London, 13 November 2013
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has thrown its weight behind an initiative by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) to ensure global action to address violence against women and girls in humanitarian situations such as the on-going crisis caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
In the wake of disaster or conflict women and girls face very particular sets of challenges – and the risks associated with sexual violence escalate in situations where large parts of a population are displaced or where law and order have broken down.
Women who are pregnant at the time of a crisis, young people separated from their families – the challenges are varied and enormous and must be given equal weight in any humanitarian response.
IPPF's Director General Tewodros Melesse said: "Imagine what it must be like to be separated from your family, forced to flee your home and then find yourself living in a tent, among strangers, vulnerable to sexual violence.
"The risks faced by women and girls need particular attention – whether it is the danger of sexual exploitation by the people controlling the food supply or being able to deliver a baby in safe, hygienic circumstances.
"IPPF is a grassroots organization – we work through 152 Member Associations in more than 170 countries. So when disaster strikes we are already there working for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Our emergency packs (the Minimum Initial Service Package or MISP) contain vital supplies from equipment to enable the delivery of babies, through to emergency contraception, condoms, anti-retroviral drugs and much more."
By 2015, IPPF will provide more than 1.2 million sexual and gender-based violence services to women and girls.
Dfid's summit – on 13 November 2013 – will bring together a host of international agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) including IPPF.
As a global service provider and leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all, including those living in humanitarian settings, IPPF is at the forefront when it comes to assisting women and girls during conflict, in its wake and when natural disaster strikes.
We also work with women and girls in situations arising from trafficking, early and forced marriage and harmful practices including female genital mutilation.
All of these situations result in specific vulnerabilities and dangers to women and girls. IPPF together with its Member Associations works with a wide variety of other agencies to make sure essential medical life-saving services and support get through.
And we're there for the long haul, ensuring that these solutions are matched with long-term needs and that they have a developmental impact for the whole community.
Notes for editors
IPPF is a pioneer and key implementing agent of the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Crisis).
Since 2007, IPPF has trained more than 400 lead trainers and 4,000 national co-ordinators across 95 countries. Our work continues to evolve and expand to meet the needs of those affected by crises.
This includes both sides of the Syria crisis through our Syrian Member Association based in Damascus and through our Jordanian Member Association working in the refugee camps.
We are also expanding services in the Democratic Republic of Congo following a recent visit by IPPF's Director General, Tewodros Melesse and by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and UNFPA's Executive Director.
Working through our Member Association in Uganda, our SPRINT programme supported the provision of sexual reproductive health services to approximately 9,000 refugees in Uganda affected and fleeing the protracted conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We have also made a number of key advocacy advances for instance in Pakistan, the government has integrated the MISP into National, Provincial, and District Disaster Management Authority policies.