Humanitarian Settings

An estimated 67 million women and girls are in need of humanitarian assistance. Impacted by conflict, violence and natural disasters, women and girls in emergencies are at heightened risk of gender-based violence and trafficking, unintended pregnancy, maternal morbidity and mortality, unsafe abortions, and child, early and forced marriage. Despite the immediate, long-term and largely preventable impacts of these realities, the unique needs, priorities and capacities of women and girls are not treated with the same urgency as shelter, water and food aid in emergency response and recovery efforts, and opportunities to transform unequal gender relations and shift harmful gender norms are being missed. 


A more systematic approach for ensuring that humanitarian action responds to women’s and girls’ rights and needs is within reach. Drawing on emerging initiatives, best-practice, research and the perspectives of affected communities themselves, the following recommendations provide a blueprint for governments, donors, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, and national and local actors to work in tandem to drive system-level changes and put women’s and girls’ rights and agency at the centre of every humanitarian response:


-women’s and girls’ voice and leadership 

-Equitable access to sexual and reproductive health services

-Prevention and response to gender-based violence

-Preventing sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse

-Supporting women’s economic empowerment


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Women's and girls's rights and agency in humanitarian action: A life-saving priority 


2018 Inter-Agency Field Manual 

2018 Inter-Agency Field Manual is the result of a collaborative and consultative process engaging hundreds of representatives from United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations that make up the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG). Based on guidelines issued by normative bodies, particularly those of the World Health Organization, the 2018 IAFM incorporates specific evidence from, or examples about, the application and adaptation of global SRH or human rights standards in humanitarian settings. The 2018 IAFM reflects the wide application of the manual’s principles and technical content beyond refugee situations, extending its use into diverse crises, including conflict zones and natural disasters.


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