Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response

HIAS Kenya staff Lucy Juwa speaks with South Sudanese refugees in Nairobi.
(Brian Otieno /HIAS)

HIAS’ Gender-based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response programming helps forcibly displaced women and girls and LGBTQ community members pursue their potential and access human rights, free from violence and oppression. 

Our programs are driven by the voices and needs of survivors and we prioritize their leadership in program design and implementation. 

We recognize the strength and resilience of all survivors, and support them with services that allow them to recover, heal, and thrive. We realize survivors carry a diversity of experience and intersecting identities that confound one-size-fits-all solutions. Our approach is specific; we design interventions with girls and women to address the multitude of forces – race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, age – that shape their lives.

We work with communities to reduce risk, increase support for survivors, and build partnerships with women-led organizations to promote and protect the rights of survivors, women, girls, and LGBTQ refugees. This approach enables HIAS to meet the safety, health, psychosocial, legal, and economic needs of survivors; facilitate survivors’ access to appropriate care and justice; and empower communities to lead efforts that challenge beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that perpetuate or condone violence against women, girls, and the LGBTQ community.

Three pillars of HIAS’ GBV and gender approach:

Preventing and responding to GBV requires dedicated resources and attention. We invest in both specialized and integrated programming to tackle GBV effectively and to catalyze change across sectors. The specialized programming means we have skilled partners and staff able to work with survivors. Integrating GBV risk reduction means that all HIAS staff, from lawyers, to economic inclusion specialists, or protection monitors, are trained to understand gender and how gender roles increase risk to women and girls and LGBTQ refugees.    

  • Risk reduction: These activities decrease the threats to girls and women’s safety that can arise from living in an unsafe environment, lacking the economic means to survive, or being isolated from services and information. Program approaches include building women’s and girls’ economic assets; participatory safety mapping in displacement areas; information and awareness raising; and supporting safe spaces for women and girls to forge bonds of solidarity and trust. 

  • Response: The services we provide can be lifesaving for girls and women who experience violence. Through case management, psychosocial services, referrals to health and/or legal protection and women’s spaces, we meet survivors’ immediate health and safety needs and create opportunities for them to take back the control and power that violence seeks to erode. Response services are often a first, but vital step, toward girls’ and women’s leadership and empowerment.

  • Prevention: Prevention programming supports transformative change. Our programs create space for men and boys to unlearn norms and behaviors that contribute to or condone violence.