How we’re working to end gender-based violence in emergencies

Working to end gender-based violence - Action Against Hunger

Danny Glenwright at the virtual roundtable side event – United Nations General Assembly 2020

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is both a cause and a consequence of hunger. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated GBV and its effects in many ways – from girls being pushed into early marriage or sex work so they have food to eat, to an increase in domestic violence as a result of lockdowns.

Since 2018, Action Against Hunger has been a proud member of the multi-stakeholder initiative Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies. The project launched its 2021-2025 roadmap last week at a high-level side event to the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. It sought to identify how stakeholders such as governments and NGOs can collectively reach the Call to Action goal of driving change and fostering accountability within the humanitarian sphere. Each humanitarian initiative – from treating malnourished babies in hospitals to building water systems to make communities more resilient to drought – should incorporate the policies, systems and mechanisms necessary to provide safe and comprehensive services to those affected by GBV. We must also work in everything we do to prevent GBV and to mitigate the risks it poses everywhere we work, especially violence against women and girls.

Action Against Hunger Executive Director Danny Glenwright shared our vision of how to address this critical issue and meet the Call to Action goals.

First, we need to strengthen collaboration between humanitarian actors and involve local communities every step of the way when responding to emergencies. We have developed strong partnerships and alliances for humanitarian assistance, and we must do the same for protection from gender-based violence. Aid agencies, community organizations and governments at every level all have a role to play.

Next, we need to advocate for political solutions to the emergencies the world is facing – emergencies related to conflict and climate. As former UNHCR chief Sadako Ogata once said, “There are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems.” We must push policymakers to prioritize gender-responsive budgeting and women’s economic empowerment.

Finally, we must address the often-unnamed root causes of gender inequality – power, privilege, and patriarchy. These are the three enemies that suppress women’s rights and full equality. We also need more women in leadership to achieve our humanitarian and development goals.

Watch the video below:


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