USAID/OFDA helped ensure children were safe and protected after the 2010 earthquake damaged their school in Haiti.
USAID/OFDA helped ensure children were safe and protected after the 2010 earthquake damaged their school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Natural disasters and conflict often exacerbate the vulnerability of individuals, requiring people to cope with additional threats that include sexual violence, theft, exploitative labor, and exclusion from life-saving humanitarian assistance. In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is at the forefront of the humanitarian community’s efforts to protect conflict- and disaster-affected communities by funding activities that mitigate these dangers. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, USAID/OFDA provided nearly $32.5 million to support stand-alone protection programs. Worldwide, these programs have supported more than 36 million people in 17 countries, providing services for child protection, psychosocial support, prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV), and coordination of and advocacy for protection activities.

USAID/OFDA is working with non-governmental organizations and the humanitarian community at large to call attention to and address the gaps in knowledge, tools, and capacity to provide vital emergency relief that promotes the safety, dignity and wellbeing of those affected by disasters. As part of these efforts, in 2013, USAID/OFDA, along with the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, developed a framework for action to address the particular protection risks for women and girls. This framework seeks to identify solutions to prevent and respond to GBV and mobilize the humanitarian community to take concrete action, particularly during the onset of an emergency. This framework later became an initiative called Safe from the Start, which Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled, emphasizing the need to protect women and girls from sexual assault and other violence in the face of conflict and disaster. Safe from the Start serves as the U.S. government’s commitment to a global call to action initially launched by the United Kingdom, and currently led by the United States.

Additional information on Safe from the Start and U.S. Leadership of the Call to Action to End Violence Against Women and Girls can be found here.

Protection Archive

Last updated: May 02, 2014

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