Globally, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.
There is growing recognition that people affected by crises can experience various forms of GBV during conflict, natural disasters and displacement. In these settings, existing support structures and prevention mechanisms are often compromised, while the risk of abuse and violence of all kinds increases, in particular for women and girls.
Despite this, the issue of GBV in emergencies has too often been overlooked during times of crises, or not considered to be a humanitarian need. Despite initiatives over the past ten years to implement GBV programmes in emergencies, the practical difficulties are complex and context specific.
In 2015, we realised the potential for innovation to improve humanitarian GBV was relatively unexplored and there was a lack of evidence as to what works.
We set about exploring this problem, beginning with the first ever GBV Gap Analysis: Opportunities for Innovation. This looked into the primary needs in humanitarian GBV where innovation could best support.
Since then, we’ve created new and targeted innovation approaches to tackle GBV and we’ve included the insights of people affected where appropriate and possible.
We hosted a special event at SVRI Forum 2019, Humanitarian Research & Innovation: Engaging through Elrha. In this informal side event, we discussed various opportunities for collaboration with GBV researchers and innovators interested in engaging further within the humanitarian sector.
Participants had the chance to hear from grant recipients, strategic partners and GBV experts associated with our research and innovation programmes. They also learned about various entry points for engaging with the sector. This included through funding calls, support and guidance for GBV research and innovation, filling evidence gaps in the sector, and connecting with the research, innovation and GBV in emergencies community.
Our HIF’s Technical Working Groups (TWGs) provide a greater depth of technical expertise in the thematic areas we focus on, including innovation for GBV in emergencies. To date, the GBV focus area has been guided by an Advisory Group, but is now ready to transition and formalise its governance structure by building a TWG.
In November, our HIF programme will facilitate this transition to the TWG by convening technical experts who strive to represent the complex needs of innovation for GBV. This will include participants with varied GBV expertise such as: response, risk mitigation, prevention, in addition to gender, empowerment, women’s rights, health and protection. The GBV TWG will help guide and inform this work, from advising on exploratory pieces for the global community of practice, to refining our calls for innovation funding proposals.
Following the convening of the GBV TWG, we will commission a research and scoping exercise that will build on the GBV Gap Analysis: Opportunities for Innovation, published in 2016. This may involve assessing changes that have occurred since in the community of practice and GBV in humanitarian crises agenda, prioritising key areas of need, and/or new opportunities for innovation. The specific terms of reference for this exercise will receive guidance from the GBV TWG. It will be commissioned, conducted and published to inform the global GBV community of practice and fellow humanitarian innovators.
In line with our strategy, our GBV work aims to expand its impact by developing new types of collaboration and partnership. We do this by working closely with global GBV initiatives, humanitarians, researchers and innovators.
We joined the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies in March 2018 as a member of the International Organisations (IO) Working Group to contribute to areas in which research and innovation can make true impact.
In 2019, we joined the IDIA‘s Gender & Innovation Working Group (GIWG) which convenes key actors working to address GBV across the development-humanitarian spectrum. We look forward to supporting the GIWG’s scoping, surfacing, curating and scaling activities. This work will address some of the institutional barriers that are currently hindering the achievement of scaling innovation to address GBV.
In May 2019, we worked together with VOICE on a rapid review of disability and older age inclusion in humanitarian GBV interventions. The rapid review collected qualitative data through a range of methodologies. This included a desk review of formal and grey literature such as programme documentation, and informant interviews with key stakeholders. A total of 26 projects were included in the review, which captures current practice, persistent gaps and key opportunities to strengthen GBV programming.
We know that GBV (gender-based violence) is a widespread issue stemming from gender inequality, and that it occurs- and is often exacerbated- in humanitarian contexts. Despite this, efforts to end GBV in emergencies are underfunded and it is a constant challenge to tackle this complex violation of human rights. That's why I'm extremely proud that we contribute to addressing GBV through both our research and innovation programmes. I'm passionate about exploring how innovation can bring new and improved solutions for women and girls, survivors, practitioners, and the global community of practice, and how we can contribute to ending GBV by building an evidence base to support best practices and to ultimately prioritise GBV as a critical humanitarian issue.
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