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Staff training and capacity-building

Dernière modification: July 03, 2013

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  • Building the capacity of new and current staff is an essential part of programme implementation. Basic training for all staff should cover guiding principles, goals and activities of VAWG programming; inform staff members about specific methods for working within a human rights and survivor-centred framework; include a review of VAWG and gender issues relevant to the context; and encourage staff members to reflect on their own attitudes and beliefs related to gender and VAWG.  Trainings can also provide a forum for reviewing staff members’ responsibilities vis-à-vis the Code of Conduct.
  • In addition to basic trainings for all staff, specialized staff should receive targeted training to meet their key responsibilities (e.g. training on case management, clinical care, etc.).  For more information on specific training for specialized staff, see training materials listed in Section VII:  Implementing Response Programming and Section VIII:  Implementing Prevention Programming
  • When planning trainings, organizations should focus on:
    • Building the skills needed to carry out the job specifications, not only through preliminary training, but also through on-going refresher training.
    • Influencing change in staff attitudes and behavior by raising awareness and understanding of VAWG and instituting systems for staff accountability.
    • Supervising staff through coaching, mentoring, teaching and guidance (excerpted from Vann, 2002, pg. 38).
  •  Examples of general training topics/curricula and related resources are provided below.


Sample of Participant Training Objectives


Potential Training Resources

Gender, Human Rights, Power

  • Define Gender
  • Describe the importance of understanding the concepts of gender when doing VAWG work
  • Demonstrate understanding of their own gender roles and gender in their community
  • Describe how issues of gender can put women and girls at risk
  • Identify human rights violated by acts of VAWG
  • Discuss the role of power in VAWG


IASC. 2009b. Gender Equality and GBV Programming in Humanitarian Action - Training Toolkit. This toolkit provides materials necessary to conduct an introductory training on the IASC Gender Handbook and the IASC GBV Guidelines.

Online course on the Gender Handbook

A Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming:  Practical Information and Training Materials.  This Manual, produced through a collaboration between UNFPA and the Harvard School of Public Health, provides step-by-step guidance on how to apply a culturally sensitive, gender-responsive, human rights-based approach to programming in each of UNFPA’s three core areas of work: population and development, reproductive health, and gender. It also covers how to apply such an approach in the context of a humanitarian emergency. An accompanying set of Training Materials are also available for download.


Women's Human Rights: A Manual for Education & Action on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Wellesley, MA, USA (2003). This set of training materials, by Women’s Rights Network, is a training manual for human rights advocates. The manual aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault as human rights abuses; enhance the leadership skills of anti-violence activists; and mobilize advocates to implement human rights strategies on violence against women within the United States. The training material involves a combination of lecture, video, and interactive group exercises, and covers reflective and action planning around use of human rights strategies to address violence against women in communities. Available in English; 17 pages


Gender or Sex:  Who Cares? (2001). Pisa and Health and Development Networks.  This resource pack, which includes a manual, curriculum cards and overhead transparencies/handouts, provides an introduction to the topic of gender and sexual and reproductive health.  While the resource pack focuses on youth, its participatory tools can be used with a variety of audiences.  Available at


Inner Spaces Outer Faces Initiative Toolkit: Tools for Learning and Action on Gender and Sexuality (2007) This resource, by Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc. (CARE) and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), is for development and health programme staff. The toolkit is a compilation of training, reflection and monitoring activities for programme staff to identify, explore, and challenge social constructions of gender and sexuality in their own lives and those of their partners, in program interventions, and within their organizations. Available in English; 114


Overview of Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Define VAWG and gender-based violence (GBV) and understand the differences and similarities in the terms.
  • Identify the causes and contributing factors of VAWG.
  • Identify different types of VAWG (domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, abuse, including child sexual abuse, etc.)
  • Discuss the physical, psychological and social consequences survivors of VAWG might face.
  • Discuss the impact of VAWG on families, communities, and societies.

KODE. 2011. Understanding and Addressing Gender based Violence (for development contexts).


IRIN, 2005.  Broken Bodies, Broken Dreams.  Powerpoint training on VAWG across the lifecycle. 



Overview of Models for VAWG Prevention & Response

  • Define key prevention and response activities
  • Identify primary sectors that can assist a survivor of VAWG.
  • Identify response actions for each service sector.
  • Identify the primary guiding principles of prevention and response programming
  • Identify roles/responsibilities of service providers in VAWG response for each sector
  • Demonstrate general understanding of relevant laws in area targeted for programming
  • Identify survivor advocacy needs when facing the health, psychosocial, security and legal systems

Discuss ways to ensure involvement of and ethical services from service providers

  • Define and describe prevention activities
  • Identify groups of people prevention activities should target
  • Discuss the role the community plays in preventing VAWG.


Vann. B. 2004. Training Manual: Facilitator’s Guide, Interagency and Multisectoral Prevention and Response to Gender-based Violence in Populations Affected by Armed Conflict”. RHRC.


IASC. 2009a. Gender-Based Violence Guidelines Introduction and Implementation Planning Package. This package supports introduction of the IASC GBV Guidelines in field sites and facilitates a planning process to develop Action Plans for implementing the interventions and actions described in the guidelines.


IRC. 2012. GBV Emergency Response & Preparedness: Participant Handbook

GBV Emergency Response & Preparedness Training: Webinar Learning Series (2011-2013)

This webinar series, by the International Rescue Committee Gender-based Violence (GBV) Responders' Network, is for programmers and practitioners working in conflict and other humanitarian emergency settings. A series of over 10 webinars have been conducted to equip a cadre of field-based practitioners with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively and rapidly launch a response to GBV in emergencies. The curriculum is designed to complement existing training materials and resources developed by other agencies and experts, and operationalize key guidelines. Powerpoint presentations available in English.

UNFPA, 2012.  Managing Gender-based Violence Programmes in Emergencies. E-Learning Companion Guide.

Uganda Women’s Network. 2011. “Duty Bearer’s Handbook for Prevention and Response to Gender Based Violence.” This handbook has been prepared for use by gender based violence duty bearers such as police officers, health officers, community development officers and local councilor officers.

Uganda Women’s Network. 2011. “A Training Guide for building the capacities of duty bearers to prevent gender based violence.”


  • Understand the purpose of VAWG coordination in humanitarian contexts
  • Identify the key responsibilities of a coordination mechanism
  • Identify the responsibilities of coordination leads and coordination partners
  • Understand the process for implementing and sustaining a coordination mechanism

UNFPA, 2011. Curriculum Guide for Coordination of Multi-Sectoral Response to Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings

GBV AoR, 2011.  Training Materials linked to the Coordination Handbook (including dissemination tools and suggestion guide for trainings).

Protecting Women and Child Survivors through Improved Coordination: A Training Curriculum (2011)

This curriculum by the Internationational Rescur Committee, in collaboration with UNICEF,  is for UN partners working in humanitarian settings. The curriculum is designed to complement existing training materials, guidelines and resources developed to address violence against women and girls. The curriculum can be delivered over 3 days and aims to enable programmers to start-up and lead a GBV Sub-Cluster or Working Group; assess risks of violence, existing GBV-related services, gaps and priority needs of women and girls; identify GBV program priorities for adult women, adolescent girls and children, and ensure they are implemented; ensure appropriate links between the GBV and child protection coordination bodies with other relevant clusters (e.g. health, etc.) to better meet the needs of child survivors; and initiate planning for longer-term GBV programming for women, adolescent girls and children as the emergency stabilizes. Contact Mendy Marsh for more information:

Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

  • Discuss the role of power in sexual exploitation and abuse
  • Understand the six core priciples of the Secretary-General’s Bulletin
  • Identify responsibilities of organizations in prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse
  • Describe procedures for reporting sexual exploitation and abuse

The IASC PSEA Task Force has developed a PSEA tools repository of guidelines, tools, training materials, and other resources developed by the Task Force and partners.

Ward, J. 2009a. Inter-agency Training for Focal Points on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN, NGO and IGO Personnel:  A Guide for PSEA Focal Point Training with CD-ROM, ECHA/ECPS UN and NGO PSEA Task Force, New York.

Ward, J. 2009b. One-day Learning Event for Senior Managers on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN, NGO and IGO Personnel: A Guide for Senior Manager’s PSEA Learning Event with CD-ROM, ECHA/ECPS UN and NGO PSEA Task Force, New York.


Basic Engagement Skills with Survivors (for non-clinical and non-counseling staff)

  • Identify core knowledge, skills and concepts required to work with survivors (e.g. the difference between giving information and giving advice; empowerment & confidentiality; active listening; interview skills)
  • Describe ways that service providers and other staff can ensure survivor-centred approaches


Ward, 2004a.  Communication Skills in Working with Survivors of Gender-Based Violence. This training manual, developed by Family Health International (FHI), the RHRC Consortium, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for service providers attending to gender-based-violence (GBV) survivors. The manual includes a detailed 5-day communication skills training of trainers curriculum, with materials, agendas and handouts that may be used by participants to conduct future training. The manual covers the basics of GBV, engagement strategies for working with GBV survivors, service provider responsibilities, community referrals, methods to support service providers, and the evaluation process. Available in English; 194 pages.

IASC. 2010. Caring for Survivors Training Pack. Part One of this series of training modules focuses on how multi-sectoral actors can engage with survivors in a supportive and ethical way.  Part Two addresses medical interventions for sexual assault survivors and is based on the WHO Guidelines. Available in English.

Additional Tools:

The GBV AoR regularly updates its site with new training tools.

For links to essential guides, tools and other technical resources for VAWG prevention and response in humanitarian settings, see Gender-based Violence Network: Essential Tools for GBV Prevention and Response in Emergencies.

The Reproductive Health Response in Conflict (RHRC) Consortium GBV Bibliography also lists training and other tools.

The Irish Joint Consortium on GBV also lists training and other resources.

Also see UN Women Virtual Knowledge Centre tools database.