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I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies - Approach and tools for improved response

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Abstract

I’m Here: Adolescent Girls in Emergencies is a resource for emergency response staff. It outlines an operational approach and recommendations that can help humanitarian sectors be more accountable to adolescent girls from the start of an emergency.

Description

When humanitarian system responds to a crisis, the “starting line” is not the same for everyone affected by the disaster. Yet a pervasive belief exists within the humanitarian community that the days immediately after an emergency are not a reasonable time for nuanced delivery of lifesaving information and services. Emergency responses are, by default, somewhat generic.

Adolescent girls—who account for an increasing proportion of displaced persons—are at a comparative disadvantage before, during and after crises. The risks in these contexts—rape, abuse, early marriage and abduction—are greater for adolescent girls compared to other population groups. When humanitarian actors do not collectively account for adolescent girls, then humanitarian sectors can constrict girls’ abilities to safely access life-saving information, services and resources.

Proactive action is not solely about reducing adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities and mitigating their risks, but also about ensuring that relief operations link girls to resources and harness their capacity to support aid delivery and recovery efforts.

This reports' key rationale, findings and recommendations are based on a literature scan, expert interviews, and a field assessment and pilot testing of mobile-based tools in South Sudan.

Key findings include:

  • Adolescent girls are rarely consulted in emergency relief operations.
  • Practitioners’ awareness about adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities and needs differs across humanitarian sectors.
  • There is a lack of clarity about which operational decisions having the most impact on girls.
  • Emergency responses do not necessarily account for how girls' routines, roles and assets shape their abilities to safely access vital resources.

I’m Here Approach

This is an approach to safely link adolescent girls to life-saving information, services and resources from the start of an emergency. Its aim is to advance operational results and to support more responsive and accountable humanitarian action that safely meets adolescent girls’ needs, engages them in emergency response and ensures their rights from the onset of an emergency through recovery.

Key compontents of the I’m Here Approach

Identify the specific crisis-affected community
Make visible the context-specific profile of girls

Hold group meetings with adolescent girls
Elaborate specific plans
Rally support across humanitarian sectors and with local actors
Engage the capacity of adolescent girls

With this approach, humanitarian actors can:

  1. Identify girls and their vulnerabilities (Girl Roster tool)
  2. Identify their priority needs and risks (Girl Roster tool and participatory consultations)
  3. Collate and analyze findings to inform programming (eGAIM).

The Girl Roster

The Girl Roster enables emergency actors from any sector to rapidly identify the specific profile of adolescent girls in the emergency setting and to safely connect adolescent girls to information and services. The Girl Roster also generates a service-area mapping image. For focus group discussions, the approach relies on the Participatory Ranking Methodology (PRM).

Emergency Girl Analysis Integration Matrix (eGAIM)

The eGAIM helps humanitarian actors determine how results from the Girl Roster, focus group discussions and secondary data sources will be mainstreamed and integrated into emergency response design, implementation and evaluation. The eGAIM informs the planning and implementation of emergency programming by supporting technical staff to outline adolescent girls’ vulnerabilities and needs; answer key girl analysis questions; and determine how to incorporate these considerations into their work.