GenCap: A Resource for Gender Equality Programming

Who we are

The Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap) is an Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) initiative launched in 2007 with the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The GenCap Project seeks to strengthen capacity and leadership of humanitarian actors to undertake gender equality programming, which ensures the distinct needs of women, girls, boys and men of all ages in humanitarian action at global, regional, and country levels.

GenCap Advisers are deployed to support Humanitarian Coordinators, Humanitarian Country Teams, UN agencies and engage with cluster leads, NGOs and governments.

GenCap Advisers can be deployed in the initial stages of sudden-onset emergencies as well as in protracted or recurring humanitarian situations.

What we do

GenCap Advisers support the strategic and operational response of agencies in applying gender equality programming in humanitarian action.

GenCap’s vision is to ensure that women, girls, boys and men of all ages and backgrounds, affected by natural disasters or conflict, are able to access humanitarian assistance and protection that cater to their distinct needs and experiences.

What support can the GenCap Adviser provide?

  • Support, advise and strengthen coordination mechanisms for gender mainstreaming and gender-equality programming in humanitarian operations.

  • Build Gender capacity through trainings at headquarters, regional and country-level.

  • Support Global Cluster Leads and inter-cluster coordination mechanisms by strengthening gender within the cluster approach as well as other strategic humanitarian processes.

  • Regional support for gender and disaster preparedness as well as contingency planning.

  • Support the IASC Gender & Age Marker within the Humanitarian Programme Cycle framework to make gender programming more efficient.

  • Provide expertise on Gender-based violence through the GBV Window of GenCap.

The GenCap Adviser’s Added Value

  • Gender Advisers act as an inter-agency support for technical expertise in gender equality programming in humanitarian action.

  • GenCap Advisers act as catalysts for ensuring that humanitarian actors take into account distinct needs and capabilities of women, girls, boys and men, critical to the quality of humanitarian action.

  • GenCap Advisers support sector/ cluster working groups on mainstreaming gender into contingency plans, assessments, monitoring and implementation.

  • GenCap Advisers support the IASC Gender Reference Group and global policy developments on gender.

How to request a GenCap Adviser?

  • Following consultation with Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs), a written request with ToRs is submitted. Deployments are normally 6 to 12 months.

  • The request is submitted to the GenCap Support Unit and reviewed by the Inter-Agency GenCap Steering Committee.

  • The GenCap project covers salary, Daily Subsistence Allowance, insurance, and travel to the duty station. NRC is responsible for administrative and logistics aspects of the deployment.

  • Hosting agencies are responsible for daily supervision, security arrangements, office space and equipment, and in-country travel. Two or more agencies can agree to share costs.

  • All UN entities with a MoU with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) can make a request.


In 2016, GenCap deployed 24 Senior Gender Advisers to 21 field locations at country and regional level, including to L3-declared crises in Iraq and Yemen. GenCap advisers in Jordan (Syria crisis), Cameroon, Fiji, and Yemen supported Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) to implement gender sensitive humanitarian programming. Three senior advisers also supported global policy-development processes on gender mainstreaming.

GenCap advisers also provided technical support to humanitarian partners on gender analysis; gender capacity strengthening; gender equality programming; and, gender mainstreaming. In particular, GenCap established an ad-interim Inter-Agency Gender Task Force in Sudan; and advocated for the collection and analysis of the Sex and Age Disaggregated Data (SADD) across all sectors/clusters to revamp the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in Myanmar.'

At a regional level, GenCap deployed to Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and West Africa. An adviser was also deployed to the Regional Office for Southern and Eastern Africa to support humanitarian partners in incorporating gender dimensions into humanitarian response, including phases of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle.

At the global level, GenCap provided expertise in piloting the new IASC Gender and Age Marker (GAM) tool, with testing of the tool taking place in CAR, Jordan, DRC and Myanmar later in the year.

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