The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings: Focusing on Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence in Emergencies (IASC GBV Guidelines 2005) state that all humanitarian actors must act under the assumption that gender-based violence (GBV) is occurring and constitutes a life-threatening protection issue, regardless of the existence of evidence. Moreover, the IASC GBV Guidelines require humanitarian actors across all sectors to respond to and prevent GBV.
Assessment reports from United Nations agencies, along with a range of NGOs, have repeatedly highlighted risks facing refugee women and girls. A report published by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) (2014) entitled, Are We Listening? Acting on Our Commitments to Women and Girls Affected by the Syrian Conflict, highlighted a significant gap between policy and practice of GBV prevention and response in humanitarian operations responding to the Syrian crisis.
As per a recommendation from this report, in 2015 The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Rescue Committee and the International Medical Corps conducted an evaluation of the humanitarian system’s response to GBV within the context of the Syrian crisis.
The purpose of the evaluation was to examine the extent to which the humanitarian community has implemented the 2005 IASC GBV Guidelines on GBV prevention and response and ensure that such learning informs and improves the effective implementation of similar guidance in both the immediate and longer term future. The outcomes of the evaluation will be used to improve future GBV programming and to inform the regional roll out and implementation process of the 2015 revised IASC GBV Guidelines (Guidelines for Integrating GenderBased Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action: Reducing Risk, Promoting Resilience and Aiding Recovery).
The evaluation conducted in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I), Jordan, Lebanon and Northern Syria focused on evaluating two humanitarian sectors in each country as prioritised by the countries’ GBV/sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) sub-cluster/ working groups. The Health, Shelter, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sectors were evaluated through semi-structured in-depth interviews with respondents representing donor institutions, local and international humanitarian organisations programming in the selected sectors as well as focus group discussions (FGDs) with women, girls, men and boys. The evaluation also included a desk review of key strategic planning and funding documents guiding interventions across the selected sectors.