Engaging armed non-State actors (ANSA) on GBV

Organisation: Geneva Call

Partners: Mensch; Promundo; Danielle Spencer (independent); Rama Mani (independent); Swedish Red Cross; Sante fe Institute

Type of grant: GBV

Status: Completed

  • Training session on the prohibition of sexual violence for combatants of an armed group operating in Iraq. November 2015 @Geneva Call

  • Ideation workshop led by MENSCH


Geneva Call developed innovative methodologies to prevent GBV committed by ANSAs and strengthen existing good practices. Rather than focussing only on legal obligations of ANSAs, incentives for compliance, positive role models and active bystanders will impact attitudes and behaviours of ANSAs

What humanitarian need?

In the Secretary General’s Annual Report on Conflict Related Sexual Violence, 35 of the 45 listed perpetrators are ANSAs. However, few initiatives in conflict settings work on prevention by systematically engaging potential perpetrators and even less is done to ensure that ANSAs know of and have the capacity to implement their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) as concerns GBV. Geneva Call directly engages over 30 ANSAs on this topic, which offers a unique opportunity to improve compliance and reduce GBV in areas controlled by ANSAs.

What is the innovative solution?

To have greater impact on the behaviour of the groups, Geneva Call will shift from a legalistic training approach to using innovative methods that aim at influencing ANSAs attitudes towards GBV. By disseminating good practices amongst ANSA members, by “rewarding” positive actions taken by a group and by developing positive role models and active bystanders, Geneva Call aims at creating positive incentives for compliance with the international norms on GBV – not only for the leadership, but also amongst members. This will address a gap in humanitarian practice, which strongly focuses on the medical, psychological, and legal support to the survivors, on accountability and advocacy but less on prevention by systematic engagement with potential perpetrators.

What are the expected outcomes?

After developing one or more of the above mentioned ideas on how to create incentives for compliance, the developed methodology and material will be tested in pilot projects, adapted and then reproduced in various contexts. As each context and group is very different, the methodologies which were developed may have to be adapted and some by be used only in certain situations.


Elrha is hosted by Save the Children, a registered charity in England and Wales (213890) and Scotland (SC039570).

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