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2019 Sub-Working Group Key Achievements

Currently, the IAWG includes 13 active Sub-Working Groups (SWGs), which meet regularly (either monthly or quarterly) to collaboratively feed into and further IAWG’s collective agenda. This annex summarizes each SWG’s key achievements in 2019.

Adolescent SRH

Of note, the ASRH SWG is one of the few SWGs that receives dedicated funding. While most of the activities noted below, are unfunded, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands funds a full-time, inter-agency ASRH position. This position provides support to the ASRH sub-working group and contributes substantial time to moving activities forward. ASRH accomplishments during the reporting period are as follows:

  • Conducted two regional TOT workshops on ASRH in Emergencies, equipping 32 humanitarians to implement programming and train others on ASRH (with dedicated funding from the Netherlands).
  • Supported one TOT workshop and two cascade trainings on ASRH in Emergencies from TOT participants of IAWG ASRH workshops (with dedicated funding from the Netherlands).
  • Finalized and translated training package for ASRH in Emergencies TOT package into Arabic, English, French, and Spanish (translations funded by the Netherlands).
  • Developed frontline worker training package, including counseling session for service providers, on ASRH in Emergencies.
  • Updated ASRH in Emergencies Fact Sheet.
  • Led a concurrent session, entitled “Designing Emergency Response with the Adolescent Girl in Mind,” at Women Deliver 2019, which was one of the few sessions selected to be live streamed on the conference’s website.
  • Co-organized ASRH Technical Consultation Event with more than 30 participants from humanitarian, development, and donor agencies to discuss ASRH research findings, lessons learned, and potential solutions to explore in 2019 and 2020.
  • Supported Women Deliver Young Leaders to release blog post on World Humanitarian Day.
  • Completed ASRH in Emergencies desk review and conducted consultations with more than 20 agencies to understand current gaps and guidance; conducted consultation workshop to review findings (from desk review and one-on-one discussion with IAWG ASRH members) and inform revision of ASRH Toolkit for Humanitarian Settings.
  • Finalized revision of ASRH Toolkit for Humanitarian Settings.
  • Increased coordination between IAWG and Compact for Young People in Humanitarian Action, including providing key inputs to Compact’s Youth Guidelines (released in 2019).

Advocacy and Accountability (AA)

The AA SWG held its annual in-person meeting at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York in April 2019. During the meeting, it defined its key ways of working (and general criteria for when to use each) and its top three advocacy priorities for the coming year, three “light-touch” priorities, and a priority cross-cutting theme. A detailed mapping of upcoming advocacy opportunities and member capacities was also undertaken.

AA Ways of Working:

  1. Conduct publicly facing, joint IAWG advocacy to advance shared goals
  2. Coordinate/align advocacy led by individual members to ensure collective impact
  3. Share policy analyses, advocacy messages and materials developed by individual members
  4. Ensure general coordination and information sharing among members
  5. Assure strategic external engagement representing IAWG/advancing a collective agenda

The AA SWG agreed that the cross-cutting theme they would commit to involves SGBV in Crisis-Affected Settings. The SWG also identified the following priorities for AA investment:

  1. IAWG Statements on Key Humanitarian Crises,
  2. IAWG Annual Meeting, and
  3. ICPD+25. Likewise, “light-touch investments” identified included Women Deliver, FP2020, and SC Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security.

Emergency Preparedness and Resilience

This newly formed group was invested in developing its terms of reference, including the activities for the year, and building membership.

Gender-based Violence

  • Began an informal collaboration with the GBV Area of Responsibility (AoR);
  • Hosted four webinars on a range of GBV topics (including partnering with the GBV AoR on several of the webinar);
  • Disseminated GBV-related resources across our group listserv; and
  • Proposed and planned a GBV Research focused side event for the 2020 IAWG meeting.


  • LGBTIQA+ sub-working group has held 6 meetings and increased participation to a total of 39 people globally including members new to the IAWG community.
  • Successful acceptance and preparation of an IAWG meeting side event dedicated to LGBTIQA+ inclusion: the first of its kind in IAWG history.
  • Preparation of a webinar to understand institutional barriers and strategies to support LGBTIQA+ inclusion within humanitarian programming.
  • Create and include new resources to the online IAWG LGBTIQA+ resource library for organisations to access and share.
  • Acted as a knowledge hub and connector of organisations globally to share best practices, innovation and connect likeminded organisations and champions.
  • Updated the LGBTIQA+ advocacy messages and statistics to support inclusion efforts.

Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH)

  • Completed stock-taking of MNH technical guidelines, training materials and data collection tools.
  • Strengthened engagement with Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP), contributing to development of Roadmap to Accelerate
  • Progress for Every Newborn in Humanitarian Settings 2020-2025. Produced advocacy brief on MNH in Emergencies to accompany roadmap.
  • Organized panel on MNH in humanitarian settings at 2019 Women Deliver and presented on MNH priorities and guidelines at multiple global health practitioner conferences and technical meetings.
  • Contributed to development of MISP Distance Learning Module and updating of reproductive health and newborn supply kits for humanitarian settings.

Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP)

  • A task team of the MISP SWG lead the revision of the MISP Reference Sheet (formerly the MISP cheat sheet/synopsis). The MISP Reference Sheet is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese (translated by UNFPA for the Mozambique response).
  • The MISP Task team also undertook the revision of the MISP Distance Learning Module – a self-instructional course which aims to increase humanitarian actors’ and partners’ knowledge of priority SRH services. It also provides the information and tools needed to implement the MISP for SRH activities. Historically, the MISP Distance Learning Module has been the most popular resource on IAWG’s website.

Safe Abortion Care (SAC)

  • Finalized a candidate set of core abortion-related indicators that align with the standards of care outlined in the 2018 IAFM.
  • These indicators have been incorporated into two multi-country studies to determine whether they can be routinely collected in humanitarian settings.
  • Finalized talking points on safe abortion care in the MISP and published on the IAWG website
  • Built out “10 steps for starting or expanding SAC programming” into a brief, narrative guide, which will be published on the IAWG website with links to resources.
  • Advised WHO on how to better incorporate humanitarian settings into the upcoming revision of their SAC guidelines. (A number of IAWG SAC SWG members participated, and the consultant who is revising the guidelines is an active member of the SWG.)
  • Held a workshop to develop a “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” (PLGHA) - compliant Field Manual. This guide redacts the Field Manual rather than revises it, so that it is both compliant and makes clear what has been removed. The FAQ document also makes clear how compliant organizations can continue to engage with safe abortion care.

SRH Data and Research

  • Developed a workshop on SRH research priorities at the bi-annual IAWG meeting to assess progress made since the October 2018 meeting and plan future steps to continue to move the work forward (workshop postponed to 2021).
  • Participated in WHO-led effort to ensure the consistent inclusion of SRH indicators with sex and age disaggregation in surveillance systems.
  • Engaged in WHO SRH research priority setting process.
  • Supported the IAWG bi-annual meeting through participation in the abstract selection task team.

SRH Supplies

  • Developed information brief on improving SRH supplies across the emergency programming cycle, focusing on humanitarian/development nexus entry points (preparedness, post-acute transition to stable supply chains).
  • Strengthened collaboration with the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC). o SWG representatives presented during plenary and panel sessions during RHSC’s members meeting in Nepal in March 2019.
    • Co-hosted the supplies advocacy meeting in October 2019 and shared outcomes document with agreed advocacy asks.
    • Co-drafted an advocacy brief.
  • Participated in the Humanitarian Health Supplies (HHS) coordination group meeting and other supplies-related meetings.


Previously, the STIs/HIV/AIDS SWG was inactive. Members reactivated the group and spent this time investing in developing its terms of reference, including the activities for the year, and building membership.

Training Partnership Initiative (TPI)

The TPI SWG is another IAWG SWG that receives dedicated funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • Piloted a new LARC sexual and reproductive health clinical outreach refresher training (S-CORT) in collaboration with CARE in Kathmandu, Nepal (February 2019), Goma, DRC (May 2019), and Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (October 2019).
  • The Uterine Evacuation in Crisis Settings Using Medications, drafted by Ipas, was piloted with the manual vacuum aspiration S-CORT in Yumbe, Uganda (Ipas & Médecins du Monde/April 2019) and in Maiduguri, Nigeria (Ipas & CARE Nigeria/July 2019).
  • A PLGHA compliant version of the uterine evacuation with medications and manual vacuum aspiration modules were developed and piloted for a pilot in Goma, DRC (Ipas, CARE DRC, Save the Children DRC/August 2019).
  • Providers who participated in the LARC and uterine evacuation trainings received a follow-up visit at three months after the training to assess their knowledge and skills from the training and provide additional capacity development support.
  • Collaborated with the World Health Organization/Global Health Cluster on the pilot of the MISP to comprehensive SRH participatory planning toolkit in Yemen in February and March 2019, primarily through remote technical support and analysis of the data collected as part of the toolkit evaluation.
  • Established new partnerships with UNFPA DRC and UNFPA Bangladesh to implement follow-up to the MISP to comprehensive SRH planning workshops. As a result of the partnership in the DRC, the recently revised national midwifery curriculum now includes the MISP, and select midwifery training institutes in three provinces of the Kasai will be refurbished, equipped with a sufficient amount of training supplies and models, and in-service training and teaching staff further supported.

Voluntary Contraception

  • Contributed to the development of the High Impact Practices (HIP) for Family Planning Strategic Planning Guide on FP in humanitarian settings.
  • Strategized and contributed to message development ahead of key conferences and opportunities, including Women Deliver, ICPD+25, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) meeting, and the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) trials.

Sexual and reproductive health services remain critical during COVID-19

IAWG members and partners are producing clinical and programmatic guidance, assessments, policy papers, and statements to ensure continued prioritization of sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout COVID-19 response in humanitarian settings.