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How to improve approaches to addressing social/gender norms (harmful) & power structures in humanitarian settings

The Dutch Relief Alliance aims to encapsulate the centrality of gender norms and their relative disruptive power. Unlike the development sector, the humanitarian sector is seemingly not focusing on this issue enough as a stand-alone focus for a project. Understanding the perspective and needs of women and children in emergencies is key to sustainability moving forward. The Dutch Relief Alliance Partners are looking for innovative approaches to address this opportunity.

    1. Changing behavior through addressing harmful gender norms in chronic crises – Tearfund
    2. Facilitating data-driven stigma reduction in humanitarian settings – War Child
    3. Investing in prevention: A life saving priority – CARE Nederland
    4. Reach Me – Oxfam Novib
    5. Women Lead in Emergencies CARE Nederland

See below for the full Challenge Briefs and contact details!


1. Changing behavior through addressing harmful gender norms in chronic crises

Tearfund and Help a Child want to contribute to equitable and violent-free partner relationships in chronic crises. We would like to invite you to think with us in how we can strengthen our methods and tools in addressing underlying beliefs and norms leading to behavioral change. We know how to work with communities, but Innovative behavioral change methods (gaming/simulation, training) and tools (monitoring, measurement) are needed to boost our work in complex humanitarian settings.

Contact: Cornelis de Schipper

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2. Facilitating data-driven stigma reduction in humanitarian settings

Stigma is a negative bias against a group or individual based on social norms. Stigma can become more widespread and intense in contexts of humanitarian crisis – and its effects can be devastating. War Child is developing a Stigma Reduction Approach that can be implemented effectively in all contexts for all populations. The approach supports the reintegration of affected children and families into their communities.

The approach will be evidence-based – and one key challenge we anticipate is the need for robust data analysis to ensure the proper adaptation of relevant strategies. We are now looking to work with data experts – get in touch before May 9!

Contact: Kim Hartog

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3. Investing in prevention: A life saving priority

Humanitarian action is often limited to measuring the number of women and girls participating or benefiting from the interventions, as opposed to attempting to identify and monitor change in women’s and girls’ power, access to services, socio-economic condition. In most development programmes CARE Nederland works with partners and local communities in DRC to identify existing norms and power relations in order to inform the design of gender transformative programming interventions. While such frameworks and tools are used in development sector, adapting and developing suitable approaches and tools (including appropriate technologies) is yet to be explored for the humanitarian sector.

Contact: Graciela van der Poel

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4. Reach Me

In Sri Lanka and Cambodia we will develop a gender transformative Early Warning System (EWS) for the increasing number of natural disasters. EWS around the world struggle to take women and girls’ needs into account, resulting in a lack of access to protection-related services. They are effectively left behind. We need to shift responders from seeing women and girls as passive recipients to supporting them to be in the ‘driving seat’. Oxfam Novib invites collaboration on the EWS platform.

Contact: Claudette van Rijn

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5. Women Lead in Emergencies

Women and girls are often overlooked as first responders and agents of change, even though they are best positioned to determine their different needs and protection risks in humanitarian settings. CARE Nederland expertise in emergencies has resulted in pilots like “Women Lead”, as a means to ensure that women’s voices are heard and that analysis of risks is grounded in context specific understanding of gendered power relations. A particular interest is to identify opportunities for improvement of such pilots in Uganda and better connect with humanitarian coordination and action processes in all phases of the humanitarian management cycle.

Contact: Graciela van der Poel

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