Prevention and Response to Violence Against Women and Girls in Emergencies: Accountability and Adherence to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Gender-Based Violence Guidelines in the Response to Typhoon Haiyan

This study, conducted as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls research program, used the 2005 Inter-Agency Standing Committee Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Guidelines as a tool to understand how the humanitarian sector met the needs of women and girls in the Philippines;  specifically looking at how prevention and mitigation of violence against women and girls were carried out in the early phase of the emergency response and investigating the effectiveness of deploying GBV experts to assist violence against women and girls mainstreaming in the humanitarian response. A document review was carried out along with semi-structured interviews with GBV experts and  local and international humanitarian responders, including local women’s groups. The research found that the specific needs of women and girls and their risks to GBV were not consistently taken into account across the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan. Violence against women and girls prevention and mitigation activities were considered to be a secondary concern rather than a life-saving priority for women, girls, and communities.  

Additionally, understanding and interpretation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee GBV Guidelines varied, resulting in inconsistent application  and monitoring. Key barriers to implementation included lack of awareness and training, lack of accountability, and perceived lack of funding. While GBV experts strengthened the response, they were unable to sufficiently influence the wider humanitarian response overall.

The Airbel Impact Lab at IRC is a team of researchers, strategists and innovators committed to the accelerated design, rigorous evaluation and cost-effective scaling of the most impactful solutions supporting people affected by crisis.