Strengthening GBV Prevention & Response in Urban Humanitarian Contexts: Building Capacity Across Cities

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Nearly 60% of all refugees now live in cities, as camps are increasingly becoming an option of last resort. Although cities afford more opportunities for refugees and their families, they also present a host of new risks of violence. Gender-based violence (GBV) against urban refugees takes different forms—common examples are sexual violence perpetrated by landlords, neighbors, and/or employers. Perpetrators often target refugees because they assume such violence will go unreported, since refugees face many barriers to accessing legal services.

Since 2014, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) has worked with partners to close the evidence gaps around the GBV needs and capacities of different urban refugee sub-populations.
This work has focused on four cities with sizeable refugee populations: Beirut, Quito, Kampala, and Delhi. In response to direct consultations with urban refugees and stakeholders, the WRC developed tools for actors involved in urban response, for the purpose of undertaking urbanspecific GBV risk assessments and building linkages between humanitarian and nonhumanitarian who can contribute to mitigating urban refugees’ risks of GBV. The WRC also worked with local organizations to conduct pilot activities tailored to mitigate the GBV risks of traditionally marginalized groups.

With ongoing support from U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the WRC co-coordinated four workshops in 2017 that brought together local humanitarian and non-humanitarian actors who have a role in mitigating GBV for urban refugees, to share new tools, strategies, case studies, and positive practices for urban GBV prevention. These workshops took place in Quito, Delhi, Beirut, and Kampala, focusing on urban GBV risks and urban GBV prevention and response strategies, and on actively building linkages between humanitarians and non-humanitarian actors to this end.

The primary goals of these workshops were twofold:

1) Share new tools, strategies, case studies, and positive practices for urban GBV prevention and response, based on experiences from different cities.

2) Discuss relevance to the respective context of each individual workshop; facilitate dialogue and information sharing across diverse stakeholders.