This guidance note is primarily aimed at ECW Secretariat staff and FERs and MYRPs country teams to provide guidance to country teams on the operationalization of ECW’s commitment to integrate GBV risk mitigation measures in all ECW supported investments (FERs and particularly MYRPs) so that the risks of GBV in accessing education services are identified and addressed in order to increase women and girls´ safety and subsequently increase girls´ access, retention, and completion of their education with better learning outcomes.
Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive human rights violations across the world. Globally, one in three women and girls will experience a form of GBV in their lifetime be it sexual violence, physical violence, or child marriage1. During conflicts and humanitarian crises, GBV risks are exacerbated— increasing the challenges already faced affected communities.
Girls and women are disproportionately affected by the impact of emergencies on education. Families may prioritize boys’ education, choosing not to pay for girls’ school fees, uniforms and other supplies as a result of the economic impact of conflict, crisis, or forced displacement. This can heighten the risk of sexual exploitation when girls, particularly adolescent girls, are pressured to exchange sex for school fees. At the same time, emergencies can create new risks for girls due to distance to access learning spaces and the risks they can encounter on the road or lack of safe and gender segregated WASH facilities. This, in turn, encourages families to keep their girls out of school and even to marry them off as children to reduce the risk of gender-based violence in and around schools.
As highlighted in the IASC GBV Guidelines (2015)2, better-designed education programmes can help mitigate such risks—not only keeping girls and women safer and supporting them when they have been victimized by gender-based violence, but also providing them with the skills and knowledge to improve their own lives.