Among the major undertakings of UNRWA GBV programming has been the systematization of GBV prevention interventions. UNRWA, with the support of an external consulting firm, established a baseline to its GBV prevention activities in 2016, developed a GBV Prevention Framework and road maps for implementation in the field offices and measured the change achieved three years after the implementation of the activities through a GBV Endline study conducted in 2019. The report of the endline study showed the below key findings:
- Overall, UNRWA has taken some important steps to mainstream GBV prevention across its work on gender-based violence;
- Staff awareness, knowledge and understanding regarding GBV prevention have been improved to some extent and to varying degrees but a response focus still dominates and cultural factors remain barriers for some staff;
- The mainstreaming approach has enhanced the sustainability of the prevention element of the project;
- While perception among staff of leadership engagement has improved, there remain important gaps in terms of leadership;
- There is a clear recognition from UNRWA and its partners of the Agency’s comparative advantage in GBV prevention;
- The evidence shows that while prevalence remains high there have been some shifts in knowledge and attitudes at community level regarding GBV awareness;
- UNRWA investment in developing a GBV learning culture has paid dividends but systems for monitoring results need strengthening and resources allocated are still seen as inadequate.
A key component of the GBV Prevention work consisted of engaging communities in self-protection mechanisms and in 2019 UNRWA has been extending the work with communities to strengthen local community-based protection mechanisms including facilitating community awareness and identification of harmful behaviours and GBV risks, as well as activities including prevention awareness messaging and GBV risk mitigation. Specifically, UNRWA offices in Jordan and West Bank have developed a participatory protection assessment aimed at establishing community self-protection mechanisms, which were piloted in the past months.
Specifically Jordan Field Office designed the Building Self-Protection Methodology to strengthen self-protection capacities within the community and is built upon the following resources:
- UNRWA Protection Analysis Guidance and Tool Kit;
- Some of the tools included in UNRWA Guidelines for the Mainstreaming of Gender-Based Violence Risk Mitigation in Emergency Response;
- The Assets Methodology by Population Council.
Then the GBV Focal Points facilitated activities with UNRWA students, parents and teachers and produced a participatory Protection Risk Analysis. The key output of the three first exercises of the methodology allowed the definition of a Protection Risk Chart with a focus on GBV. Based on the risks identified, the community then mapped the assets available and devised a Protection Roadmap to tackle a maximum of three of the risks identified through an array of interventions such as trainings, information sessions, awareness raising, partnership building, etc. These interventions relied on existing resources within the community favouring networking and meaningful participation of the different stakeholders. Building on the experiences of the pilot in Jordan, the Child and Family Protection Programme in West Bank modified the outlined methodology to accommodate its own specific context and to add further GBV and SEA related components. It focused on identifying local community safety mechanisms for students (8th and 9th grade) attending UNRWA schools and parents in order to subsequently strengthen self-protection services and link them to GBV, while involving Child and Family Protection Committees in view of their important role in preventing and reducing GBV incidents in emergencies. Therefore, a set of activities was identified on a broad range of related topics, such as gender roles, sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and respective implications in emergencies and was implemented through the community protection plans.
Finally, UNRWA developed and aired 6 TV spots that address, through fiction, a situation related to GBV prevention, risk mitigation and gender discrimination. The TV spots were aired not only on the UNRWA Youtube channel but also in UNRWA installations while refugees were waiting to access services and in discussions groups with communities’ members across the five fields of operation to spur debate among the audience on individual and communal mechanisms to address gender stereotypes and gender-based violence. Furthermore, the episodes were featured during the Women’s Film Week in Amman from 8 to 11 March 2019, organised by UN Women for International Women’s Day. Having generated very positive feedback and reception in the communities and in view of the spots being an excellent tool to open up and facilitate debate, the Gender Section worked on establishing them as a long term tool to be integrated into various programmes even after the end of the project. In order to facilitate their use for other departments, a Companion Guide was finalized in 2019. The guide includes a drive with all videos accompanied by straightforward information on the respective messaging of each of the episodes as well as questions to guide focus group debate. The TV spots and Companion Guide were then used in groups discussions with community members, students, and staff during the 2019, 16 Days of Activism campaign to end GBV from 25 November to 10 December through.