Preventing Gender-based Violence, Building Livelihoods – Guidance and Tools for Improved Programming

Conflict and displacement destroy livelihoods and force people to adopt new strategies to support themselves. New livelihood strategies can increase the risk of gender-based violence (GBV). Women often have no safety net; they usually flee with few resources and little preparation and may become separated from or lose family members. A lack of access to economic opportunities while displaced often forces women and girls to resort to harmful measures to survive.

Women often face a trade-off between their protection and their livelihood. Most women in crisis situations actively seek to earn money, despite knowing the risks that having or earning money may bring. They need to make informed livelihood choices and to shape their livelihood options. Programs need to involve women throughout the project lifecycle—assessment and design; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation.

The Women’s Refugee Commission found that the evidence of impact on protection from livelihood approaches in crisis settings is scarce, and that the literature on impact from noncrisis settings is fragmented and focuses predominantly on domestic violence. This guidance is therefore based on promising practices on how to design safe economic programs and livelihood activities.

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