Gender in Brief

GiE Preparedness: Gender as a must in partner trainings

It is an overwhelming priority to strengthen gender in our emergency preparedness phase, especially when we are working with partners without a gender focus. As CARE, it is our duty to accompany them in their gender journey and provide the training and tools that they need.  

In rapid response, it’s rather difficult to begin conversations around gender equality and social inclusion in emergencies if they weren’t already unpacked pre-disaster. Although some partners are rooted in gender justice advocacy on their own, several others are less so (which is expected for the usually diverse pool of partners we engage). Organising elements for rapid gender assessments, learning how to analyse sex-/age-/disability-disaggregated data meaningfully, and designing gender-sensitive responses happen best in the preparedness phase especially for partners with less experience in it. 

Our most important recommendation is to provide Gender Equity and Diversity (GED) and PSHEA training in your preparedness workshops to ensure CARE and partner staff understand gender equality, how we approach gender in emergencies, and what these mean for their roles or responsibilities in a humanitarian response. This minimum activity applies to old and new partners alike.  

Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) training for, by, or with partners is also helpful if conducted in the preparedness phase. Understanding how an RGA works, what makes it different from standard assessments, and how it can shape the report recommendations, can only enhance the quality of your response once the emergency is ongoing – especially when more CARE and partner staff are capacitated to participate in RGAs. 

Consider including a “Gender in Emergencies in Proposal-Writing” training in your preparedness phase as well, designed for CARE and partner staff whose role is to develop the proposals for humanitarian response. In this way it is more likely that your project or program will budget for gender (capacity development, technical staff, activities); collect, analyse, and make use of SADD data; and incorporate GIE/GBVIE principles and approach in the implementation. 

Key GiE actions in the prapredness phase

  • Use Emergency Preparedness Planning to include gender equality and women’s empowerment in all parts of a response 
  • Prepare a Gender in Brief that will inform preparations, contingency planning, and response; if possible, validate your GIB with local partners or WROs with expert local knowledge 
  • Include budget for Gender in Emergencies technical support and activities (e.g. GED training, RGA activities, engaging a local gender/GBV specialist in training facilitation or RGA report-writing) 
  • Ensure your humanitarian MEAL systems account for sex-, age-, and disability-disaggregated data; and that you and your partners are able to make use of this data after assessment to inform your proposals and response 
  • Balance teams of first responders; assessment teams need to be gender-balanced as much as possible to be able to work with people of all genders and ages affected by crisis 

5 keys to gender-sensitive response with humanitarian partners without a gender focus

In plenty of contexts, we respond to emergencies in partnership with experienced local organisations that don’t necessarily specify a “gender focus” in their work or identity, yet through our partner assessment tools and process we have determined that they are clearly aligned with core humanitarian standards, rights-based approaches, and social justice through equality and inclusion. CARE is committed to ensuring gender-sensitive responses even with limited budget, staff, or time – how then do we accompany our partners in their own gender journey? 

Some ways to do gender creatively include: 

  1. Frame gender as “general learning”. To help partners see gender (its markers, briefs, and action plans) not just as a compliance requirement but as an essential element in the capacity-building and preparedness process, it is recommended to incorporate topics specific to the response such as how to analyse needs assessment data with a gender lens, or how to handle a GBV disclosure during an assessment interview.  
  2. Update your light-touch assessment tools to reflect gender data. This is especially useful if you don’t have time, resources, or capacity to conduct an RGA. An example can be the use of a simple matrix that deliberately asks after the separate/specific needs/impacts of crisis to various vulnerable groups, that even non-gender specialists can easily use. 
  3. Make data analysis participatory. In Fiji and the Solomon Islands, the team conducted participatory data analysis workshops from the rapid gender analyses activities. GEDSI Analysis (what is known in the CARE world as RGAs) can also be used as entry points. External stakeholders such as local government were invited so that the RGA becomes a product that people actually understand and have ownership over. In the Philippines, the COVID-19 Metro Manila RGAs similarly included data analysis and validation sessions with the interviewers before the report was finalised.  
  4. Facilitate pre-deployment briefings with gender guidance. In your usual briefings, include gender messaging and basic GBV referrals training before deploying CARE and partner staff to communities. If partners are already experienced, provide a short refresher or ask them to facilitate the session.
  5. Provide accessible guidance notes to supplement the briefings. A small, printed “field deployment kit” with checklists, bullet points, or images reminding CARE and partner staff of gender considerations in assessment, monitoring, documentation, and the like can go a long way.  

A rule of thumb is to make your discussions as participatory as possible. It takes more time, but this is simply good practice in partnership and meaningful collaboration. When people are included in decision-making and post-activity evaluations, they are able to claim shared ownership and accountability. 

Lessons from CARE’s gender journey

We should acknowledge resistance as part of our strategy and work our way through understanding what our partners and their communities understand by gender mainstreaming.   

We must acknowledge that we have opportunities to learn from our partners and this may mean un-learning and re-learning what we may think may work. It is a journey after all, and every journey is filled with successes and opportunities to learn. Partnership and relationship building takes time to develop trust and nurture [relationships], we must invest in core funding for our partners to enable this to happen.  

The great thing about CARE’s Gender Equality Framework is that it guides us to work with whole-of-society and this is crucial when we consider our approaches to working with partners who are not WROs.