Conflict and crisis have a different impact on women, men, girls and boys. Some may be denied their rights just because of their gender. Others may be exposed to sexual violence and abuse, or are at risk of being dragged into illegal armed groups.
That's why all of NRC's projects commit to taking gender issues into account. From speaking up for women's land rights, to building girls' toilets in schools and protecting boys from being recruited as child soldiers, we listen to their needs, no matter their gender or age.
Our commitment to gender equality
NRC puts equality into our day-to-day work, ensuring it is part of the planning and practice of all our activities in the field.
Where needed, we take action. For example, we set up childcare facilities and other measures so young parents can finish their education or vocational training. Our legal experts help achieve safe rental conditions for women. We also put in place activities for boys at risk of being recruited as child soldiers.
Gender-based violence (GBV)
One in five displaced women in humanitarian crises is a survivor of some form of gender-based violence.
The risk of sexual violence is very high in armed conflict. When law and order break down and day-to-day life is uprooted, violence intensifies.
In camps, sexual violence can occur at the hands of an intimate partner or family member or friend. In conflict areas, it can come from armed groups, who use sexual violence as tool of war. Perpetrators, be they a husband or a militia, often dodge responsibility and punishment.
Quite often, women in displacement are forced to remain completely isolated in their tents, under the pretences of being shielded from outside dangers or following cultural norms.
Survivors tell us about being rejected by their husbands, families and communities. Some are left to care for children born out of rape. Others have been infected with HIV or Aids. Many are excluded from schools and jobs.
The stigma and isolation makes them vulnerable to repeated assault.
Against this backdrop, displaced women refrain from reporting attacks.
Our work against gender-based violence
Many survivors of gender-based violence feel they have no one to talk to, no one to support them to recover or take action. We do our best to be that someone.
That's we why make sure they have the resources they need to recover, and work to reduce the risk of it happening again. Employing female staff members is crucial.
NRC has educated and engaged whole communities in the fight against this type of violence, an investment that may one day break the cycle of violence that is so common. Moreover, we play a key role in networking and advocating on these issues, speaking up for women's right to a life free of violence and abuse.
The Gender Standby Capacity Project (GenCap)
GenCap - an interagency initiative created in 2007 in collaboration with the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - seeks to facilitate and strengthen capacity and leadership of humanitarians to undertake and promote gender equality programming to ensure the distinct needs of women, girls, boys and men of all ages, are taken into account in humanitarian action at global, regional, and country levels.
Gender Capacity Advisers are deployed to support the Humanitarian Coordinator, Humanitarian Country Teams, UN agencies, cluster leads, NGOs and governments. Read more
In Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, NRC provides safe spaces with group activities for men, women, girls, and boys. They can participate in sports, sewing and knitting, games, playing music, learning IT or English, and unstructured social time.
In Afghanistan, we have a shelter project that is run entirely by a group of strong female staff members, who assist displaced women in building their very own homes.
Read more: Shelter for the most vulnerable.
NRC uses the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department's (ECHO) Gender and Age Marker. The marker gives guidance on how to make our actions more sensitive to the needs of women and men of different ages.
We have employed a full-time gender adviser to monitor NRC's gender work, making sure we include a gender analysis when we plan and implement our programmes.
Since 2012, we have participated in many global groups and initiatives to strengthen GBV prevention and response in humanitarian work – such as the GBV Area of Responsibility (GBV AoR), a global partnership of UN agencies, NGOs, and others on GBV.
NRC also contributed to the 2015 GBV Guidelines, which aim to reduce the risk of GBV in all humanitarian efforts.
We continue to look for new ways to incorporate and improve our gender perspective, in order to best meet the needs of men, women, teenagers and children.