no matter where she lives or how much money she makes. Women and girls living in areas of conflict or crisis are no exception. They have this same right to quality reproductive health care and family planning as anyone else. These women also have the right to live free from sexual and gender-based violence. PAI works to make reproductive health care and the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence a priority during humanitarian crises to ensure that women and girls have access to the lifesaving care that is their right.

Top 3 Call to Action accomplishments during the reporting period

Over the past year PAI has continued to increase our organizational commitment to addressing gender-based violence, in both development and humanitarian settings, and to increasing access to family planning and other reproductive health services during crises.

1. We have worked to raise awareness among US policy makers and the public of the importance of prioritizing and funding gender-based violence prevention and response, including comprehensive post-rape care from the onset of an emergency. This has included advocating with the US Government to ensure funding is available for overall humanitarian budgets, as well as working to protect US contributions to key international agencies working on gender and GBV issues in both development and humanitarian settings, including UNFPA.

2. As part of our ongoing work PAI has increased its participation in the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises. PAI holds a seat on the steering committee of the IAWG and took an active role in helping to organize side events at the IAWG annual meeting. Additionally, PAI has continued to work with the sub-working group on voluntary contraception to emphasize the necessity and life-saving nature of providing contraceptive supplies and services from the start of a conflict and throughout it. We also recently joined the Civil Society Working Group on Women Peace and Security and are an active member of InterAction’s GBV Working Group

3. PAI also continues to engage on advocacy around GBV and women’s empowerment policies broadly. We have strongly advocated for the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) and were pleased to see elements of IVAWA included in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act—ensuring the Department of Defense continues to implement and actively participate in the national strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. Additionally, IVAWA was reintroduced in the House and Senate earlier this year. PAI has also worked to promote women’s empowerment and the elimination of violence against women and girls in the post-2015 agenda, adding our support to letters and statements regarding child marriage, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and GBV.

Top 3 call to action priorities for the year ahead

In the coming year, PAI intends to continue to build upon our portfolio of work on GBV and reproductive health in humanitarian settings. As advocates for women and girls, the Call to Action’s goals of ensuring the relevant policies and systems necessary to address GBV are in place when a crisis hits and that there is accountability within the humanitarian system are critical to us.

1. We will continue to actively engage with other NGOS, international organizations and states throughout the completion of the Call to Action road mapping and implementation processes going forward, as well as on other issues relevant to addressing gender-based violence. Much of this work will be undertaken through our involvement with various coalitions, such as InterAction’s Gender-Based Violence Working Group. We will also continue to participate actively in the IAWG steering committee and will be joining the coalition’s sub-working group on gender-based violence.

2. Given the current fiscal climate in Washington, we expect we will need to continue to advocate with Congress and the administration for increases in vital funds for overall humanitarian response as a whole as well as for other critical gender programming when immediate crises hit. Additionally, we will continue to push for the early prioritization of gender-based violence prevention and response throughout the course of a humanitarian response. To help us accomplish this, PAI will produce a set of new advocacy materials, including policy briefs, infographics and social media pieces, which will lay out the need for GBV prevention and response and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health in crisis settings. These materials can be used in meetings and events to help educate policy makers about these needs and to raise the profile of the issues with the broader American public.

3. PAI is also conducting a research project to examine the relationship between women’s reproductive health access and rights and state peacefulness. This project fits more broadly into women, peace, and security studies sector, and the related notion that a state’s treatment of women serves as a microcosm for its level of peacefulness and propensity for conflict; i.e. states in which women have more rights and are more actively protected from gender-based violence are less likely to be engaged in intra- or inter-state conflict. PAI’s project provides a unique contribution to women, peace, and security rhetoric by focusing solely on examining the relationship between reproductive rights and access to overall state peacefulness.


Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a priority for the Swedish government and a key factor for preventing gender-based violence (GBV) from occurring. During the autumn of 2014, the Swedish government adopted a Feminist Foreign Policy, which entails that a gender perspective should be applied to all foreign policy areas. The overarching objective is to increase global gender equality as well as strengthen the rights of, and empower, women and girls worldwide.

Sweden has also promoted gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the negotiations leading up to the UN Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa and the UN Summit for the Adoption of the post-2015 Development Agenda in New York. Furthermore, Sweden is currently reviewing its National Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. The review process has so far encompassed a series of consultations with relevant stakeholders in Sweden and in five conflict/post-conflict countries, as well as an independent evaluation. One of the aspects covered in the consultations has been how to counter sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

During the spring of 2015 Sweden accepted the request of serving as the next leader of the Call to Action. We are highly committed to advancing the initiative further and look forward to working with partners in realising the Call to Action goal.

Gender equality is one out of three thematic priorities for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Furthermore, addressing GBV is a prioritised area across Sweden’s development cooperation. Sweden is one of the largest donors to, for instance, UN Women and UNFPA as well as the largest donor to UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Sweden regards the mainstreaming of gender concerns throughout humanitarian assistance as key for a needs-based approach and for ensuring the prevention of and response to GBV. Humanitarian assistance must be designed and implemented so that the different needs, capacities and contributions of women, men, girls and boys are taken into account. Failure to do so may result in interventions that are off target, less effective or even inadvertently cause harm. In order to ensure that gender is mainstreamed throughout humanitarian assistance, Sweden has continued to only fund humanitarian projects within the UN response plans that are based on an assessment of the different needs and capacities of women and men. We see the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Gender Marker as an important tool to be used in order to verify that a project is gender-informed. Sweden also works with capacity building, dialogue and quality assurance in order to ensure that gender is mainstreamed systematically throughout programmes and the humanitarian system as a whole.

Sweden provides funding to targeted action aimed at preventing and responding to GBV in emergencies. Priority is given to projects which contribute to the strengthening of the humanitarian system at large. Sweden has, for instance, given multi-year thematic support to UNHCR (2013-2015) for the implementation of their revised SGBV strategy. We have also provided substantial financial support to the Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap) since 2011 and to the Protection Standby Capacity Project (ProCap) since 2005.

Sweden considers GBV Prevention and response to be a core lifesaving activity from the onset of an emergency as well as a key protection concern. We believe that engaging men and boys is crucial in order to successfully prevent GBV.

During 2014 and 2015 the Swedish government has strengthened its commitment to promoting global gender equality and addressing GBV in emergencies. Several steps have been taken at the policy level. In addition to the adoption of a Feminist Foreign Policy, the frameworks and regulations guiding the work of Sida have been revised. For instance, a target of achieving 100 per cent gender mainstreaming throughout Sida’s interventions (both development and humanitarian) was incorporated into Sida’s letters of appropriation in 2015. Moreover, specific goals on gender have been included in the work plan of Sida’s humanitarian unit since 2014. These measures have enabled Sida to strengthen its focus on working with GBV.

A central accomplishment during 2014 and 2015 has been an increase in the level of funding allocated by Sida to GBV programming. Sweden has also continued to systematically request gender and age disaggregated data from our partners, which is a precondition for performing a gender analysis. In addition, we have requested partners to include specific objectives, outcomes or indicators on GBV in their projects and plans submitted for donor funding. Sweden has also strongly encouraged humanitarian stakeholders to integrate and mainstream gender equality throughout humanitarian programmes and to incorporate GBV in cluster response plans, programmes and pooled funds. Furthermore, we have promoted the use of the IASC GBV guidelines and will continue to promote the use of the revised version of the guidelines henceforth.

As the leader of the Call to Action in the coming year, Sweden is committed to advancing the initiative further, with the aim of achieving substantial collective progress towards realising the Call to Action goal.

As one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid in the world, Sweden intends to lead by example and will continue to work strategically with gender mainstreaming and by providing targeted support to GBV prevention and response.


Violence against women is one of the thematic priorities of Switzerland’s foreign policy and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs is actively engaged in the area of women’ rights and global gender issues. Switzerland is implementing a National Action on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2013-2016), which includes action lines on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). Annual implementation reports are submitted to Parliament for oversight. Moreover, in line with Switzerland’s multilateral and operational engagement, SGBV is likely to become a thematic focus area of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Domain of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) for the period of 2017-2020, with an expansion of activities in this regard. Gender aspects are generally being mainstreamed into the work of Swiss international cooperation programmes.

Switzerland’s top Call to Action accomplishments during the reporting period include:

  • The Humanitarian Aid Domain of SDC in spring 2015 decided to suggest to Parliament to make SGBV one of four thematic focus areas for Swiss humanitarian interventions for the years 2017-2020 (the decision of Parliament is still pending).
  • 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.
  • In light of the up-coming 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Switzerland is co-funding a study by the IFRC on GBV in small scale (natural) disasters.
  • In November 2014, Switzerland hosted a donor event for UN Action in Geneva and a public event in Bern on “Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Conflict – a Legacy for Post-Conflict Transformation, Sustainable Development and Peace” with the participation of the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
  • In 2014, Switzerland launched an Action Plan on the protection of children associated with armed forces or groups in armed conflict (which includes a component on the reintegration of victims of sexual violence).
  • SDC has launched a capitalization process of its past and current work on GBV – including in humanitarian contexts - to draw on good practices and lessons learned for more informed GBV programming in the future. The number of GBV-specific projects by the Swiss Humanitarian Domain has increased during the reporting period.
  • Swiss humanitarian personnel, including senior managers, were sensitized to the new IASC GBV Guidelines during a workshop in Switzerland in March 2015.


Addressing GBV in humanitarian contexts is a corporate priority for UNFPA. UNFPA’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan squarely places GBV as one of UNFPA’s primary areas of intervention, both as a stand-alone focus and as an integrated – and critical – element of our work in the areas of: sexual and reproductive health (including commodities security); advancing gender equality; ensuring the rights of adolescent girls; engaging men and boys; and promoting use of high-quality population data to drive evidence-based programmes. Specifically, the Strategic Plan commits UNFPA to ensuring: "Increased capacity to prevent GBV and harmful practices and enable delivery of multi-sectoral services, including in humanitarian settings." Two indicators in particular serve as a first-line accountability structure on this output:

  • Number of countries with GBV prevention, protection and response to integrated national SRH programmes; and
  • Percentage of countries affected by humanitarian crises that have a functioning inter-agency GBV coordination body as a result of UNFPA guidance and leadership

UNFPA investments in the area of addressing gender-based violence in emergencies (GBViE) have resulted in UNFPA leadership or co-leadership of GBV coordination mechanisms in 97% of countries with an active Protection Cluster.[2] 100% of our crisis-affected country offices are staffed with GBV expertise, 67% have stand-alone GBV units and 98% have committed dedicated funding to GBV programming and coordination specific to the emergency response. 63% of our crisis-affected country offices have a multi-year strategy in place to address GBV in the context of the humanitarian response and into the transition to recovery. Importantly, UNFPA’s Executive Director has identified addressing GBViE as one of his four focus areas through the end of his tenure. In support of this announcement, he organized an all-staff meeting specifically dedicated to this issue.

I. Accomplishments

During the reporting period (August 2014 – July 2015), UNFPA achieved the following three major accomplishments, aligned to our Call to Action Commitments:

  1. COMMITMENT: By 2015, 20 priority countries will have contingency plans that address the specific needs of women and girls. 19 UNFPA priority countries have preparedness plans in place that focus on the needs of women and girls (Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, CAR, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Syria, and Turkey). In addition, 24 of UNFPA’s 33 priority countries for humanitarian response have fully incorporated the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) into their national preparedness plans, including targeted support to sexual assault survivors.
  1. COMMITMENT: Increase the number and capacity of UNFPA staff. UNFPA secured five new surge partners (Canadem, the Danish Refugee Committee, RedR, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency), all of which have committed to identifying GBViE-specific experts for deployment. UNFPA has also trained five new SRH in emergencies experts who are available for immediate deployment. UNFPA created two new GBViE posts at HQ to focus on capacity development and information management respectively, and hired a Junior Professional Officer (JPO) to support M&E-focused efforts of our GBViE team. Additionally, UNFPA hired seven new GBViE consultants at HQ, Geneva and Regional Office level to support specific areas of our work. UNFPA is in the process of ensuring a fully-functional GBV AoR Coordination Team at Geneva level, including a P5-level GBV consultant, P2-level AoR support consultant, JPO, and intern, as well as dedicating time from key HQ staff to AoR support in the areas of communications and programme support. Finally, UNFPA continues to ensure that GBViE actions are integrated into the job descriptions of all of our humanitarian-focused staff.
  1. COMMITMENT: On behalf of the GBV Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR) develop a set of GBViE core competencies and a five-year GBV Capacity Development Strategy. UNFPA, as co-chair of the GBV AoR’s Learning Task Team (with the International Medical Corps), led a multi-stakeholder process to define a set of core competencies for GBV coordinators and program managers working in humanitarian contexts. This framework was then used to inform a detailed five-year GBV Capacity Development Strategy that aimed to identify “non-traditional” tactics and opportunities for sustained capacity development beyond traditional one-off training approaches.

II. Near-Term Priorities

In the coming year, UNFPA will prioritize actions around the following three priority areas, in line with our commitments and the Call to Action (CTA) Roadmap:

  1. PRIORITY: Finalize a set of minimum standards for addressing GBV in humanitarian contexts. Since mid-2014, UNPFA has been developing a set of minimum standards to guide our work in the area of addressing GBViE. The standards outline the core actions that will guide how UNFPA staff and partners develop and implement GBV programs. The standards seek to minimize the subjectivity around how UNFPA engages in this area, and set a mechanism for holding our crisis-affected country offices and others in the organization accountable for action. The standards answer the question: “What should UNFPA be doing to address GBV in an emergency?” Aligned with UNFPA internal documents and global guidelines and best practices, the hope is that these standards could provide a platform for development of similar, global standards, in line with CTA Roadmap recommendations. UNFPA expects to “soft launch” the standards at the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV, with a more formal launch in early 2016, most likely during the Commission on the Status of Women.
  1. PRIORITY: Expand GBViE surge capacity. In 2014, UNFPA launched a massive initiative to scale up our internal and external humanitarian surge rosters, including investing in intensive, multi-faceted capacity development. The first surge training was in Amman in June 2014, focused on a broad range of UNFPA profile areas and targeting our internal surge candidates. The second training will take place in September in New York and will have a technical focus on GBViE, targeting surge staff from all six of our surge partners (the five mentioned above plus the Norwegian Refugee Council). The training will focus on developing knowledge of critical tools, including the 2015 GBV Guidelines and UNFPA GBViE Minimum Standards and applying that knowledge through a simulation. Importantly, with support from DFID, surge staff will have the opportunity to be deployed shortly after the training to be mentored by a UNFPA GBV expert in the field where they can apply their new learning. A similarly-structured training will take place in November in Johannesburg focused on UNFPA internal surge staff. In October, a surge training similar to what we did in Amman will take place, focused on the range of humanitarian profile areas and targeting UNFPA staff. In total, by the end of 2015, UNFPA anticipates having training a minimum of 50 new internal and external staff to be deployed as GBViE coordinators, information managers, and program managers to UNFPA country offices. Additionally, the investments that we will make in our external surge partners will benefit the entire humanitarian community, as those staff will be free to deploy to any humanitarian entity with a partnership agreement with their deploying agency.
  1. PRIORITY: Expand the scope of the GBVIMS through promoting new technology platforms, broadening the focus to ensure high-quality services, and supporting complementary efforts between GBVIMS and MARA data management initiatives. In 2014, UNFPA received funding from the Government of Canada for an inter-agency partnership with UNHCR, UNICEF and the IRC to advance a “merged initiative” focused on expanding the scope and reach of the GBVIMS, while promoting high-quality services and case management. Aligned directly to the recommendations of the recently-completed five-year evaluation of the GBVIMS (funded by UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict), the initiative will allow UNFPA and partners to develop a set of globally-endorsed tools for GBV case management, link implementation of those tools to the GBVIMS, and pilot test a new, web-based platform for the GBVIMS that includes a case management/ case tracking component (as part of a broader, UNICEF-led effort called “PRIMERO” to link-up their protection-focused databases). In 2014, funding from UN Action also supported UNFPA to work with the GBVIMS Steering Committee and key UN Action partners (DKPO, OHCHR and DPA) to develop an operational guidance note on the intersections between the GBVIMS and the Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Arrangements (“MARA”). Already pilot-tested in South Sudan in May 2015, implementation of this guidance note will be significantly scaled up in the next year, including through targeted support and field missions.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and other persons of concern. UNHCR works in partnership with governments, regional organizations, and international and non-governmental organizations to safeguard the rights and well-being of persons of concern to UNHCR. Creating safe environments where refugees live, work, attend school, and go about their daily lives is therefore central to UNHCR’s protection mandate.

The Call to Action initiative is an important framework for UNHCR to collaboratively carry out its commitment to preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), one of the most widespread protection risks forcibly displaced persons face. UNHCR’s commitments to the Call to Action initiative can be grouped in four categories: The Right People, The Right Program, The Right Tools and Mechanisms, and Research and Innovation. In this reporting period, UNHCR has made progress against its Call to Action commitments, as well as addressed challenges encountered in carrying forward these commitments.

Top three Call to Action accomplishments

UNHCR’s top three Call to Action accomplishments are: the deployment of Senior Protection Officers (SGBV), the implementation of multi-sectoral projects and the development of the programming for protection learning program. These three components are also part of the Safe from the Start Initiative.

UNHCR provided technical support to ten operations through the deployment of eight Senior Protection Officers (SGBV) to Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iraq, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Greece. Of those eight deployees, two Senior Protection Officers (SGBV) completed their initial deployments and were re-deployed to Congo and Kenya and two completed their assignments. Deployments provided technical expertise in order for UNHCR to effectively respond to SGBV at the onset of emergencies, including the Mediterranean crisis, as well as other emergencies arising out of conflicts and human rights violations in Central African Republic (CAR), Northern Iraq, Pakistan, South Sudan, Syria, and Nigeria. The impact of each deployment is assessed using customized results-based performance evaluations. Ongoing performance evaluations will enable UNHCR to measure achievements in the prevention and response to SGBV in each operation. This results based management approach to monitoring SGBV protection activities moves beyond the collection of lessons learned and good practices and provides an opportunity to determine efficiencies in field-level protection work.

UNHCR has also made progress in implementing multi-sectoral projects addressing SGBV prevention through the use of alternative energy, as well as through access to technology and livelihoods. Afghanistan is developing a women’s’ only community technology access (CTA) space, while Egypt is implementing the livelihood program, ‘The Graduation Model’, to facilitate access to wage employment as well as self-employment for Syrian refugees. Participants include women at risk and survivors of SGBV. Similarly, Burkina Faso and Malaysia are implementing vocational and artisanal training and other skill-building projects that are aimed at economic self-sufficiency and empowerment for survivors and women at risk of SGBV. Chad, Cameroon, and Ghana have made progress in implementing community-based alternative energy projects that will produce biomass briquettes. These operations have set up management committees, secured sites for briquette making, secured key partnerships, and conducted feasibility studies, among other activities. Finally, Uganda has launched a project to scale up community-based protection through neighborhood watch group activities and the use of a ‘pyramid networking strategy’ to encourage youth participation in SGBV prevention. Additional innovative community-engagement efforts in Uganda include community installation of solar street lamps, which can also be used to charge mobile phones.

Development of the programming for protection learning program started in July 2014. The pilot learning program is expected to roll out in early 2016. It will support operations teams to more systematically integrate protection and solutions priorities, including accountability to people of concern, across program design and implementation. A comprehensive study of operational challenges was conducted in 2015 as a baseline for developing learning solutions. Outline design specifications, including the curriculum for the program, are in place and the development of learning modules has started.

Top three Call to Action priorities for UNHCR

UNHCR’s priorities for the upcoming reporting period are:

1. Completing the establishment of an Advisory Group that will address gender, forced displacement, and protection. The Advisory Group will provide a cross-disciplinary forum to advance gender equality, prevent and respond effectively to sexual and gender-based violence, and empower women and girls to assume leadership roles in their communities. The group of visionaries, change-makers and civil society leaders will strategize with UNHCR on developing innovative ways to mitigate protection risks, bolster capacity, and improve protection (reference to objective 2 and 3 of the Call to Action Roadmap).

2. Ensuring the institutional continuity of SGBV expertise gained through Safe from the Start. UNHCR endeavors to absorb the Senior Protection Officer (SGBV) positions in UNHCR’s staffing table in order to continue to benefit from the additional expertise these Senior Protection Officer positions bring. (reference to objective 1 of the Call to Action Roadmap).

Rolling-out UNHCR’s mandatory e-learning course and facilitator’s guide on prevention and response to SGBV. This will go hand in hand with the dissemination of the revised IASC guidelines to provide guidance and tools for UNHCR and partner staff to integrate and implement SGBV prevention and response activities across all levels and sectors of UNHCR operations (reference to objective 2 of the Call to Action Roadmap).


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.

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 Call to Action Commitments Progress to date

UNICEF has made progress toward achieving all of the 10 commitments, particularly in terms of the GBV Guidelines and Coordination Handbook revision process, dignity kits, and development of cross-sectoral operational guidance and monitoring of results (now referred to as the GBViE Programme Resource Pack).. Additional progress will be made during the rest of 2015.

More specifically:

• Developing GBV in emergencies-specific cross-sectoral guidance and tools for programme design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation: Progress: UNICEF has developed a draft of the UNICEF GBViE Programme Resource Pack that will be reviewed by UNICEF staff and partners before the end of 2015.

• Pre-positioning, scaling up and improving guidance and procedures related to Dignity Kits: Progress: The guidance has been finalized and launched throughout UNICEF at the HQ, RO and CO levels. This Guidance has also been integrated into the GBViE Programme Resource Pack along with the programming framework for mitigating adolescent girls’ risk to GBV through economic strengthening.

• The GBV Guidelines: Progress: Through the leadership of UNICEF and UNFPA, the inter-agency guidelines reference is launching the revised GBV Guidelines September 2015. The ensire GBV Guidelines package is now complete with translations in Arabic, French and Spanish forthcoming. A dedicated GBV Guidelines website is under development: and will go live on September 16th along with a large package of complementary launch and roll out materials. A series of global launches will take place over the course of the next 6 months. A baseline survey will also be launched in September.

UNICEF Focus Areas under the Call to Action

Over the course of the next 6 months UNICEF will focus on the following three commitment areas:

• Global launch and roll out of the GBV Guidelines and Coordination Handbook revision processes.

• Finalizing the GBViE Programme Resource Pack, including lessons learned from the Global GBViE Evaluation that UNICEF will conduct starting in October 2015, and initial lessons from the internal strategy to promote prioritization of addressing GBV as lifesaving in emergencies.

• Finalizing the pilot process for the Communities Care social norms and community-based care programme in Somalia and South Sudan, including engaging in a fourth data collection point 6 months post end line.


The Department for International Development (DFID) launched the Call to Action to Protect Women and Girls in Emergencies in November 2013 with Sweden. In addition, violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a pillar of DFID’s Strategic Vision for Women and Girls (along with girls’ education, women and girls’ economic empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights). These sustained policy commitments combined with enhanced capacity and expertise means that DFID has been able to drive continued progress and innovation on addressing VAWG in emergencies.

A. Three Call to Action accomplishments during the reporting period

Between August 2014 and July 2015, DFID has made progress in scaling up programming that addresses VAWG in humanitarian situations, supporting the humanitarian system to increase capacity to address VAWG in emergencies, and building the evidence base on what works to prevent and address VAWG in emergencies.

i) Scaling up programming that addresses VAWG in humanitarian situations

In late 2014, DFID undertook a mapping exercise to measure growth of programing in this area between 2012 and 2014. The mapping showed that DFID has scaled up violence against women and girls programming by 63% with a six-fold increase in humanitarian programmes that address VAWG. This mapping also showed that DFID funding for VAWG-focused programmes increased significantly, from just under £20 million in 2012 to over £131 million in 2014, which includes programming in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

In 2015, programming continued to expand within humanitarian contexts in 2015, including in humanitarian crises in Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Iraq, and Syria.

DFID is supporting the interagency humanitarian system to better respond to the needs of women and girls in crisis through the provision of funding for two Regional Emergency GBV Advisers (REGA) (out of a total of seven) as well as the REGA Manager. Thus far, REGAs have deployed to crises as well as provided capacity building opportunities within their respective regions. All three candidates will be in post by the end of the reporting period.

Through the use of DFID’s Standby Partnership Programme, a mechanism that allows expertise to be seconded into UN agencies to enhance capacity, DFID has provided VAWG capacity to interagency responses. In the reporting period, UNFPA signed Memoranda of Understanding with DFID’s four standby partners for deployment of this capacity. In the first half of 2015, secondees were deployed to Nepal, South Sudan, and Iraq.

DFID has also built the capacity of its advisers who are deployed to humanitarian contexts through inclusion of a VAWG module in new consultant inductions, as well as providing pre-deployment briefings on VAWG to consultants. This builds on our newly developed technical guidance on VAWG in emergencies for our humanitarian advisers. In the reporting period, 36 consultants participated in these briefings/inductions.

DFID provides unearmarked core funding to humanitarian UN agencies, including UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, UNFPA, OCHA, and CERF. Performance against Call to Action commitments is used as an indicator of performance within the logframes that govern these partnerships.

DFID has invested in flagship research initiatives on VAWG, including What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls, a £25m programme that drives innovation and generates much-needed evidence, including in emergency and conflict-affected contexts. During the reporting period, studies got underway in DRC, South Sudan, Kenya, and the Philippines through the development of research protocols and data collection.

In addition, the Creating Opportunities through Mentoring, Parental Involvement and Safe Spaces programme in DRC, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, is a £10 million initiative that by 2017 will measure the impact of interventions on the resilience of adolescent girls in both the prevention of violence as well as support-seeking behaviours if they experience violence. Baseline data collection began in two of the three countries. Programming in Pakistan is in its early stages, with girls and their families displaced by conflicts receiving training, mentorship, and opportunities to enhance social and familial links.

DFID has also announced support to the London School of Economics and Political Science new centre for Women, Peace, and Security that will produce high quality research and evidence and use this to influence policy and practice whilst offering programmes for undergraduate and graduate students.

DFID’s priorities for the coming year include:

The World Humanitarian Summit offers a unique opportunity to improve the lives and dignity of the increasing numbers of people affected by man-made and natural disasters. We think the Summit can deliver important practical changes in the way we address humanitarian crises, including pushing forward implementation of the Call to Action commitments. We want to see these commitments shaping the future of humanitarian action so that in all types of emergencies, assistance targets the specific needs of women and girls. In the lead-up to the Summit in May 2016, DFID will support calls for specific measures taken by the humanitarian system to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to violence and exploitation as well as ensuring that women and girls and gender are integrated into other thematic areas of the Summit. This will include a greater focus on women’s economic empowerment in high risk contexts, a push on the collection and use of disaggregated data, ensuring investments in resilience and post-disaster recovery are responsive to women and girls, and pushing for greater access to education for girls in emergencies.

Building on DFID’s recent focus on building capacity of the humanitarian system, which was an original commitment made under the Call to Action, we will continue to seek opportunities to support training and mentorship to grow the numbers of humanitarians with VAWG knowledge and experience. We will also look to support the development and dissemination of tools to improve the quality of programming, and continue to deploy experts to crises to support interagency responses.

We will continue to build the existing evidence on VAWG in emergencies, including dissemination of findings and recommendations from formal research programmes such as What Works and COMPASS as well as promoting the uptake of findings and recommendations from reviews and evaluations, including the interagency evaluation conducted during the reporting period.


Prevention and response to violence against women is one of the main pillars of UN Women’s work and mission statement. The goals of our strategic framework include women and girls living a life free from violence and peace and security and humanitarian action being shaped by women’s leadership and participation. In emergencies and humanitarian crises, UN Women aims to ensure consistency and sustainability in addressing gender equality concerns across the humanitarian-development continuum, improve awareness, commitment, and capacity, and strengthen partnerships with national entities, civil society, regional institutions and the international humanitarian system. We support the coordination and accountability efforts of humanitarian providers to ensure all responses meet women and girl’s protection, empowerment and service provision needs in humanitarian emergencies. This includes developing capacity for assessments of gender-specific needs in humanitarian responses, helping direct the collective skills and resources of partners to meet women’s immediate survival and safety needs, and building women’s empowerment for the longer-term resilience of communities and sustainability of humanitarian action. In peace and security contexts, UN Women has focused on the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence, as well as working with the justice and security sectors to enhance both prevention and accountability for all forms of gender-based violence against women and girls in conflict-affected settings, including through their participation in UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, the GBV Area of Responsibility, and the Global Focal Points on the Rule of Law.

Promotion of the needs of women and girls in humanitarian action and their empowerment as decision makers in strategic planning and implementation:

In its role as the Secretariat of the IASC’s Gender Reference Group, UN Women develops the widely disseminated Gender Alerts to provide guidance to humanitarian actors on key issues relating to gender-equality and women’s empowerment within a specific humanitarian crisis. This includes the crisis affected population’s needs in terms of VAWG programming, sexual and reproductive health (including MISP), psychosocial services, ensuring equal access to services for women and girls, consideration of the principle of ‘do no harm’ in programme implementation etc. Over the reporting period, UN Women led the development of Gender Alerts for the Ebola Crisis (x 2), Iraq, Nepal and Yemen.

Promote the empowerment of women and girls in the assessment of needs: UN Women - working with the World Bank and the European Union - collaborated with the UNDG Post Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA) Group to develop the Gender Chapter of the training material developed and rolled out for a standardized, uniform approach to assessing the impact of humanitarian disasters. The Chapter provide practical advice to national and international gender experts participating in PDNAs on how to facilitate the identification and integration of gender equality issues across the sectors under assessment across the elements of the PDNA – this includes identifying the potential for heightened risks of violence against women affected by the disaster.

Investigations of sexual and gender-based violence as international crimes: In 2014 alone, UN Women deployed a record number of 23 experts in investigation and documentation of gender-based crimes to support international investigators or prosecutions in 12 different countries (from supporting ICC investigations to international commissions of inquiry). The information gathered by these experts has led directly to building the cases against perpetrators of atrocities against women and girls (for example, the first-time confirmation of all sexual violence charges against Bosco Ntaganda by the ICC was credited by the Prosecutor to our investigator).

Update of the IASC Gender in Humanitarian Action Handbook – To compliment the recently completed update of the IASC GBV Guidelines, UN Women – in partnership with Oxfam – will be updating the 2006 Handbook. The Handbook is intended to provide humanitarian actors with practical field guidance on identifying and addressing the specific humanitarian and protection needs of women, girls, boys and men and to facilitate the empowerment of women and girls in the process.

Update the IASC’s Gender Policy Statement and establish an Accountability Framework – Having done a review of the progress towards the realization of the commitments within the IASC’s 2008 Gender Policy Statement, it became clear that the policy was in urgent need of updating to reflect recent developments such as the Call to Action and that an accountability mechanism is needed to ensure that the IASC’s structures and member agencies are coordinated and consistent in the integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the global humanitarian system. UN Women – as a co-chair and the Secretariat of the IASC’s Gender Reference Group – will take the lead in delivering on this body of work.

Country offices’ uptake and use of globally-developed tools – As part of the local adaptation of three newly launched global flagship programmes on women’s engagement in peace, security, and recovery, crisis response, and disaster preparedness, teams on peace and security, humanitarian action, and ending violence against women will collaborate with regional advisors on peace, security, and humanitarian action to train relevant country offices in all the latest good practice, tools, and programme development guidance on GBV prevention and response, from the IASC GBV Guidelines to new training modules for peacekeepers or investigation and documentation of SGBV as international crimes.


U.S. Support for the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence (Call to Action): The United States commitment to addressing gender-based violence around the world is embodied in the first ever U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally, launched in August 2012 (the U.S. Strategy). The U.S. Strategy, and the accompanying Executive Order, aims to enhance the United States’ longstanding efforts to address gender-based violence (GBV) through its foreign policy, diplomatic, and programming efforts.

In November 2013 the United Kingdom challenged the humanitarian community to strengthen protection from gender based violence when the Call to Action was first initiated. Driven by the U.S. Strategy and as part of its response to the United Kingdom’s call to states and other stakeholders to protect people from GBV in emergencies, the United States launched its Safe from the Start initiative, a joint effort by humanitarian actors in the State Department and USAID to better address and respond to GBV from the very onset of an emergency. The Safe from the Start initiative built upon the United States Government’s longstanding support for GBV prevention and response in humanitarian action, but added focused efforts to ensure comprehensive GBV prevention and response activities in the very onset of an emergency or crisis.

In 2014 the U.S. Government further enhanced its commitment when it assumed leadership of the Call to Action. The Safe from the Start initiative remains the cornerstone of the U.S. commitments to the Call to Action, but in addition to these efforts, the United States has engaged with Call to Action partners, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN and other International Organizations (IOs), to develop a strategic Call to Action Road Map.

U.S. Accomplishments in Support of the Call to Action: The United States’ original commitments to the Call to Action centered on strengthening the international response architecture through service provision, training and improved accountability mechanisms, researching, building an evidence base and establishing best practices, and providing a platform to share information across government, international organization, and non-governmental organization actors.

Since August 2014, the United States has focused its efforts in three key areas which help further these commitments: to develop the Call to Action Roadmap; to maintain funding and support for Safe from the Start programs and projects; and to continue to build strong senior-level support for gender-based violence prevention and response mainstreaming activities among key partners.

Call to Action Road Map: As the Call to Action lead, the United States identified a need for a common strategic vision among Call to Action partners to not only frame current efforts, but to guide future actions and commitments. The Call to Action Road Map, facilitated and coordinated by the Women’s Refugee Commission and in coordination with Call to Action partners, identifies key priority actions which can be taken in the realization of the Call to Action. These will serve as a tool for Call to Action partners to coordinate efforts and measure progress over the next five years, ensuring accountability in achieving the Call to Action goal. The Call to Action Road Map will strengthen the international response architecture, improve accountability, and establish a platform for cooperation – all elements of the original U.S. commitment to the Call to Action.

Safe from the Start Programming: Since last year, the United States has committed more than $17 million in additional funding toward Safe from the Start activities, bringing the total committed funding for Safe from the Start to nearly $40 million since Secretary Kerry launched the initiative in September 2013. Through the Safe from the Start Initiative, the United States has helped partners develop trainings to enhance the technical and surge capacity of GBV practitioners and other humanitarian staff, increased funding to programs with integrated GBV components, and improved accountability mechanisms. The Safe from the Start funding represents a strategic investment in the institutional capacity of key partners, and has expanded the scale and effectiveness of GBV response and prevention during the onset of emergencies.

Strong Commitment, Strong Programs: The U.S. Department of State and USAID continue to reinforce the importance of addressing GBV in humanitarian operations. The United States Government advocacy and policies promote GBV response and prevention activities, and encourage agencies to mainstream GBV risk reduction across all sectors. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and USAID maintain dedicated funding streams for GBV programming, and require partners across other sectors to demonstrate how GBV risks will be addressed through other programs, using both gender analysis and protection analysis.

Together, these accomplishments and institutional commitments supported the United States’ commitments to the Call to Action by ensuring that GBV prevention and response remained at the forefront of emergency response programming.

U.S. Call to Action Priorities for 2015-2016: Over the next year the United States will work closely with Sweden to transition leadership of the Call to Action. The United States will continue to work with other Call to Action partners to identify and support opportunities to operationalize the Road map, including supporting efforts to establish a Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the Call to Action Roadmap. The United States will work to expand the reach and maintain the momentum of the Call to Action, and ensure that gender-based violence prevention and response remains at the forefront of the humanitarian dialogue, including at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit.


The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) works to improve the lives and protect the rights of women, children and youth displaced by conflict and crises. We research their needs, identify solutions and advocate for programs and policies to strengthen their resilience and drive change in humanitarian practice. Since its founding in 1989, the WRC has given particular attention to improving humanitarian policy and practice on gender-based violence in emergencies.

When the Call to Action was launched in 2013, the WRC made two commitments. We pledged to work with NGOs and local civil society to better prepare for and respond to sexual violence and basic reproductive health needs in emergencies as outlined in the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP). The WRC also committed to researching the needs of displaced adolescent girls in non-camp settings.

Over the last year, the WRC has also been privileged to work with the U.S. government as the current lead of Call to Action and other partners to develop a Road Map that will guide the collective effort of Call to Action partners over the next five years.

WRC’s Key Accomplishments

In addition to the WRC’s facilitation of the Road Map development process, the WRC deepened its work on gender-based violence in these areas:

Building Capacity for Disability Inclusion in GBV Programming:

WHO estimates that 15% of any population will be persons with disabilities. However, persons with disabilities are often excluded from programs and services designed to prevent and respond to GBV in humanitarian crises. The WRC and the International Rescue Committee conducted a project to identify barriers to access; pilot and evaluate disability inclusion in GBV programming; and develop a toolkit for GBV practitioners. The findings of our research and the toolkit were released in June, 2015.

Advancing Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Care in Emergencies

The WRC’s reproductive health advocacy has focused this year on promoting the findings of the 2012-2014 Global Evaluation of Reproductive Health in Crises and making the case for urgent action to close the identified gaps. Gaps include comprehensive services for survivors of sexual violence and adolescent reproductive health care.

Recognizing the importance of disaster preparedness, the WRC is supporting the integration of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), including prevention and response to sexual violence, into national- and community-level disaster risk reduction plans. We have produced tools for use at the national and local level, and are compiling good examples of SRH integration at these levels. The WRC is also sharing the learning from a WRC-UNFPA project with women’s organizations in the Philippines on implementing community-based trainings and community-led action plans.

Improving the Protection and Empowerment of Adolescent Girls:

Adolescent girls disproportionately face multiple forms of violence and discrimination, and they are the least likely to have the skills and capacities to safely navigate a crisis. Parties responsible for ensuring girls’ safety and rights in emergencies—parents, communities, governments, the humanitarian community—often do not adequately protect girls from violence and exploitation or create environments in which girls can thrive. Two years ago, the WRC began its Adolescent Girls in Emergencies Project to ensure that rapid assessments and initial decision-making processes incorporate girls’ priorities and consider their particular vulnerabilities. In 2015, we developed and have been piloting various tools, including the I’m Here Approach, which provides humanitarian actors with resources to identify, protect, serve and engage girls from the start of an emergency. In keeping with the WRC’s Call to Action commitment to research the needs of adolescent girls in non-camp settings, we have piloted the I’m Here Approach with Save the Children in Cairo and with Mercy Corps in Gazientep, Turkey, and Northern Iraq. The learning from these pilots will help us further refine the tool for practitioners working in urban, non-camp and camp environments.

In 2014-2015, the WRC also began a multi-year project focused specifically on GBV prevention and response in urban areas. We are looking at multiple urban refugee populations, including girls. The aim of the project is to improve the humanitarian community’s understanding of the risks and the needs of refugees in urban areas and to develop practical guidance and risk mitigation strategies for humanitarian actors and local service providers. In the first year of the project, the WRC conducted research in four cities—Beirut, Delhi, Kampala and Quito. Initial findings will be released later this year.

WRC’s Principal Call to Action Priorities in 2015-16

Supporting Implementation of the Call to Action Road Map: The WRC looks forward to working with other Call to Action partners to support the range of activities that will move the Call to Action collective from the development of the Road Map to the first year of its implementation in 2016.

Developing Practical Guidance and Tools to Address GBV in Urban Areas: In year two of the WRC’s project on GBV prevention and response for refugees in urban areas, the WRC will work with local partners to pilot implementation of the guidance and risk mitigation strategies referenced above. The work will continue in our four target cities, and the pilots will focus on a given population group (e.g., adolescent girls, women, refugees with disabilities, LGBTI persons or boys) whose GBV risks and protection gaps are particularly severe. The WRC will work to connect traditional humanitarian actors on the ground with local community service providers to create pathways for local service delivery. We will provide ongoing technical support and guidance to partners during this pilot phase, and use the learning from the pilots to refine the core guidance and tools as needed. When the project is completed in year three, we hope it will not only improve GBV programming for refugees in urban areas, but also contribute to the development of a more effective humanitarian approach to urban displacement generally.

Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) and Gender-based Violence Prevention: The lack of safe access to cooking fuel in humanitarian settings continues to put women and girls at risk of sexual assault. Six years ago, the WRC, together with UNHCR and the World Food Programme, led the development of Inter-agency Standing Committee Guidance on Save Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings. There are multiple SAFE projects underway globally, but further research and evaluation is needed to determine and document impact. The WRC, UNHCR and the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves are seeking funding to build the evidence base for prioritization and scale up of those SAFE initiatives that are most effective in reducing protection risks.


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 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.

In the course of the reporting period, WFP has advanced on a number of its Call to Action commitments with particular achievements having been made in relation to (i) monitoring of protection concerns in the context of WFP's programmes, (ii) strengthening policy and procedures to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse, and (iii) continuing capacity building efforts in country offices to identify and address protection concerns pertaining to food assistance.

In 2014 WFP introduced an indicator in its corporate monitoring framework allowing all country offices to track safety concerns for people they seeks to assist. Results from this monitoring exercise were gathered in most operations at critical moments of programme implementation providing an overview of country office efforts to address safety concerns in their programmes, including those related to GBV.

WFP has also undertaken significant work to strengthen its policies and procedures to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). In October 2014, WFP issued its first Code of Conduct that specifically outlines the expectations to all WFP staff in their dealings with affected communities, including specifically prohibiting sexual exploitation and abuse. WFP’s Executive Director moreover issued a circular in December 2014 reiterating the Organization’s commitment to zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. This updated circular also includes Terms of Reference for country level PSEA focal points that all WFP country offices and regional bureaux are required to ensure are in place. An eLearning on Prevention of Fraud, Corruption and SEA was finalised in 2014 and is currently being translated into all UN languages. The eLearning will be mandatory for all WFP staff.

WFP has continued its capacity building efforts through training of staff and partners in country offices. Trainings covering protection more broadly and GBV specifically have been held in several country offices bringing the total number of trained partner and WFP staff to more than 4,000. WFP sees its training efforts as a fundamental component of enhancing its ability to identify and respond to protection concerns arising in the context of its programmes.

Going forward WFP plans to further strengthen capacity and expertise on protection within the organization. An informal review of the implementation of WFP's protection policy conducted in 2014 showed that dedicated expertise on protection is critical for ensuring results at the country level. WFP is therefore exploring options for ensuring predictable and consistent internal expertise on protection, including through placement of protection advisors at the regional and country office levels where relevant.

Another aspect of capacity building that will receive attention in the coming period is support for the roll out of the revised IASC Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Action, which will be further strengthened through the implementation of WFP specific guidance on integrating GBV considerations in its programmes.

Continued attention will also be given to enhancing the monitoring capacity of WFP on protection within its programmes through updated guidance and strengthened indicators.

[1]The Oxfam International Statement on GBV/VAW Statement on Support to a Transformative Approach to Ending GBV and VAW, found on p. 27 of Ending Violence Against Women An Oxfam Guide)

The Oxfam Policy Compendium on GBV/VAW, found on p. 28 of Ending Violence Against Women An Oxfam Guide. See also the Ending VAW Guide, p. 4

[2] According to the latest data from the GPC, there are active protection clusters in the following countries: Afghanistan, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, Colombia, DRC, Ethiopia, Iraq, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, oPt, Pacific, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria (includes cross-border Turkey), Ukraine, and Yemen. UNFPA leads or co-leads GBV sub-clusters in all but one of these countries (Cameroon, where the sub-cluster has yet to be established due to lack of partners).

[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.