Engaging with the Referral System as Nutrition Actors: Regional Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Trainings

At Action Against Hunger, we are committed to tackling the root causes of gender inequality and gender-based violence. We know that gender inequality and gender-based violence are both a cause and consequence of hunger and have deep impacts on the lives of the people we work with. Our organization’s dedicated Gender Unit supports our commitment to understand and address gender inequality and gender-based violence by providing tools and training to our teams across the globe.

One way we are doing this is through building the capacity of humanitarian nutrition organizations to understand core concepts around gender-based violence and how to engage with the gender-based violence referral system. In 2019 we have, and are, organizing five regional trainings – “Engaging with the Gender-Based Violence Referral System as Nutrition Actors” – across Asia, East Africa, the Middle East, South America and West Africa.

Through this training, participants explore key questions:

  1. What are the root causes, contributing factors to and consequences of gender-based violence?
  2. How do you provide psychological first aid to those in need in crisis situations?
  3. How does the referral system work for gender-based violence cases and why is it crucial to refer people to the other services they require?

gender inequality and gender-based violence - Action Against Hunger Canada
Action Against Hunger Canada’s GBV Advisor, Veronique Ossohou, facilitating a session during the training in Nepal in April

Participants of these trainings include nutrition staff from Action Against Hunger as well as our regional nutrition partners. As the possible first point of contact for people who are in need of services, participants learn how to identify and decide when or how to provide (or stop providing) help to people based on their situation and context.

gender inequality and gender-based violence - Action Against Hunger Canada
Participants from the training in Uganda in May

“After the arrival of the Rohingya refugees, we are implementing a lot of nutrition activities on the field level, so when I got the chance to attend this training I was very happy. I give thanks to Action Against Hunger because there are many cases of GBV in the implementing area…but there is no guideline to ask how we can manage these [cases] and how we can integrate this GBV referral system within our implementing programs.” – Mohsin Hossain, SARPV, Bangladesh

The trainings are interactive and participatory, involve group work, brainstorming and role play exercises. In one exercise, participants simulate an emergency in which there was a massive flood in a community. This flood has produced a crisis with many survivors, including victims of gender-based violence, requiring support services. The participants take on various roles including as medics, police, firefighters, and volunteers and had to quickly evaluate who they would support and how they would provide this support.

“When I first came to the training, I was excited… after that, I realized all these contents are [very] important in our field and I got all the knowledge that I can share with my organization. I can also do this [training] for the staff in our organization.” – Dr. Ravichandran Nadarajaguru, Red Cross Society, Sri Lanka

gender inequality and gender-based violence - Action Against Hunger Canada
Participants engaged in an emergency simulation on the last day of the training in Nepal

The training is a great opportunity for like-minded humanitarian actors to come together to learn about and discuss issues related to gender-based violence. Participants have been actively engaged throughout the trainings and demonstrated a strong commitment and enthusiasm toward improving their offices’ accountability to gender.

We are excited to carry out this training in other regions and encourage and support fellow humanitarian nutrition actors working to better address gender issues in their programs and organizations.

These trainings are being funded by the United States government Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) through our ongoing project to enhance the accountability of humanitarian nutrition organizations towards gender-based violence and gender equality.