Does one size fit all when providing life-saving assistance in a humanitarian crisis? The needs and risks faced by women, girls, boys and men can be very different. Gender and age are key factors in determining the vulnerabilities and capacities of those hit by disasters or conflicts, both during and after the emergency situations. That's why the European Commission has launched a new toolkit, the Gender-Age Marker, to ensure that our humanitarian response is better targeted and adapted to the affected populations.
From this January, the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection ECHO has introduced the Gender-Age Marker as a quality tool for partners to assess to what extent each humanitarian action integrates gender and age considerations. Its toolkit explains how to use this new instrument and provides guidance on integrating gender and age concerns within humanitarian actions. Training opportunities on the marker will be offered to partner organisations both in Brussels and in the field. A test period is running until 1 July, allowing for modifications of the marker where necessary. From that date on, it will become mandatory except for certain projects (e.g. Enhanced Response Capacity).
So the answer is ‘no’: One size often does not fit all. Examples of adapted assistance include building separate latrines with locks and lights to reduce the risks of sexual violence against women and girls, or distributing food packages that are not too heavy to be carried by the elderly or children who are heads of household. The aim is to efficiently assist those in need and increase resilience and sustainability of aid by improving the capacity of all community members to prepare for, cope with and recover from emergencies.