How USAID is addressing gender-based violence in conflict areas

Women and girls are disproportionately harmed in armed conflict. They are targets of sexual violence and face greater work burdens after losing their partners to war. And yet they are more likely to be sidelined from peace-building and conflict resolution efforts. So how is the U.S. Agency for International Development dealing with this problem?

“We’re trying to take steps to just change the way we do business, to reduce women’s vulnerabilities,” Caren Grown, outgoing senior coordinator on gender equality and women’s empowerment at USAID, shared to Devex. Grown, who is also senior gender adviser at USAID’s Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning, said the agency is working to ensure women in refugee camps have fuel-efficient stoves, for example, so that women won’t have to leave their shelters to look for fuel.

Even proposal guidelines have been revised to incorporate new requirements related to improving the situation of women in conflict areas. The revised guidelines require implementing partners to identify in their proposals the specific steps that will be taken to reduce the risks for harm, exploitation and abuse, among others.

Grown also discussed how USAID is engaging men and boys in the drive for gender equality, such as using the education system to help change norms of masculinity that tolerate or accept gender-based violence or abuse of women.

Click the video above to watch the full interview.

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About the author

  • Sharmila Parmanand

    Sharmila is currently an instructor at the University of Vermont. She has a master’s degree in gender and development and has supervised and conducted research projects on human trafficking and related issues. She has also worked as a debate and public-speaking consultant in more than 20 countries.

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