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Objectives: by HC12110723176


IRC 1.18.07

Title: Developing a GBV Information Management System to Improve Gender-Based Violence
       Prevention and Response in Humanitarian Situations
Date: January 19, 2007

This proposal seeks to lay out a global vision for improving GBV-related information management
systems. It discusses the collaborative steps necessary to overcome the challenges in GBV-related
information management in humanitarian settings and seeks to clarify the roles and responsibilities of
the various actors involved.

Background & Context Analysis
There have been many laudable strides made in addressing the issue of GBV in humanitarian
situations. However, despite a decade of intensive efforts to improve GBV prevention and response,
the humanitarian community, including implementing partners and donor agencies, continues to
struggle with establishing a coordinated system to effectively and safely track and monitor GBV
incidents. Existing reporting systems and/or databases vary in quality across country programs and
agencies, often failing to adequately support program management, prevention efforts and the
appropriate and ethical use of data for advocacy purposes.

Many organizations implementing GBV programs or providing GBV related services do not have a
central place where GBV data is stored. Service-based data, while not able to be generalized is
among the most common forms of GBV data collected.1 Reporting systems that collect and analyze
GBV related service-based data are especially lacking in conflict situations. Where systems do exist,
their inconsistent quality across country programs and agencies, results in data that is either not used
or underutilized in supporting project management, prevention efforts, improving service delivery and

UNHCR evaluated its GBV2 programs in Tanzania in January of 2000. The report found that “each
NGO, and UNHCR, classified and counted types of SGBV cases differently. Given the variety of
definitions and classifications, monthly reports of SGV incidents ranged from 0 reports to over 50
depending on the camp and the NGO.”3

In response to these problems, UNHCR developed a HOW TO GUIDE for monitoring and evaluating
sexual and Gender-based Violence programs. This April 2000 HOW TO GUIDE outlined basic
protocols and tools necessary to maintain statistics on Gender-based Violence. However, in April4 and
September5 2002 the RHRCC released reports on Gender-based Violence that found that this lack of
comparable data persisted even two years after the UNHCR Tanzania report and HOW TO GUIDE.

Over the course of the next three years several documents were produced to guide Gender-based
Violence programming, monitoring and evaluation, and information management.
  Violence Against Women: A Statistical Overview, Challenges and Gaps in Data Collection and Methodology
and Approaches to Overcoming Them. Report of the expert group meeting. UN Division for the Advancement of
Women, Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and World Health Organization. 11-14 April 2005
  The acronyms GBV and SGV are used interchangeably here. For a discussion of the evolution of these
acronyms see Beth Vann “Gender-Based Violence Emerging Issues in Programs Serving Displaced
Populations” 2002.
  UNHCR, “How To Guide: Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations: Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and
Gender-based Violence Programs” (April 2000).
  Jean Ward, “If Not Now, When? Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Refugee, Internally Displaced, and
Post-conflict Settings,” (RHRCC April 2002)
  Beth Vann, “Gender-Based Violence: Emerging Issues in Programs Serving Displaced Populations”
(September 2002)

IRC 1.18.07

             UNHCR 2003 “Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against Refugees, Returnees and
              Internally Displaced Persons: Guidelines for Prevention and Response.” This document
              included a standard incident report form, monthly reporting format, and standard case

             RHRCC 2004 “Gender-based Violence Tools Manual: For Assessment & Program Design,
              Monitoring & Evaluation”. This document also included a standard incident report form,
              monthly reporting formats, and standard case definitions.

             Inter-Agency Standing Committee 2005 “Guidelines for Gender-based Violence
              Interventions in Humanitarian Settings” This document included a standard incident report
              form and standard case definitions.

However, concerns about a lack of data on Gender-based Violence persisted and in December 2005
WHO and UNFPA hosted a technical consultation intended to initiate the design of a standardized
system for the assessment, monitoring, and reporting of sexual violence and exploitation in conflict
situations.6 This effort was reinforced during the UNFPA, Government of Belgium and European
Commission hosted symposium, “International Symposium on Sexual Violence in Conflict and
Beyond.” An out come of this June 2006 symposium was a call to action which included a call for
more systematic data collection on Gender-based Violence.7

In August 2006 supported by funding from OCHA, and working under the guidance and coordination
of the Interagency Standing Committee Gender working group, the International Rescue Committee
developed a three phased approach to addressing the issue of GBV Information Management. During
Phase I the IRC spearheaded a consultative process to review the current state of GBV information
management in the field and to propose a system to make GBV incident data more comparable
across programs, and safer and more efficient to share with appropriate stakeholders.

During this phase, IRC held face-to-face meetings with experts in New York and Washington D.C., as
well as phone and email consultations with forty-nine headquarter and field GBV practitioners and
stakeholders from a wide range of NGO and UN agencies. The purpose of these consultations was to
isolate and articulate the challenges present in developing a GBV information Management system
from the point of view of practitioners as well as experts..

These extensive consultations produced four key findings:

    1. GBV practitioners want to use data to write program reports, design programs, and conduct

    2. GBV programs are not classifying and analyzing information in ways that produce comparable
       statistics. There is a lack of comparable information.

    3. GBV programs are collecting more information than they are able to analyze. Programs
       generally produce very basic statistics such as the number of cases they have seen, but do
       not have the tools to analyze other data points (such as time between incident and reporting)
       in a systematic and useful way. Current statistics are often compiled by hand.

  Social Science Research Council. “Methods and Systems for the Assessment and Monitoring of Sexual
Violence and Exploitation in Conflict Situations. A Technical Consultation.” UNFPA, WHO: NYC, December 15-
16, 2005
  UNFPA. “Brussels Call to Action to Address Sexual Violence in Conflict and Beyond” (June 2006)

IRC 1.18.07
    4. The special sensitivity of GBV information makes the sharing of information to produce
       regional or inter-agency statistics very difficult. There is a lack of consensus about what sort of
       information can be shared between organizations and under what circumstances.

In general, the participants in this consultative process were positive about developing an information
management system which used database technology to produce statistics in a uniform manner. The
consultant compiled this information into a report including background research on databases and
analysis of current systems used for GBV incident data by field programs. A paper on confidentiality
was presented at the WHO GBV Technical Experts Meeting in November 2006 in Geneva.

Concurrent to the IRC research in the fall of 2006, UNHCR and MSF developed excel spreadsheets
to manage information generated by GBV programs. These spreadsheets could form the starting
point of a GBV information management system.

While the concerns heard during the consultation had been articulated at different forums in the past,
there has not been an attempt to propose substantive changes. The importance of this consultative
process can not be over-stated. Participation and buy-in from a variety of actors will be crucial if an
eventual common system is to be implemented.

An Information Management System
It is critical that practitioners and others understand that an Information Management System is more
than just a software tool for managing data and producing statistics. An information management
system includes the protocols and procedures to ensure that it is implemented systematically and
safely. It should also have provisions for technical support and guidance. The failure of previous
attempts to create these systems is related to the lack of ongoing technical support. Staff turnover
and changing contextual dynamics often create a need for constant refresher trainings and technical

Such a system could address many of the comparability issues which inhibit information sharing while
providing program managers with a tool for program design, reporting and monitoring trends, and
local advocacy.

A information management System for GBV will include the following components:

    1. A piece of software to facilitate the storing and analysis of GBV information. This would be a
       simple excel or access program that would document and facilitate the analysis of specific
       GBV-related data. GBV program management staff would use this software to manage data
       generated by their program.

    2. A set of implementation guidelines and training tools to support the implementation of the
       software tool. These guidelines will address practical implementation issues but also the
       confidentiality and security issues associated with collecting, storing and sharing data on
       Gender-based Violence.

    3. A technical support mechanism to provide on-going training, to field questions, and possibly
       address ethical or safety concerns that may arise. Information management systems in
       humanitarian contexts have been met with limited success.8

 A comprehensive GBV information management system would most likely require some adaptation if current
data collection tools (i.e. intake forms, incident report forms) and the software/database to combine information
across programs.

IRC 1.18.07

This consultative process was a critical first step in Developing a GBV Information Management
System to Improve Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response in Humanitarian Situations.

Phase II
In this next phase the focus will be on conducting an inclusive process to develop:
          common language for GBV incident classification;
          a tool for storing and analyzing GBV-related data;
          guidelines to ensure that specific GBV-related information can be shared safely and

Phase III
Future phases of this process will include: developing additional tools to complete and roll out the
informational management system roll to the broader GBV humanitarian community and establish
mechanisms for on-going technical support. Phase III will focus on developing systems to bring
information together from a variety of contexts and agencies to gain a broader perspective on the
situation. Phases one and two lay the foundation for this effort by standardizing the way GBV
programs store and analyze data. The third phase will draw on the work done in phase one to
establish guidelines to ensure that GBV information is shared safely. The systems developed to bring
GBV information together will build on the work done to develop the UNHCR GBV SOPs.

Problem Statement
The humanitarian community continues to struggle with imperfect mechanisms and systems too
effectively and safely store, analyze and share GBV-related data. This impacts the humanitarian
community’s ability to gain a deeper understanding of the context in which they are working and the
effect GBV programming is having in ensuring access to life-saving services and in improving the
protection of women and girls. The lack of specific data management guidelines hampers information-
sharing between key stakeholders. This in turn impacts the ability of GBV actors to effectively
coordinate their efforts and ultimately ensure a holistic and multi-sectoral response. In addition, there
is continuing ambiguity around what data is needed by what actors, why it is being collected and how
it will be used. This results in agencies collecting or requesting data that does not result in increased
or improved services for survivors. Some service providers do not collect any data on GBV and others
collect an unmanageable amount which is difficult to analyze properly. Any sustainable change to and
standardization of the GBV information management systems currently in place requires the active
participation and buy-in from all key GBV humanitarian actors.

Goal: To contribute to improving the systems and capacity of GBV humanitarian actors to effectively
use and analyze GBV-related data to inform programmatic decision-making, improve advocacy and
make information-sharing safer and more effective.

Objective One: To standardize systems for storing, sharing and analyzing data generated through
GBV service provision, and reinforce the capacity of GBV humanitarian actors to maintain the system.

By regularly consulting with GBV actors in the field and at headquarters this initiative will develop
standardized tools for classifying incidents, documenting cases, and analyzing data on GBV
respective roles that different agencies could play in this project. During Phase II, the capacity
building strategy will be developed and recommendations put forth for establishing a technical review
group tasked with providing on-going technical feed-back on the roll-out and implementation of the
GBV information management system.

IRC 1.18.07
    Group              Role                        Description                    Suggested Actors
One            Implementation         This group has primary responsibility to    UNHCR & IRC
                                      implement the activities.

                                      This group’s ToR would include a clear
                                      division of responsibilities between the
                                      organizations involved and points of
                                      collaboration at certain steps in the

Two            Work Plan Oversight    This group monitors work of Group 1 to      Donor, UNHCR, IRC
                                      make sure it is moving at the right pace,
                                      focused appropriately on the goal and
                                      objectives, and consulting with the right

Three          Technical Oversight    This group has a technical review           Individuals in this
                                      function. They are not involved in the      group would
                                      day to day decisions of the project, but    represent senior GBV
                                      the products of the initiative are          technical people and
                                      submitted to them for review before the     experience
                                      project moves to the next step.             practitioners from all
                                                                                  the relevant

                                                                                  OCHA IRC, UNHCR,

Result One: Development of an updated standardized GBV incident classification system.

 Key GBV humanitarian actors and stakeholders review and provide feedback on the IRC paper on
   GBV case definitions, distributed for feedback in January 2007. This paper presents 4 possible
   solutions to the case definition problem;

   Analyze the feedback on the paper provided through a web-based survey mechanism, and based
    on that feedback determine which ‘solutions’ to further develop (2 maximum);

   Test the possible ‘solutions’ in the field to ascertain which will work;

   Finalize a standard GBV incident classification system and submit to the GBV Technical Review

   Develop roll out materials for new GBV incident classification scheme (training materials,
    handbook, visuals);

IRC 1.18.07

   Roll out the new GBV incident classification scheme and track common questions or issues that

Result Two: Creation of the program-level information management prototype needed for the GBV
information management system

 IRC to provide recommendations based on the consultations with the field to UNCHR on the
   specific fields (categories) to include in the Excel tool currently under development;

   In collaboration, IRC and UNCHR finalizes the draft Excel tool developed by UNCHR;

   Submit the Excel tool to the GBV Technical Review Group for review.

   Finalize the draft tool, and develop implementation guidelines and training materials for draft tool;

   Develop the field-testing strategy;

   Field-test the tool and monitor implementation and gather feedback on the utility, safety, and
    efficiency of the Excel information management tool;

   Produce the final version of the information management tool based on results of field testing;

   Identify what additions to the system are required to ensure a comprehensive information
    management system.

Result 3: Develop the capacity building strategy and technical assistance component necessary for
the information management system to function effectively.

   Develop the capacity building strategy;

   Develop the trainer of training materials;

   Conduct the training of trainers;

   Identify how effectively establish the technical assistance unit to provide on-going technical

Objective Two: To develop standards and guidelines to govern the storing and sharing of data on
GBV to ensure the highest level of ethical and safety standards are met, and to contribute to the
protection of survivors, communities and staff.

Data generated from Gender-based Violence programs must be handled with the utmost adherence
to ethical and safety standards. This is in part due to the client’s right to confidentiality and to control
their own private information. It is also an ethical imperative to that we not gather information from
survivors simply to publicize the issue but rather to respond to the needs of survivors. Furthermore,
GBV statistics often bring unwanted attention to programs or communities, and can increase risks to
staff and agencies and the communities they serve. However, sharing certain information
appropriately and safely can contribute to improving the humanitarian community’s response to GBV.
There is a lack of clear guidelines on how to safely share information on and across GBV programs.

IRC 1.18.07
This project will work with a variety of field and head-quarter actors to produce clear, commonly
accepted guidelines outlining how to share what information, with whom and for what purposes.

Result One: Develop specific guidelines for sharing GBV-related data and case information between
agencies and other actors.

 Develop draft guidelines for sharing GBV data and case information, building off of the draft WHO

   Submit draft guidelines to Technical Review Working Group for review;

   Redraft guidelines based on expert input;

   Publish final guidelines.

Monitoring & Evaluation

The monitoring and evaluation mechanism will need to be further developed as the proposal is
finalized. However, the need for establishing clear benchmarks and mechanisms for monitoring the
initiative is clear given the collaborative nature of the initiative and the utmost importance of involving
GBV technical experts at key steps in the process.

An initial suggestion is to identify the role the three main groups outlined in Table 1 can play in
ensuring that the initiative stays on track, progresses according to the work plan and involves the
necessary GBV technical experts.

A final evaluation of the process and resulting system should be planned and budgeted.

To be determined


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