La DG ECHO s'est engagée à intégrer l'égalité entre hommes et femmes dans le cadre de ses activités
Photo : EC/ECHO/Patrick Lambrechts
Populations affected by humanitarian crises are are made up of different ages and genders. Women, children and the elderly constitute the majority of those affected by crises. Yet, while assistance often focuses on them, aid activities are at times designed without considering their specific needs. For instance, water containers should not be too heavy so that children or elderly women are actually able to carry them.
Moreover, natural disasters and human-made crises are not gender neutral - they have a different impact on women, girls, boys, men and elderly persons. Thus, humanitarian assistance must take gender and age into account when responding effectively to the different needs and abilities of different groups.
Aid that is gender- and age-insensitive is less effective. It risks not reaching the most vulnerable people or failing to respond adequately to their specific needs. Furthermore, it could expose vulnerable populations to risks such as sexual and gender-based violence.
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) supports actions specifically targeted at women (e.g. nutrition support to pregnant and breast-feeding women), children (e.g. child protection or education in emergencies) and elderly people (e.g. health assistance to elderly people living in isolated communities). At the same time, gender and age considerations need to be better mainstreamed in all operations.
To ensure the quality of humanitarian responses, gender and age issues must be systematically considered when developing and carrying out humanitarian operations.
In line with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid and following recommendations from a Gender Review , ECHO has outlined its approach to gender in the Staff Working Document on Gender in Humanitarian Assistance: Different Needs, Adapted Assistance . Aid projects funded through the EU humanitarian budget are expected to follow the guidance mentioned in this paper.
In 2014, a Gender-Age Marker will be introduced for humanitarian projects. This tool will promote and track gender- and age-sensitive humanitarian interventions. The marker builds on lessons learned from existing tools. It has already been successfully piloted in four locations.