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Engaging with other clusters/sectors

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • Another common challenge when building a broad multi-sectoral membership of a GBV coordination mechanism is engaging with, and ensuring the participation of, other clusters/sectors. And yet, engaging with other clusters/sectors can have mutually beneficial results:


Benefits for coordination mechanism

Benefits for the target group


• Ensures that the strategies and action plans of the GBV coordination mechanism are in line with those of other clusters/ sectors and other relevant coordination bodies.


• Facilitates communication about GBVproblems, gaps in programming and methods to address these gaps.


• Strengthens accountability with regard to GBV issues.


• Provides opportunities for capacity-building and resource-sharing.


Source: Adapted from Ward, J. 2010. Handbook for Coordinating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings, GBV AoR.  Section I.S. 4.2.  

  • However, sectoral actors may be somewhat reluctant to take on GBV issues because they are already overwhelmed with the more standard challenges associated with their sector. In addition, they may not see gbv  as a critical issue to their sector or feel that GBV is relevant and be reluctant to attend additional meetings. As a result GBV activities will not be fully integrated into the humanitarian responses, possibly leading to increased victimization of women and girls. Finding creative ways to engage with the clusters/sectors therefore becomes crucial; some suggestions include:
    • In an emergency context, the GBV coordination mechanism should ensure constant communication and monitoring of sectoral activities.
    • Within the network of a ‘humanitarian system’, actors working on violence against women should work with sectoral colleagues to promote multi-sectoral, interagency action to prevent and respond to GBV.
    • GBV actors should also encourage accountability of cluster/sector leads in meeting their sector-specific GBV responsibilities such as to mainstream GBV programming into their work. This can be done through the review and integration of GBV into sectoral needs assessments and analysis, policy and programming documents, action plans, funding appeals, etc. To engage cluster/sectors in GBV issues and activities, it is necessary to educate and motivate them about their responsibilities set out in the IASC GBV Guidelines as well as the IASC Gender Handbook.
    • The GBV coordination mechanism should encourage the participation of cluster/sector leads in the GBV coordination mechanism and assist cluster/sector leads to identify someone with sufficient authority and commitment within their coordination group to represent their cluster/sector at all GBV coordination meetings.
    • GBV coordination representatives should make periodic presentations to cluster leads at the OCHA cluster lead meetings (typically held at the national level once a week during an emergency).
    • Identify GBV coordination members to regularly attend various cluster/sector meetings to represent GBV concerns as appropriate and report back on emerging issues at the GBV coordination meetings.
  • Additionally, when both the protection cluster and GBV sub-cluster or working group are active within a given context, many important coordination functions take place at the level of the protection cluster and involving all the protection-related areas of responsibility, including not only GBV but also Child Protection, Mine Action, and Land, Housing, and Property. This type of coordination is especially undertaken for joint planning and joint reporting, especially in preparation for the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP).