The United States today launched Safe from the Start ReVisioned, an initiative that focuses on improving and expanding protection services for women and girls from the onset of every conflict or disaster. As conflicts and disasters exacerbate conditions of inequality, they uniquely impact women and girls. Support systems that are supposed to keep them safe – such as families, communities, and governments – can fall apart in emergencies, drastically increasing the risks of gender-based violence and making it hard to find desperately needed services, such as medical care, social workers, and counselors.
Safe from the Start ReVisioned demonstrates the United States’ commitment to advance a gender-transformative approach in humanitarian response. This initiative promotes women’s leadership and prioritizes support and advocacy for gender-based violence prevention and survivor-centered response programming. It also shifts funding, influence, and decision-making power to women and girls within humanitarian response systems.
The overarching goal of this initiative is to better prevent and respond to gender-based violence risks that are magnified in emergencies, such as intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and child, early, and forced marriage. To do so, it calls on the global community to improve conventional humanitarian responses by placing women and girls at the center of these efforts as leaders and key stakeholders.
The original Safe from the Start initiative, launched in 2013, helped draw global attention to gender-based violence programming as an essential, life-saving intervention from the onset of every humanitarian response. The United States provided more than $25 million in funding towards Safe from the Start through the joint efforts of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of State in Fiscal Year 2022, building on top of more than $167 million from 2013 to 2021 to strengthen support for survivors in emergencies.
In early 2021, USAID and the Department of State reflected on the significant progress made by Safe from the Start and developed a more ambitious framework. The result, Safe from the Start ReVisioned, is a bold step forward. While Safe from the Start contributed to significant progress, the humanitarian system still does not consistently prioritize or resource gender-based violence programming as an essential immediate response to all emergencies. Safe from the Start ReVisioned builds on the success of the original initiative and outlines new, more ambitious goals to realize a systematic shift in humanitarian response architecture centered around women and girls.
Through this updated initiative, the United States recommits to leading the global community in responding to the needs of women and girls, in all their diversity, from the very start of every conflict or disaster.