Evaluation of the Safe from the Start (SftS) Initiative
US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)
South Sudan, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United States
January 2019 - November 2019
In humanitarian emergencies – when vulnerability and risk are pervasive and community protections are severed – women and girls are at heightened risk of gender-based violence (GBV). The United States launched the Safe from the Start Initiative in 2013 in response to the global Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence in Emergencies. Jointly implemented by DOS/PRM and the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, Safe from the Start aims to reduce the incidence of GBV and ensure quality services for survivors from the onset and during emergency situations. Safe from the Start invests in interventions that strengthen the capacity and coordination of the humanitarian system to prevent and respond to GBV through training sectoral staff in GBV risk mitigation, building a cadre of GBV experts, deploying these experts to high-level emergencies, and coordinating local actors to implement lifesaving response and services for survivors.
From 2013-2019, Safe from the Start funds were directed to 16 different organizations working on the frontlines of humanitarian response. While different Safe from the Start interventions have been evaluated by implementing partners, there had not yet been an external evaluation of the wider initiative, including how Safe from the Start investments have influenced the humanitarian system’s coordinated and consistent response to GBV in emergencies. To inform future investments in Safe from the Start, DOS/PRM sought to better understand current progress and roadblocks in building a systemic response within the humanitarian community to GBV prevention and response.
DOS/PRM contracted Resonance, and its subcontractor Navanti, to conduct a survivor-centered and primarily qualitative evaluation of Safe from the Start, to document progress, uncover roadblocks, and provide PRM with recommendations to better tailor, design, and build upon Safe from the Start investments. The scope of the evaluation was limited to four major Safe from the Start funding recipients – International Medical Corps (IMC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – from 2014 to present. The evaluation consisted of: