This Handbook has been produced by the global Gender-based Violence (GBV) Area of Responsibility Working Group as a quick reference tool for all individuals and agencies involved in GBV programming and coordination in humanitarian/ emergency settings.
The handbook contains practical guidance on leadership roles, key responsibilities and specific actions to be taken when establishing and maintaining a GBV coordination mechanisms in a humanitarian setting. The focus is primarily on work that should be done to scale up coordination from the onset of an emergency (both conflict and natural disasters) but is also relevant to contingency planning and post-emergency stabilization phases. The goal of the handbook is to improve coordination capacity at the field level in order to facilitate access, prompt, confidential and appropriate services for survivors according to a basic set of principles and to put in place mechanisms to prevent GBV. The handbook can also be used as an advocacy tool to educate non-GBV programmers–including UN personnel, government officials, NGO staff and donors–about basic protection responsibilities related to GBV coordination, prevention and response.
This handbook is meant to be a quick-reference tool that provides practical guidance on leadership roles, key responsibilities and specific actions to be taken when establishing and maintaining a GBV coordination mechanism in an emergency.
Who should use this handbook?
This handbook is targeted to all those individuals and agencies involved in GBV coordination activities in humanitarian emergencies, from the community level to the national and international levels. While it may be particularly relevant to GBV Coordinators, it can—and should—be used by many individuals and agencies that are partnering in efforts to develop comprehensive, effective and ethical GBV programming. The handbook can also be used by GBV advocates as a tool to educate UN personnel, government officials and those working for international and local NGOs who may have no prior experience or knowledge of GBV programming and/or their basic protection responsibilities related to GBV coordination and GBV prevention and response. In addition, it can be used by multi-sectoral actors in settings where there are cyclical crises as part of risk reduction and emergency-preparedness planning.
When should this handbook be used?
When we think of responding to a humanitarian emergency—regardless of whether the emergency is the result of conflict or a natural disaster—we usually think of how to react during the initial outbreak. However, literature on emergencies usually considers a much broader time frame, sometimes referring to the phases of an emergency as pre-crisis (before the disaster strikes), crisis(when the disaster strikes), stabilization (when immediate emergency needs have been addressed) and return/recovery (when those who are displaced are returning home and/or the focus is on rebuilding systems and structures and transitioning to development).
How is this Handbook Organized?
As represented in the diagram below, this handbook is organized in colour-coded sections, each of which is comprised of brief ‘information sheets’ that address a particular issue or topic relevant to that section. The information sheets are short summaries meant to provide the minimum amount of information necessary. Wherever possible, the information sheets are supplemented with annexes of practical tools and templates (which can be adapted to different field contexts) as well as references to resources that are available online, with a link to the URL, where you can find more in-depth information about a particular coordination issue or related resource. Many of the information sheets have text boxes that identify Good practices, Lessons learned, and points that are Critical to know and Good to know for anyone developing a coordination mechanism in an emergency setting. Because the content in the information sheets sometimes overlaps, readers are also directed to other information sheets—identified through colour-coded highlighting—for further information.