Gender Based Violence [GBV] Programming, Child Protection & Safeguarding at POH. 

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation, a public health challenge, and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation. … It is vital to promote the rights of all individuals and reduce gender-based violence while mitigating its harmful effects on individuals and communities 

Causes of gender based violence

  • Harmful Gender Norms. Gender stereotypes and are often used to justify violence against women. …
  • Just as empowering women can help eliminate hunger, food scarcity also leads to increased gender-based violence. …
  • War and conflict.

Strategies to preventing GBV at POH:

  1. Increasing access to a comprehensive and well-coordinated GBV response services including livelihood support for survivors.
  2. Increase awareness and enhance systems for the prevention of GBV including SEA through mitigating risk factor and strengthening community protection strategies

Emergencies occur against a backdrop of pre-existing gender inequality. Such inequality is exacerbated as any existing systems and structures to protect women and girls are changed, weakened or destroyed, when fighting breaks out or a natural calamity hits. This creates specific risks that the humanitarian community cannot ignore, risks that disproportionately affect women and girls. Our Gender-based violence (GBV) programming in emergencies aimed at meeting the immediate, lifesaving needs of women and girls while laying the groundwork for survivors of such violence, their families and their communities to recover. We understand that, failing to include GBV-specific programming in emergency interventions carries consequences: first responders may inadvertently expose women and girls to additional risks; weaken the foundation for their resilience and health; and create barriers to reconstructing the lives and livelihoods of individuals, families and communities.

Our Approach that has approved working in our context: 

SASA! Is a community mobilization approach for preventing violence against women and HIV? It is designed for catalyzing community-led change of norms and behaviors that perpetuate gender inequality, violence and increased HIV vulnerability for women. At its foundation is a gendered analysis of power and power inequalities—not only of the ways in which men use power over women and the consequences of this for intimate relationships and communities, but also of how women and men can use their power positively to effect and sustain change at individual and community levels. SASA! Means “now” in Kiswahili. It is also an acronym for the four phases of the approach: Start, Awareness, Support, and Action. In the Start phase, in using SASA! It begins by orientation of staff to the approach and key concepts of power. Followed by identifying an equal number of female and male community activists (CAs)—regular people in the community interested in issues of violence, power and rights—and similarly identifying “institutional activists,” for example, members of police, health care systems, local government and faith-based groups. All activists are introduced to new ways of thinking about power and power imbalances in their own lives and within the community, and are mentored in the SASA! Approach. With the support of staff, the activists takes the lead as the approach moves forward into the Awareness, Support and Action phases. In these phases, the activists lead informal, benefits-based activities within their existing social networks—fostering open discussions, critical thinking and supportive person-to-person and public activism among their families, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Together, they introduce the community and its institutions to new concepts of power, encouraging a gendered analysis of power imbalances using four strategies: Local Activism, Media and Advocacy, Communication Materials, and Training. The combination of these strategies ensures that community members are exposed to SASA! Ideas repeatedly and in diverse ways within the course of their daily lives, from people they know and trust as well as from more formal sources within the community. Each phase builds on the others and addresses a different concept of power, with an increasing number of individuals and groups involved, strengthening a critical mass committed and able to create social norm change.

Focusing on prevention to stop the violence at POH. 

Violence against women and girls is rooted in gender-based discrimination and social norms and gender stereotypes that perpetuate such violence. Given the devastating effect violence has on women, efforts have mainly focused on responses and services for survivors. However, the best way to end violence against women and girls is to prevent it from happening in the first place by addressing its root and structural causes.

Prevention should start early in life, by educating and working with young boys and girls promoting respectful relationships and gender equality. Working with youth is a “best bet” for faster, sustained progress on preventing and eradicating gender-based violence. While public policies and interventions often overlook this stage of life, it is a critical time when values and norms around gender equality are forged.

Prevention entails supporting the implementation of the agreed conclusions of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that placed a strong focus on prevention through the promotion of gender equality, women’s empowerment and their enjoyment of human rights. It also means making the home and public spaces safer for women and girls, ensuring women’s economic autonomy and security, and increasing women’s participation and decision-making powers—in the home and relationships, as well as in public life and politics. Working with men and boys helps accelerate progress in preventing and ending violence against women and girls. They can begin to challenge the deeply rooted inequalities and social norms that perpetuate men’s control and power over women and reinforce tolerance for violence against women and girls.

Awareness-raising and community mobilization, including through media and social media, is another important component of an effective prevention strategy.

Child Protection & Safeguarding at POH: 

Pilgrims of Hope particularly recognizes that, the need to protect children is of paramount importance.  The vulnerability of children to abuse is increased by many factors, including poverty, inequality, violence, cultural practices and humanitarian crises.  Children who are exploited and abused are more likely to suffer long-term consequences, including mental health issues, reduced educational outcomes, drug and alcohol abuse and increased likelihood of breaking the law.   Pilgrims of Hope is committed to doing what it can to safeguard those children with whom it interacts, either directly or indirectly (e.g., through the activities of partner organizations), so that they can avail of their right to grow up in safety.

Pilgrims of Hope’s work is inspired by Catholic Social Teaching, one of the fundamental principles of which is the dignity of each individual. The right to freedom from all forms of exploitation and abuse is implicit in this principle. Underpinned by the organizational value of accountability, it is our policy to safeguard all individuals involved in Pilgrims of Hope’s work against risks of exploitation and abuse. Pilgrims of Hope will not tolerate exploitative or abusive behavior by anyone associated with the implementation of its work and highlights this as a core commitment in the organization’s Stakeholder Accountability Framework. POH recognizes that individuals, women, men, girls and boys in certain contexts may be considered more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse than others, and we make every effort to eliminate such risks from our programs.

Our approach to child safeguarding work is guided by a number of key international principles and standards as set out in the following: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989), the UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979) and in the national laws of the regions in which Pilgrims of Hope works. We also aim to uphold the commitments made under the “Statement of Commitment on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and non-UN personnel” and the UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin on Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (PSEA) (ST/SGB/2003/13). These commitments prioritize key actions, including practical measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and to ensure an effective response when such acts occur. 

The UNCRC is ratified in 193 states (except Somalia, South Sudan and the United States)[1]. The four general principles of the UNCRC are: 

  • Survival and development,
  • Non-discrimination,
  • Child participation and the right to be heard, Best interests of the child.

  Considerations for the local context

Pilgrims of Hope works in a variety of geographical locations with great variations in understandings and arrangements for child protection.  There are even different understandings of what can constitute child abuse.  Pilgrims of Hope is committed to giving clear guidance to staff, partners and other organizations, including funding organizations, on how the Child Safeguarding Policy is adapted and applied in these different locations.  The guidelines is therefore applied in ways that are sensitive to different cultures but without condoning practices that are harmful to children.  Therefore, where relevant, the policy is supported by a document outlining particular in-all regional considerations. You can Visit our website: to access our Policies on Protection. 

Safety Audits at POH and why?-                                                               

GBV risk mitigation is an integral element of all sectoral and multi-sectoral assessments. In particular, general sector safety audits that incorporate attention to GBV risks—or even specific GBV-focused safety audits–are an important way for sector actors to ensure GBV issues related to sector programming have been adequately identified so that mitigation measures can be implemented (IASC GBV Guidelines 2015).    

The Benefits of Sector-specific and Multi-sectoral Safety Audits to Mitigate GBV Risks  

Safety audits that incorporate attention to GBV, whether multi-sectoral or sector-specific, encourage humanitarian actors to coordinate and collaborate across and within sectors, to pool resources and to work together to assess and identify GBV risks by service or sector. Analysis of findings can determine further actions for the humanitarian community and can facilitate collaboration between sector actors and GBV partners to reduce identified risks. When conducted regularly, safety audits can help to monitor the effectiveness of established mitigation measures and measure on-going GBV risks.  They can also give voice to women and girls whose needs might otherwise be overlooked. Adopted (IASC GBV Guidelines 2015; UNFPA 2015).

However, Safety audits that assess GBV risks and mitigation measures in camp and non-camp settings are not meant to be specialized assessments which investigate the nature, scope and services related to GBV. It is anticipated that non-GBV specialists can undertake safety audits that include questions related to GBV. Checklists or observation, safety mapping, safety walks and focus group discussions are methods most commonly used to assess sector-related safety concerns for women and girls at POH.

The Checklist/Observation approach is mainly an observational method where data is recorded based on what is physically seen by the data collector.

Safety Mapping captures local knowledge and social perceptions about risk and safety on a map. The map can be used to show places significant to women and girls, highlight those places important to them and specify where women and girls feel safe.

The Safety Walk is similar to the Checklist/Observation approach in that it is an observation method. However, it engages women and girls directly to enable them to identify and articulate the safety concerns and problems they face in certain geographical areas and in accessing services.

Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) can be used to identify safety risks and concerns of women and girls. The group discussions are typically done in small groups of 8 to 12 females, separated by age. An inclusive approach ensures that women and girls with different abilities and from different sectors of society are represented. Open-ended questions can be used to gather perceptions, fears and safety concerns from women and girls. 

From one of the camp settings, the following table illustrates the GBV-related information collected in one of the POH safety audit report:

Sector/Cluster Method Key Issues Investigated through Observation, Interviews and FGD’s

Coordination and


Management (CCCM)


Checklist and Questionnaire Camp layout, including physical protective barriers (walls, fences) lighting, layout, structure, access, location; presence of armed individuals, security personnel, safe access to markets, community protection, the existence of trained GBV focal points and community feedback mechanisms for complaints or reporting of GBV, availability of cooking fuel, emergency services available at night after working hours, services for the clinical management of rape
Shelter Checklist and Questionnaire Private sleeping areas, how living spaces are shared, existence of secure door locks, whether spaces were allocated to single or multiple families per unit, the number of people allocated to each unit
Nutrition Checklist with FGD guides


Privacy, safe routes to distribution points, accessible and safe locations of distribution sites, safe and appropriate times of distribution, training on GBV done and available for nutrition actors engaging with beneficiaries
Health Checklist Presence and recruitment of female guards at health facilities, safe access to facilities, safe routes to facilities, health actors trained on GBV, existence and use of GBV referral pathways
Education Checklist Security fencing and walls around schools, existence of

male/female separated toilets, accessibility of schools (safety and disability), availability of sanitary supplies, safe routes and distances to schools, training on GBV for teachers and learners, male/female ratios of teachers and learners, referral pathways for

GBV incidences, enrolment and attendance of girls at schools




Checklist and




Adequate lighting around facilities, risks to women and girls, male/female ratio on WASH committees, evidence of women’s voices being heard on WASH committees,  locks on latrines, separation of male / female facilities with clear marking (M/F);  access and peeping risks, consulting of women and girls, feedback mechanisms for complaints and reporting GBV incidents; school latrines; water points; WASH facility accessibility and safety for women and girls


POH- Take away as Key Good Practice Recommendations:

  • Safety audits are an important mechanism to identify GBV risk mitigation needs and should therefore be conducted regularly;
  • Sector partners working in different sites in the same context can think of using the same tools to ensure comparability of findings;
  • Where possible, sectors should coordinate to set up multi-sectoral safety audit teams to encourage joint ownership and accountability of emergent recommendations and action plans;
  • Safety audits should coincide with Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) and Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) cycles to ensure that implementation of recommendations is included in budget allocations;
  • Monitoring must be done to assess the extent of implementation of recommendations from safety audits;
  • Training of non-GBV specialists prior to conducting safety audits can be helpful in ensuring sector actors conduct safety audits in a safe and ethical way, especially when including FGDs;
  • GBV specialists should be available to sector actors to support integration of GBV elements in sector safety audits;
  • Follow-up, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be integrated into the tool design to ensure that the safety audit exercise is not an end in itself.