IAWG members are addressing sexual and reproductive rights during COVID-19 humanitarian response. Read More>>

COVID-19 Response

In March 2020, IAWG launched a COVID-19 Taskforce in recognition of the urgent need for a rapid response mechanism that could source and disseminate information quickly and co-create tools and resources together with implementers. IAWG launched a COVID-19 hub on IAWG.net shortly afterward where it shared out IAWG-developed programmatic guidance, tools, and advocacy resources, in addition to curating relevant external resources continuously.

Ongoing advocacy resulted in the inclusion of IAWG’s recommendations to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. These include an indicator to track progress of contraception and family planning continuity in the “COVID-19 health situation and needs monitoring indicators”; explicit inclusion of sexual and reproductive health in the mentions of “essential health services” throughout the Plan; and inclusion of language that life-saving GBV and SRH services in line with the Minimum Initial Service Package for SRH in Crisis-Settings are considered “essential” and must be made accessible to refugees, migrants, IDPs, people of concern and host population groups.

In light of the many ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has required that we rethink our usual ways of working in humanitarian contexts, IAWG organized a webinar series, Frontlines in Focus: Critical Conversations on Reproductive Healthcare During COVID-19 Response, which provided a space to connect, exchange information about COVID-19 innovations and adaptions, seek support and advice from frontline experts, and inform IAWG's response to help meet implementer needs during the COVID-19 response. Following the webinar series, IAWG undertook design research with our partner, Scope Impact, to inform the creation of a vibrant community of practice among SRHR implementers in humanitarian settings, which we plan to launch in 2021. The study utilized a mixed methodology of WhatsApp chat groups and key informant interviews to speak with 71 humanitarians working on the frontline of SRHR in 22 countries, including Yemen, Bangladesh, Niger, Tchad, and others.

Key contributing findings were transformed into six opportunity areas for co-creation and testing in the next phase of the project, including:

  1. Opportunity to build a seamless online and offline network to create a reliable and equitable experience.
  2. Opportunity to facilitate bringing members together to exchange ways of coping with professional and emotional challenges of humanitarian work.
  3. Opportunity to disrupt unintentional inequality of access to networks and information.
  4. Opportunity for frontline implementers to create an information validation system.
  5. Opportunity to support a member-led network, which fosters organic learning and sharing directed by members.
  6. Opportunity to collect and utilize data to amplify and lobby for the collective needs of Frontline implementers and those they work with and for.