Building Local, Thinking Global - Women Leading the GBV Emergency Response

Lena Minchew
Nov 20, 2018 · 4 min read

Women’s movements make change happen. Sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly, and often without the support they need, women’s movements tell global actors what we need to pay attention to, and what women want and need. One of the areas of work that women’s movements have been calling attention to is gender based violence (GBV) in emergencies. GBV is both a human rights and public health issue, threatening the lives and well-being of women and girls, as well as their families and communities. GBV increases during emergencies and is also a barrier to peace, security and development.

The Building Local, Thinking Global Initiative (BLTG), funded by the U.S. State Department and implemented by the International Rescue Committee, recognizes the legitimacy and the leadership role of local women’s rights organizations and networks as first responders, rights holders and change-makers, and aims to promote transformative women’s leadership in emergency preparedness and response specific to GBV.

To support these vital front line responders, BLTG held three regional GBV Emergency Preparedness and Response Training of Trainers (ToT) courses in East Africa, Middle East and South East Asia in April, July and September 2018 respectively. The 10 day ToT course includes both technical and operational modules to support local organizations working on GBV response, prevention, coordination and/or advocacy. By the end of September 2018, BLTG had worked with a pool of 59 technical trainers on GBV Emergency Preparedness and Response (GBV EPR).

So what did the 59 participants have to say about the courses?

“I will be sharing this knowledge with members of my networks who are responding to GBV and support women and girls in emergency. I will use best practices, methods of GBV programing and make effective advocacy to stakeholders and humanitarian sectors for the best emergency GBV intervention”- South East Asia Regional GBV EPR ToT Participants

“The GBV EPR ToT has best informed our program design; we need to onboard our senior management and decision maker in our context. Our networking and solidarity by coming together will benefit women and girls suffering from Gender Based Violence” — South East Asia Regional GBV EPR ToT Participants

“I have learned from GBV actors from different countries, tools, materials and space for learning and practice will support us to best address GBV in Emergencies” - Middle East Regional GBV EPR ToT Participants

“I will serve as a resource technical pool for GBV EPR training in my network and local operational context. All GBV service providers must be trained to enable them to adapt their existing GBV services to emergency contexts.” — South East Asia Regional GBV EPR ToT Participants

And what did the course facilitators learn?

“I’ve learnt about the importance of setting aside resources so women-led CSOs in the global GBV response can come together to network, learn, and connect with each other to improve emergency response services for women, girls, and survivors of GBV.” — Patricia Gray, Technical Advisor, IRC Women’s Protection and Empowerment Program

What is Building Local Thinking Global?

Building Local, Thinking Global brings together feminist, women’s rights organizations, activists, academics, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, and regional civil society networks with the aim of harnessing collective power within the humanitarian community to ensure women and girls are protected from GBV in emergencies. The coalition of networks and organizations leading BLTG includes Akina Mama wa Africa, GBV Prevention Network, Gender Equality Network, Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, International Rescue Committee, El-Karama, and the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. The BLTG project started in September 2017 and is a Gift of the United States Government and funded the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration — US Department of State.

This piece was written in collaboration with Jennate Eoomkham, Emergency Preparedness Specialist, Violence Prevention and Response Unit, International Rescue Committee.

Lena Minchew

Written by

I like the places I go, not the planes I use to get there. Women’s rights is my passion and my job, which is handy for getting out of bed in the morning.

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