Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:NGOs

As part of the primary research for the State of the World’s Girls 2013 report,[1] Plan conducted an online survey of humanitarian practitioners and decision-makers. The purpose of the survey was to provide an indication of what is actually happening in humanitarian response settings, with specific reference to adolescent girls. Respondents were asked to express their opinions of present practice and how it might be improved. The survey findings provide an illuminating insight into how response interventions are failing adolescent girls affected by disasters. They also provide an opportunity for practitioners to share practical suggestions for how different sectors can…
Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), whilst not the root cause of violence, can exacerbate the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. Men and boys, people of other gender or sexual identities or other marginalised groups can also sometimes be at risk. As WASH practitioners working in humanitarian and development contexts, we are often aware of the anecdotal but regular examples of incidents of violence in relation to WASH. However, we often do not appreciate the scale of the problem, why it happens or what, if anything, we can or should do about it. In order to…
Sexual violence is an appalling violation of moral codes and international law which occurs in practically all situations of armed conflict and sustained violence. It is an abuse that has severe physical and psychological consequences for the individual, first and foremost, as well as the capacity to tear societies and communities apart. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence across the world, including victims of sexual abuse. In recent years, the ICRC has extended and improved what it is able to do for victims of…
A woman arrives at a health centre somewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was raped a few days ago. She does not feel well, she has pelvic pain and she fears she might be pregnant. While admitting her, the consultant asks her a series of questions: Where are you from? What religion are you? What ethnic group do you belong to? What do you do for a living? Do you have any children? Are you married? What happened? When? How? Who did it? What ethnic group did they belong to? How many of them were there? Can…
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pervasive risk that cuts across continents and contexts. Programming to respond to GBV saves lives and mitigates the debilitating consequences of violence. Yet such programming – and funding to support it – remains a secondary priority in humanitarian crises and development contexts. The dearth of responses is often attributed to a lack of evidence that GBV is occurring. Despite decades of research that points to the pervasiveness of GBV, prevalence or incidence data has become a near-requirement to demonstrate that GBV is on a scale that merits funding and action. However, on its own prevalence…
Emergencies occur against a backdrop of pre-existing gender inequality. From Darfur to New Orleans, such inequality is exacerbated as any existing systems and structures to protect women and girls are changed, weakened or destroyed, when fighting breaks out or a hurricane hits. This creates specific risks that the humanitarian community cannot ignore – risks that disproportionately affect women and girls. Gender-based violence (GBV) programming in emergencies aims to meet the immediate, lifesaving needs of women and girls while laying the groundwork for survivors of such violence, their families and their communities to recover. Failing to include GBV-specific programming in emergency…
International concern over genderbased violence (GBV) has increased considerably in recent years, and the international humanitarian response to GBV in populations affected by armed conflict, disaster and displacement has also grown exponentially over the past decade. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, for example, the UK government announced a £21.6 million aid package to protect women and girls from sexual violence.[1] At the same time, however, there remains a lack of data on and understanding of good practice in relation to GBV programming in humanitarian contexts, and a lack of consensus on how to apply GBV concepts…
In mid-2012, 18 months into the crisis in Syria, most actors agreed that the picture of the humanitarian situation was incoherent and fragmented: displacement flows, the scope and depth of humanitarian needs and the longer-term impact on infrastructure and livelihoods were largely unknown. Much of the problem revolved around the sensitivities associated with gathering and sharing information on the affected population and restricted access to the field. In neighbouring countries hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees, responses diverged and were not based on a coordinated and harmonised needs analysis. The Syria Needs Analysis Project (SNAP) was established in December 2012…
The Syrian civil war has created one of the largest and most intense episodes of human suffering of the early twenty-first century. The uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which began in March 2011, was widely recognised as part of the ‘Arab Spring’ that saw popular uprisings against dictatorships in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. When the rebellion began it was limited to relatively small, local skirmishes, but as the fighting has intensified so the numbers of internally displaced people and refugees have risen sharply. Turkey, which shares a 900-kilometre border with Syria, began receiving refugees in small numbers in…
Islamic Relief is one of the few humanitarian organisations working cross-border to deliver aid in response to the deepening crisis in Syria. The conflict in the country has killed tens of thousands of people, and has driven over 1.5 million across its borders. For those still inside the country, needs are increasingly acute as conditions continue to deteriorate. It is estimated that over six million people are in need inside Syria. Islamic Relief staff have seen for themselves the horrific situation inside Syria. Millions are thought to be in dire need of food, water and sanitation. In the countries that…
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