An annotated bibliography of various do no harm guidelines (with embedded files)

The Do No Harm approach (DNH) was designed in the 1990s as a tool for designing, evaluating and re-designing aid and development cooperation programs in a conflict context. The approach has been designed on the basis of the experience of many NGOs in the field. Here I want to give a quick and practical overview on how it works and what questions to ask. For a more thorough approach be sure to check out Mary B. Anderson’s older publication, but nonetheless useful Do No Harm. How Aid can Support Peace - Or War and the wealth of information at the Collaborative of Development Action’s (CDA) website: //www.cdainc.com//. CDA has been the key player in getting this tool developed, published and implemented (Source: A Peace Builder's Journal)

CARE Guidelines


Women's Empowerment Guidance Note 1: Ethical and Effective Discussions of Trauma
  • This document provides a comprehensive overview of ethical and effective practices for interviewing women about GBV. Starting with a discussion of the support services and security measures that must be in place prior to beginning research, the authors also address sampling techniques, community awareness, cultural and language barriers to disclosure, staff selection and training, and interview techniques.
Women's Empowerment Guidance Note 2: Physical and Psychological Safety...
  • This document deals with physical and psychological safety risks for survivors of trauma, whether gender-based or otherwise. It discusses risk assessment, community involvement, preparing the research setting, research methods, skill building, and techniques to prevent and address retraumatization in the research environment.
Women’s Empowerment Guidance Note 3: Enacting our Principles in the Research Process
  • A table which enumerates key CARE operating principles and questions to consider in applying these principles to both internal operations and external programming and research.
Reducing Risks for Unintentional Harm in Programs to Prevent and Address GBV
  • This briefing highlights several ways that CARE staff may cause unintentional harm in conducting GBV programming and research. It emphasizes the need to put in place systems of accountability and quality control to ensure that CARE fulfills its moral obligation to do no harm to trauma survivors and their communities.
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External Guidelines


IASC Guidelines on Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings
  • The Inter-Agency Standing Committee's guidelines on conducting GBV work in emergency settings, with an overview of GBV incidence, a discussion of the purpose and application of the guidelines, a glossary of terms, and action sheets addressing GBV measures in 10 key aspects of emergency work (coordination, assessment, water and sanitation programs, etc.)
IASC Mental Health Guidelines
  • Comprehensive guide to providing psychosocial services in emergency settings, including background materials, core principles, FAQ’s, and action sheets for minimum response in 11 key areas.
Clinical Management of Rape Survivors
  • The WHO's thorough guide to assisting rape survivors in refugee and IDP settings, from the physical exam and medical treatment to counseling and follow-up care. Includes information on child victims. Provides ample supplementary materials, including sample consent, examination, and medical history forms and pictograms as well as protocols for HIV exposure, emergency contraception, and STI exposure.
Synopsis: SGBV Against Refugees, Returnees, and Internally Displaced Persons...
  • This overview of UNHCR’s guildelines for prevention and response to SGBV among displaced populations addresses all levels of intervention, from direct services for survivors to national advocacy and interagency coordination. Like the IRC article cited above (“Addressing Sexual Vioelnce in Humanitarian Emergencies”) UNHCR emphasizes the need for multi-sectoral, coordinated programming among all humanitarian actors engaged in a particular setting.
Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting, and Monitoring Sexual Violence...
  • WHO hosted an expert consultation in December, 2006 to develop recommendations for addressing SGBV in emergencies. At that meeting, experts from humanitarian, health, and human rights organizations; academic and research institutions; and donors discussed a range of field experiences, issues, lessons, and good practices related to sexual violence inquiries in emergency (and post-emergency)settings. By the end of the three day expert meeting, the group identified a set of eight recommendations which then became this document. [draft]
Addressing Sexual Violence in Humanitarian Emergencies
  • This article, published in Global Public Health by the IRC, provides a broad overview of the incidence, impacts, and contributing factors to sexual violence in humanitarian emergencies. It advocates a multi-sectoral response model, referencing several additional resources such as the IASC guidelines and the Reproductive Health in Conflict Consortium’s GBV Tools Manual. A brief case study of Darfur is also reviewed.
Researching Domestic Violence Against Women: Methodological and Ethical Considerations
  • This academic article addresses methodological concerns affecting the validity of research findings on GBV. It takes as a case study three population-based surveys conducted in Nicaragua between 1995-1998. The authors conclude, “prevalence estimates for violence are highly sensitive to methodological factors, and…underreporting is a significant threat to validity.” It includes questionnaires with specific topics and questions from the Nicaraguan studies.
UNICEF Ethical Guidelines for Reporting on Children
  • This 2-page document lays out UNICEF’s applicable research principles, followed by specific guidelines for interviewing children and reporting on child victims and perpetrators of crime, abuse, and HIV-AIDS.
Monitoring Implementation of the MISP: A Check List
  • The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (a.k.a. The Women’s Refugee Committee) created this checklist of 6 priority activities which constitute a minimum initial service package (MISP) in the area of reproductive health for women in emergencies. Each priority area lists a number of specific action items to fulfill that objective.
Gender-based Violence Tools Manual: Program Design Tools
  • The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children compiled this practical guide to the design, monitoring and evaluation of GBV programs. This excerpt presents the "causal pathway framework" as a fundamental program design model. A number of sample documents and other resources are provided, including a list of recruitment do's and don'ts; GBV program job descriptions; screening tools; interview guides; rights and responsibilities of staff and beneficiaries; and a code of conduct.


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