Good shelter programming must include mitigation measures throughout the project cycle in order to reduce Gender-Based Violence (GBV) risks.
Shelters must be habitable, and provide physical safety and adequate space, as well as protection against the elements. They are also homes where people seek well-being and safety, especially so in displacement. In essence, shelter offers protection. However, it is not enough to build shelters. These — and settlements in which shelters are built — also need to provide protection from violence, including gender-based violence (GBV). Potential GBV risk mitigation interventions in shelter programmes should be informed by a gender and risk analysis conducted at the start of the programme. In this way shelter practitioners are more likely to identify risks before they unintentionally cause harm. The appropriate inclusion of, for example, gender and female participation in projects has the potential not only to improve women’s status in society but also to reduce risks that can lead to GBV. However, when done without a proper assessment of gender dynamics and roles, the involvement of women may inadvertently lead to a decrease in men’s control of the recovery process, contributing to domestic, intimate partner and other types of GBV.
Mainstreaming GBV should help to achieve better shelter projects that proactively aim to avoid or reduce harm. It is a strategy and process that can help staff — including shelter staff — to reduce the vulnerabilities of affected populations. A focus on GBV risk mitigation and gender-specific needs and capacities ensures more relevant shelter assistance which meets individuals' needs.