What is protection mainstreaming?
Protection mainstreaming is an imperative for all humanitarian actors engaged in humanitarian responses, it ensures that protection lens is incorporated into operations, allowing the identification of vulnerabilities, gaps and trends. It is a way of designing and implementing all programs so that protection risks and potential violations are taken into consideration.
To mainstream protection, actors need to understand who is at risk, from what or whom as well as why, and the consequences their actions or inaction may have on the threats people experience and their vulnerability and capacity vis a vis these threats. This includes knowing how and where to refer people in need for specialist support to prevent or recover from violence and exploitation, as well as understanding when, how, and to whom to refer specialized protection issues.
The following four elements must be taken into account in all humanitarian activities:
Prioritize Safety and Dignity, and Avoid Causing Harm: Prevent and minimize as much as possible any unintended negative effects of your intervention which can increase people’s vulnerability to both physical and psychosocial risks.
Meaningful Access: Arrange for people’s access to assistance and services in proportion to need and without barriers. Pay special attention to individuals and groups who may be particularly vulnerable or have difficulty accessing assistance and services.
Accountability: Set-up appropriate mechanisms, through which affected populations can measure the adequacy of interventions, and address concerns and complaints.
Participation and Empowerment: Support the development of communities’ and individual capacities and assist people to claim their rights, including – not exclusively – the rights to shelter, food, water and sanitation, health, and education.