GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE (GBV) LOCALIZATION: HUMANITARIAN TRANSFORMATION OR MAINTAINING THE STATUS QUO? – A GLOBAL STUDY ON GBV LOCALIZATION THROUGH COUNTRY-LEVEL GBV SUB-CLUSTERS
Publication Date: 01/12/2019
Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world, with an estimated one in three women experiencing physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. Although humanitarian emergencies disproportionately impact women and girls, their needs and roles within the context of emergency response interventions are underrepresented.
The 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and subsequent Grand Bargain commitments have set the localization agenda with the aim of improving local capacities while also providing additional aid directly to those most in need. Evidence suggests that engaging local actors is critical to the success of humanitarian interventions, leading to a faster, more effective, and more sustainable response (International Rescue Committee (IRC), 2017; Wall & Hedlund, 2016).1 In many cases, these benefits can be attributed to the fact that local actors have a greater understanding of the context, can often access affected populations more easily, and can navigate complex political and social dynamics more readily. These issues are particularly true with regard to the provision of GBV prevention and response initiatives, as the inclusion of local women and women-led organizations (WLOs) is crucial to effectively addressing issues of gender inequality and harmful social norms that contribute to the occurrence of GBV (IRC, 2017). Depending on the shape that humanitarian systems take, and the degree to which they foster women’s meaningful participation, emergencies can either be a catalyst for transformational change or exacerbate existing drivers of GBV.
Findings from this study suggest that GBV localization overall has been minimal, with a low level of perceived localization in three of the four priority contexts.4 Findings further suggest that localization has not been formally operationalized at the global level, making its effectiveness – or lack thereof – highly dependent on country contexts rather than relying on recognized standards of good practice. Respondents believe that localization efforts are often donor driven and only pay lip service to the inclusion of local actors rather than engaging in meaningful change.