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Research on Challenges, barriers and Opportunities for Women led CSOs-Consultancy

Kabul (Afghanistan)

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: Kabul (Afghanistan)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Civil Society and Local governance
  • Closing Date:

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Humanitarian crises disproportionately affect women and girls, and the most marginalized and vulnerable in society, and can exacerbate pre-existing gender and social inequalities. Furthermore, women and girls, and the organizations they are part of and lead (in this document referred to as women’s rights and women-led organizations), remain underrepresented in humanitarian coordination, programming, and financing. Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls (GEEWG) is an important catalyst for localization. To this end, a range of guidance notes and tools have been developed in recent years to guide what is known as ‘gender-responsive localization’ – an approach which this ToR integrates.

In 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit called for increasing local actors’ involvement, announcing a shift towards more national and locally led preparedness and response efforts. Member States, UN agencies and international NGOs agreed on the need to invest in frontline responders, namely national and local actors and to reinforce local capacities, by increasing the amount of funding channeled to local responders.Signatories committed to “more support and funding tools to local and national responders” towards “making principled humanitarian action as local as possible and as international as necessary”.Yet, only a marginal percentage of funding goes directly to local actors and the percentage aimed to support women’s local organizations remains unknown due to the system’s limitations to collect comprehensive data on financing. Challenges persist in relation to implementing gender-responsive localization, especially in the current political and security climate in Afghanistan with additional barriers and risks posed on local women-led and women’s rights organizations (WLOs and WROs). Successive Grand Bargain Annual Reports and the IASC Gender Accountability Framework Report confirm that significant gaps remain. The Grand Bargain ‘Friends of Gender’ Group works to place the issue of increased, quality and sustainable funding for local WLOs and WROs at the center of discussions on gender-responsive localization, while addressing some of the risks associated with localization such as increased funding for male-dominated local and national organizations.

At its heart, gender-responsive localization is the recognition of the important role that WROs and WLOs play in a more localized humanitarian ecosystem and of the need to promote the meaningful participation, transformative leadership, and collective action of women and girls of all backgrounds at all stages of humanitarian action. In Afghanistan, CSOs are led by women at both national and sub-national levels, including as members of the Gender in Humanitarian Action Working Group, which commissioned this consultancy, as well as being represented through the newly established Afghan Women’s Advisory Group to the Humanitarian Country Team. Theirs is a critical collective voice in the pursuit of gender-responsive localization that is fit for the Afghanistan context.

In addition, women’s CSOs are under-represented in humanitarian coordination fora and decision-making processes while their existence and operation are crucial in humanitarian preparedness and response to reach out to the most marginalized affected populations.

Despite playing a key role within the humanitarian community, there is growing evidence that indicates Women led CSOs are still inadequately and inconsistently supported in humanitarian responses at all levels.

With the recent political developments occurred in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 15, specially in terms of regression of women´s rights, the work and operational space of women led CSOs has shrink to an extent still to be determined. Additionally, the evolving circumstances, which differ among provinces, along with security concerns difficult a reliable assessment of the situation.

Commissioned by the Gender in Humanitarian (GiHA) working group for the Afghanistan humanitarian response, co- lead by IRC and UN Women, this study aims to better understand specific barriers and challenges faced by women led CSOs operating in Afghanistan as well as opportunities for strengthening gender-responsive localization and women’s CSOs' participation in the humanitarian response in Afghanistan.

Scope and objectives

The main purpose of this consultancy is to design and conduct a research study on the challenges, barriers and opportunities of women led CSOs across Afghanistan working in different sectors, to inform programming and better support their participation and leadership within the humanitarian response.

In particular, the research with focus in achieving the following specific objectives:

1) Exploring the experiences and perspectives of women led CSOs regarding their participation in humanitarian coordination structures, decision-making processes and access to funding, understanding specific constraints and barriers.

2) Identifying the type and nature of the partnerships between Women led CSOs and responding actors and donors, including access to sufficient financial and technical support.

3) Understanding the political, bureaucratic, and socio-cultural constraints that hamper women led CSOs operational capacity and the differences between different sectors and service provision

4) Identifying opportunities and innovative approaches to safely engage women led CSOs in the humanitarian response to the crisis and increase access to funding. 5) Providing recommendations to different stakeholders, including INGOs, UN agencies and donors on how to better support women led CSOs in Afghanistan and diaspora.


The lead consultant will be responsible for:

  1. Designing a methodology and data collection tools in consultation with GiHA WG co-chairs.
  2. Conducting desk review on current context for women led CSOs across the country.
  3. Developing, survey questionnaires
  4. Analysing and organizing gathered information.
  5. Drafting and finalizing research report.
  6. Identifying key areas of concern and areas of improvement in research design and implementation.
  7. Presenting the work in written and verbal form to different stakeholders.
  8. Design and Translation of the final report in Dari and Pashto language.
  9. Deliver an online training to IRC staff and produce a 2-3-page training report.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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