The goal of NCA’s gender-based violence (GBV) programme is for women and girls to live empowered lives free from GBV. Within this programme, NCA and its partners aim to
• transform dominant norms to protect girls and women from violence and harmful practices
• provide access to life saving and specialised GBV services for survivors and women and girls at risk of violence
• empower women and adolescent girls to lead, build self-esteem and realise their rights
• reduce maternal mortality among women and adolescent girls
• promote access to comprehensive sexuality education and modern family planning for women and adolescents
In line with NCA’s commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, NCA’s GBV programme has a strong connection between development, humanitarian and advocacy work through collective outcomes.
GBV in Humanitarian Response
While providing humanitarian assistance to people affected by armed conflicts and other disasters, NCA takes the opportunity to also work to prevent and respond to inequality, GBV issues and harmful practices. Humanitarian interventions focused on shifting harmful practices concentrate on preventing practices that are exaggerated during conflict, displacement and disasters. These include early child marriages, forced marriages and intimate partner violence, in addition to exploitation, abuse and trafficking in women and girls for forced prostitution. The interventions will be implemented during a shorter time span than in long-term development settings, focusing on immediate impact, involving community groups and creating a critical mass for change.
NCA’s GBV in emergencies programmes focuses on establishing a multi-sectoral response model to ensure accessible lifesaving and specialised GBV services, either through local partners and/or directly. Protection and empowerment of adolescent girls and women is an important focus for NCA during emergency response, supporting women and girls to uphold their dignity and agency. Establishing SRHR services, with attention on adolescent girls and working with the objectives under the Minimum Initial Services Package to ensure access to SRHR, is therefore given priority.
GBV in Long-Term Development Work
NCA works to close the gender gap through addressing unequal power relationships between women and men. Addressing harmful norms and harmful practices requires addressing and unpack power. NCA’s norm changing programmes walk communities systematically through a change process, to avoid a chronic cycle of awareness raising that does not lead to sustainable change. Changing norms, and maintaining the change, must include a critical mass of people across all levels of society, from religious leaders, community leaders, teachers and police to women, men, boys and girls. Our phased approach helps NCA staff, partners and community members to reflect on their own lives and relationships before trying to influence others. NCA works with faith actors through dialogue, engaging them on theological reflections, national level advocacy, integrating issues of harmful practices in their teachings and mobilising their constituencies for change of social norms, both within the congregations and the wider communities. This important work takes place in both rural and urban areas. To ensure specialised services for survivors of GBV, NCA focuses on strengthening existing services, including local government and/or local civil society and faith structures.
Within the SRHR agenda, NCA supports better access to family planning services, allowing individuals to achieve desired birth spacing and family size. This also contributes to improved health of infants, children, women and families. Increased use of comprehensive sexuality education in schools and elsewhere is also prioritised. NCA’s contribution to the maternal mortality agenda is to work for integrated management of pregnancy and childbirth with focus on reducing the gap between the education of nurses/midwives and the practical health skills needs.
GBV and Advocacy
NCA concentrates on long term changes in political dynamics between women and men, increasing women’s agency and ability to influence political and public processes, and gain control over economic assets.
NCA and partners influence authorities in their development and implementation of legal norms, laws and regulations. Focus is on laws that prohibit harmful practices, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and all forms of violence against women and girls. The programme advocates for structural reform, holding states accountable for providing services for its population and in line with their human rights obligations, in addition to advocating for tax funded social protection systems which address inequalities between women and men. Systems reform is also prioritised, including systems and strategies to monitor and respond when rights are breached. Intervention at this level includes developing and building the capacity of statutory and traditional legal/justice systems, healthcare systems, social welfare systems and community mechanisms.
NCA advocates for increasing the representation of women and girls when conventions, resolutions, laws and policies are discussed and approved, and for women taking up leadership positions, both within the religious sphere and more widely in society (chairpersons, Ministers, etc.). Engagement with and advocating for human rights defenders is also paramount, so too is advocating for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, in addition to the Youth, Peace and Security agenda.
NCA will use international platforms like the UN Commission on Population and Development to work against the setback on the access and acceptance of SRHR services like modern family planning, comprehensive sexuality education and safe abortion for adolescents and women.