You may not think so, but you are already mainstreaming protection!

By Laura Lungarotti

When migrants are hosted in a transit center which allows privacy for families, pregnant and lactating women and easy access for disabled individuals, IOM is ensuring meaningful access to its services. When, IOM prioritizes the emergency transportation of families and affected individuals on the basis of their exposure to risks of violence and not on the basis of their sex, age, gender, nationality and ethnic allegiance, IOM prioritizes safety and avoids unintended negative consequences of its action.

When women, men, girls and boys face violence or abuse, humanitarian actors risk becoming part of the problem, if they do not understand how their own actions can affect people’s safety and dignity. Moreover, migrants, including internally displaced persons, and affected communities might be exposed in different ways to risks such as neglect, abuse and other forms of violence.

Understanding the various factors that affect an individual’s and communities’ exposure to risks (e.g. socio-demographic characteristics; capacities; locations and the crisis induced factors) and how they interplay with each other, is key to building solid and meaningful responses to crises.

Mainstreaming protection is fundamentally about maximizing the impact of our action during crisis response. It is about how IOM responses are conceived and implemented. Protection mainstreaming is the responsibility of all IOM staff involved in crisis response.

IOM adheres to the Global Protection Cluster Definition of Protection Mainstreaming and is committed to engraining the four protection mainstreaming principles of:

1) minimizing any unintended negative consequences of IOM action and prioritizing safety and dignity of the affected individuals and communities;

2) ensuring their meaningful access to aid and services without discrimination;

3) fostering participation and empowerment and

4) holding IOM accountable to affected populations and ensuring they have a say on the quality of services and assistance provided;  

into all phases of the response across the 15 sectors of assistance of the Migration Crisis Operational Framework. From transport assistance for affected populations, to (re) integration assistance, and emergency consular assistance, all projects falling into one or more of the IOM sectors of assistance should mainstream protection.

How can you do that? Familiarize yourself and ensure compliance with the recently released instruction IN/232 (Guidance Note on how to mainstream protection across IOM crisis response) and discover tools to guide you while mainstreaming protection across the project life-cycle.

Interact and coordinate with other key partners and stakeholders in charge of assistance and protection and ensure you are guided by the same principles. Ask for trainings and specific support to enhance what you are already doing and consult regularly IOM intranet and inter-agency websites on protection mainstreaming.

Watch, get inspired and share the video on how IOM mainstreams protection in responding to crises.