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Examining Women and Girls’ Safe Spaces (WGSS) in Humanitarian Contexts: Research Findings from Northwest Syria and South Sudan

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Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian contexts represents a global issue of grave concern, disproportionately affecting women and girls. In light of its detrimental impact on the health, well-being and development of survivors, the international community has placed a strong priority on combatting and responding to GBV in all its forms. Women and Girls’ Safe Spaces (WGSS) are among the most widely implemented GBV prevention and response programming interventions globally. In spite of their popularity and potential to increase the well-being, safety, and empowerment of women and girls, there is a lack of rigorous evidence regarding the role of these spaces in the lives of participants. Building an evidence base is particularly crucial in order to understand the impact and effectiveness of WGSS as an intervention and determine ways in which existing programming can be adapted to increase overall quality. In response to the crucial need for evidence around WGSS programming globally, CARE USA conducted a study to examine the effectiveness of WGSS in the lives of women and girls in two conflict-affected settings, Northwest Syria and South Sudan. These locations are particularly relevant for this research as the selected study sites are home to a large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs), and are settings in which women and girls face a significant risk of experiencing GBV. These contexts are also ones in which CARE has existing WGSS interventions in place.