Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action

Reducing risk, promoting resilience and aiding recovery

UNICEF has started podcast series on GBViE prevention, response, and risk mitigation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in, and stay tuned — more episodes to come!

Episode 1: Providing support to GBV survivors beyond hotlines and mobile phones in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

In this 1st episode of the UNICEF GBViE podcast series, Caroline Masboungi interviews Dorcas Erskine, Senior consultant with UNICEF GBViE team. They talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic affects GBV response services and the capacity of women and girls to reach out for help. As countries across the globe struggle to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns are being raised about the effect of the pandemic on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in all countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dorcas has also drafted a guidance note on GBV service provision during COVID-19 beyond hotlines and mobile phones.

Episode 2: GBV risk mitigation in WASH programming for COVID-19 pandemic

In this episode of the UNICEF GBViE podcast, Caroline Masboungi is discussing with Masumi Yamashina who works as a CP specialist with UNICEF and has been leading GBV risk mitigation across UNICEF-led clusters including Global WASH cluster since 2017. They are talking about how to mitigate risk of GBV and address needs of women and girls in WASH programming in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Armed conflict, natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies can significantly alter a community’s traditional water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices. During an emergency, well-designed WASH programmes and facilities can help to keep affected populations safe from violence. Conversely, WASH programming that is poorly planned and insensitive to gender dynamics in a given social and cultural context can exacerbate risk of exposure to sexual and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV). This is particularly true for women, girls and other at-risk groups,1 who may be disproportionately affected by WASH issues. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, these needs and risks are exacerbated. This episode looks further into how the pandemic affects the needs of women and girls linked to WASH programming and what can be done to mitigate these risks.

Episode 3: Using the power of finance as a tool to prevent and respond to GBV

In this 3rd episode of our UNICEF GBViE podcast, Catherine Poulton from UNICEF and Joy Anderson from Criterion Institute talk about how financial systems can help addressing GBV, looking more specifically at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Finance is one of the most powerful systems on earth, and investment decisions about private and public funds are based on an analysis of risk and return over time. UNICEF and Criterion Institute have been exploring pathways to engage systems of finance in addressing GBV in crises, on how GBV can be understood as material to investment decision-making, including several actions investors can implement now. Criterion Institute and UNICEF have partnered and recently creates a due diligence tool for investors to identify and mitigate the investment risks gender-based violence poses. This was done in response to addressing adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls.

Episode 4: Using Primero/GBVIMS+ for COVID-19 response

In this 4th episode of the UNICEF GBViE podcast, Caroline Masboungi and Elfriede Kormawa from UNICEF discuss with Ayesha Siddiqa Ireen from Relief International in Bangladesh about the use of Primero/GBVIMS+ in the context of the response to COVID-19 pandemic. Primero/GBVIMS+ enables services providers responding to GBV to safely and ethically document information from their service provision. This allows them to stay on track with where they are at in terms of the service provision as well as ensuring accountability towards GBV survivors to remember to follow up on referrals made and action plans developed with the survivor.

Episode 5: Creating Virtual Safe Spaces for women and girls

In this 5th episode of the UNICEF GBViE podcast, Sunita Palekar Joergensen and Zaman Ali Hassan from UNICEF MENA and UNICEF Lebanon are presenting the Virtual Safe Spaces project that UNICEF has been leading on since couple of years.

In GBV programming, safe spaces for women and girls have been established as a key approach of reaching adolescent girls and providing them with  access  to  Sexual and Reproductive Health (SHR)  information,  links  to  services,  skill-building,  peer  connection,  and  support.  Yet, access to  physical  safe  spaces  is  often  limited  for  adolescent  girls  because  of  security  concerns,  gender norms, and domestic responsibilities. UNICEF has been developing a platform to act as a virtual safe space for adolescent girls to access gender-based violence information. The virtual safe space model is designed to facilitate access to information and services in a way that is safe, culturally appropriate and accessible to adolescent girls, particularly those who face higher levels of marginalization, such as girls with disabilities and married girls. This episode is part of the Innovation series of the podcast.

Episode 6: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent girls

In this episode, Caroline Masboungi interviews Merheen Jaswal from IRC and Dorcas Erskine from UNICEF. They talk about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on adolescent girls and how their safety towards GBV has been affected.  Early evidence indicates that COVID-19 pandemic has increased risks of adolescent girls towards GBV. Studies of past disease outbreaks and other humanitarian crisis have shown that without targeted intervention, COVID-19 will heighten pre-existing risks of GBV against girls, hinder their social, economic and educational development and threaten their sexual reproductive health.

Episode 7: Deep dive into UNICEF’s flagship prevention program: Communities Care

In this episode, a panel of UNICEF key staff and partners talk about UNICEF’s flagship prevention program: Communities Care. Communities Care is a community-based model for preventing and responding to sexual violence against girls and women in conflict-affected settings. The program is premised on the idea that while armed conflict causes horrendous suffering for those affected, the disruption it causes may also present an opportunity for positive change in social norms that can contribute to gender equality and decrease gender-based violence (GBV) and discrimination.

Episode 8: Understanding UNICEF’s mandate on GBViE

2019 was a pivotal year for GBViE at UNICEF– our GBViE Operational guide and many tools were released; ED Fore made some bold and clear commitments towards GBViE, adding to the ones we are already familiar with such as the IASC GBV guidelines. In 2020, UNICEF is one of the key actors responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighting its impact on women and girls. In this episode, Cornelius Williams, Associate Director of the Child Protection section and Catherine Poulton who is leading the GBViE portfolio at global level tell us more about UNICEF’s mandate on GBViE.

Episode 9: How UNICEF works with local women's organizations through VOICE

This episode features VOICE’s founder, Mendy Marsh and her team, Kelly Joseph and Chiderah Monde who will discuss alongside Christine Heckman from the partnership between UNICEF and VOICE. VOICE is a global organization with plans to unapologetically create a world where women and girls no longer face discrimination and violence. Where they are respected leaders of humanitarian responses.

Episode 10: GBV Case Management Capacity Building Initiative, voices from the field

In this episode, Virginia Zuco is presenting the GBV case management capacity building initiative that started in 2017 with the development of the Interagency GBV Case Management Guidelines. This initiative has been led by the GBVIMS global team thanks to UNICEF and made possible by funding from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. GBV case management capacity building initiative was born out of pilots in Mali, Nigeria and Somalia. These pilots informed an approach for capacity building that focused on certifying trainers in-country to form national Pools of trainers and providing them funding to in-turn deliver continued trainings in their respective countries. This approached was implemented in 5 countries over the past 2 years: Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, and Yemen. In this episode, key actors who participated in this initiative at field level share their experience.

Episode 11: Adapting service provision for GBV survivors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

In this episode, GBV actors from Bangladesh, Iraq and Mexico explain how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted service provision to GBV survivors and what they did in order to shift their approach to service delivery. Ensuring that women and girls can access GBV support services remains a critical and lifesaving activity. However, in this context, COVID-19 makes it more difficult for GBV service providers to deliver services and to reach the most vulnerable groups.

Episode 12: How UNICEF and partners address risks faced by women and girls caused by the Beirut blast

In this episode, Farah Hammoud and Johanna Eriksson from UNICEF and Ghida Anani from ABAAD, a local NGO working on preventing and responding to GBV present how the Beirut blast and larger Lebanon crisis have impacted women and girls and created additional risks towards GBV. They also explain how they are addressing these risks and responding to GBV as part of the emergency response.

Episode 13: Introducing UNICEF’s Oky Period Tracker app, for girls, by girls

In this episode, Gerda Binder from UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office and Odontuya Altansukh from UNICEF Mongolia talk about an exciting innovation that UNICEF has led: the Oky period tracker app for adolescent girls. To break the taboo of menstruation and to empower girls to manage their periods with confidence and normalcy, UNICEF has developed a period tracker app called Oky. Oky is a mobile phone period tracker app co-created for and by girls in low- and middle-income countries. It was piloted in Indonesia and Mongolia. This fascinating innovation has been girl-driven, developed for girls and by girls.

Episode 14: GBV risk mitigation into Global Nutrition Cluster

In this episode, Masumi Yamashina from the UNICEF GBViE team discusses with Anteneh Dobamo, the Nutrition Cluster Coordinator, Rapid Response Team of the Global Nutrition Cluster who has led GBV risk mitigation into Globa Nutrition Cluster’s work. Gender-based violence and nutrition are strongly related. For example, GBV is one of drivers of malnutrition and gender/power dynamics in the home have major implications on the effectiveness of nutrition interventions and uptake of the services. Nutrition actors target the most vulnerable children and women who are also very vulnerable to GBV. More collaboration between nutrition and GBV actors will have a very positive impact for both sides.

Episode 15: GBV risk mitigation into Global WASH Cluster

In this episode, Masumi Yamashina from the UNICEF GBViE team discusses with Franck Bouvet, Deputy Global WASH Cluster Coordinator about the Global WASH Cluster’s initiatives to integrate GBV into their work. Gender-based violence and WASH have strong relations. For example, the design and structure of WASH facilities have direct impact of safety of women and girls when they access and use WASH facilities. But it also has direct impact of their decision of whether they use them or not. WASH is also one of key sectors that address women and girls’ needs for menstrual health and hygiene.

Episode 16: Making the Invisible Visible: working with unaccompanied and separated girls in Europe

To mark the International Day of the Girl on October 11th, this episode highlights how migration of adolescent girls increases their vulnerability towards GBV. Migration routes are notoriously dangerous for adolescent girls. Many are fleeing violence and abuse or are trafficked, which only increases their vulnerability to violence and exploitation. They face specific risks related to gender-based violence before, during and after migration. Leaving home may not be the escape they hoped for, as they continue to be at risk in countries of transit and arrival when they arrive in Europe. To shed a light on the situation of girls, UNICEF published Analysis on unaccompanied and separated girls titled “Making the Invisible Visible: the identification of unaccompanied and separated girls in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Serbia”. This report highlights how lack of understanding on gender dynamics and needs, and appropriate identification and support systems is making girls ‘invisible’ and thus, hindering their access to rights and services, and leaving them at further risk of abuse, exploitation and violence.

Episode 17: The Interagency Minimum Standards for GBViE programming: Why do they matter?

For the 16 days of activism against GBV, UNICEF and the GBV AoR are campaigning for the Interagency Minimum Standards for GBViE programming. The campaign aims at raising awareness on the Minimum Standards that were released in November 2019 and provide guidelines with clear key actions defining what GBV actors need to do to prevent and respond to GBV. In this episode, Inbal Sansani, Emily Krasnor and Catherine Poulton discuss the Minimum standards, how to define quality and what role do the standards play in GBV programming, amongst other insights and tips on how to implement the standards.

The GBVIMS Steering Committee has put together a series of video shorts and podcasts on remote GBV case management in the context of the COVID-19 response. The series is aimed at supporting GBV caseworkers and supervisors to adapt their service provision in the context of governmental policies imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as movement restrictions, confinement, lockdown or other containment strategies. In many cases, GBV service providing organizations will have to shift their service provision to remote home-based case management over the phone (e.g. hotlines). Such a shift in the modalities of service delivery requires considerable adaptation for different areas of GBV service provision.

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 1: COVID-19, The GBVIMS, and Case Management Data Management and Storage

This podcast episode kicks off a new series dedicated to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The GBVIMS technical team discusses how COVID-19-related restrictions and lockdowns impact the GBVIMS and case management data collection and storage. In addition, we discuss how our new digital platform, Primero/GBVIMS+, can allow service providers to continue delivering lifesaving case management services to GBV survivors. The podcast can be found on SoundCloud:

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 2: Updating referral pathways:

This episode aims to provide practical support to GBV service providers, as well as the interagency GBV coordination body in country (e.g. GBV sub-sector or cluster) to adapt their referral pathways in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The video short can be found here:

and the podcast can be found here:

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 3: Pre-requisites to shift to remote case management over the phone

This episode outlines when to consider remote GBV case management, what you need to shift to remote case management and who should provide it.

The video short can be found here:

and the podcast can be found here:

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 4: Taking a crisis call – what to say and how to say it

This episode covers the guiding principles for taking crisis calls; Profiles of the types of people who will call you and a checklist of things you must have ready before you take a call; How crisis GBV case management on the phone will differ from face to face.

The video short can be found here:

and the podcast can be found here:

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 5: Safety planning with survivors over the phone

This episode presents how safety planning will be conducted over the phone with survivors whose safety is at risk, particularly for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV).

The video short can be found here:

and the podcast can be found here:

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 6: Confidentiality and documentation

When shifting case management services from safe spaces to remote service delivery over the phone, this will have an implication on how to manage confidentiality, and the documentation of GBV cases. This episode presents strategies on how this adaptation can be managed and what organisations need to consider.

The video short can be found here:

and the podcast can be found here:

GBVIMS COVID-19 Series/Episode 7: Remote Supervision and Staff Care

This episode presents strategies on how to adapt supervision and staff care remotely in the context of the COVID-19 response where supervisors are unlikely to be physically present where caseworkers are providing services.

The video short can be found here:

and the podcast can be found here:

In addition to the series, the GBVIMS Steering Committee has drafted a guidance note on Case management, GBVIMS and GBVIMS+ in the context of COVID-19 that can be found here:

If the links to the series and guidance note in French, Arabic and Spanish are not yet available, please stand by as we are working hard to get these online. To access the latest GBVIMS resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit

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