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Overview

  • Prevention programming addressing VAWG in humanitarian settings is in a nascent phase:  while there are commonly recognized and applied frameworks for building coordinated response services, there is no similar framework to guide VAWG prevention work.  As a result, prevention activities in emergency contexts tend to be improvised, relatively small-scale, and/or issue-specific.  There is no collective understanding or agreement of what prevention entails, or of what kinds of prevention interventions should be prioritized within and across various stages of humanitarian intervention.  Under the Gender-based Violence Area of Responsibility, a draft framework for prevention in humanitarian settings has been developed.
  • The premise of prevention in any setting is the same - stopping violence before it occurs.  The common elements that are relevant across settings are those that address the root causes of violence against women and girls.  Those common elements that need to be addressed are power and control of men over women, gender inequality and discrimination against girls and women.  Interventions to address these root causes require longer-term planning to secure equal rights of women, substantive changes in the economic, social and political status of women and changes in the norms of society that devalue women and girls, discriminate against them and tolerate abuse.

  • In addition to the common elements and addressing root causes, there are specific and tailored strategies that will be needed for different settings and their unique contexts.  For example, institutional change is an important element of prevention programming, but may not be applicable amidst a conflict where institutions may not be established, stable or functioning.  Short-term interventions, such as increasing mobile patrols to improve the safety of women in girls in public space, may be a practical step to prevent violence, but will not change the underlying issues that allow it to happen in the first place.

Additional Reading:

 See Promoting Primary Prevention in the Programming Essentials Module.