When the UNHCR evaluated some GBV programs in Tanzania in January of 2000, it discovered that the NGOs and UN agencies collecting GBV data in the area were all using different terminology as well as classifying and counting procedures. They found that “programme strategies and activities were guided by subjective impressions and not by analysis of data and evaluation of intended outcomes. None of the NGOs had a system for compiling data which was useful and effective for analyzing incident rates, types, risk factors, contributing/causative factors, survivor details, perpetrator details, or case outcomes. […] Monthly [Implementer Partner] reports to UNHCR contained inconsistent information and it was not possible to glean an understanding of problems and successes across a region [of Tanzania].”
It soon became apparent that this was not only a problem in Tanzania, but in many locations. Over the course of the next five years, the UNHCR, RHRC and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee all produced documents in an attempt to improve GBV programming, monitoring and evaluation, and information management. While helpful, these documents failed to produce sustained results.
In 2005 and 2006 WHO and UNFPA hosted a consultation and a symposium which called for a standardized system for GBV information management. In 2006, as a result of this call to action, the IRC hired a consultant, funded by OCHA, to assess the situation and recommend how to move forward. At the same time, the UNHCR began developing a standardized database.
In 2007, the GBVIMS Global Team was established; this inter-agency partnership consisted of members from UNFPA, IRC and UNHCR. The GBVIMS Global Team developed and piloted the first GBVIMS that year in Thailand. From that time until today, the GBVIMS and its tools have been piloted in more countries, modified and improved. After several years of development and the participation of numerous humanitarian agencies and organizations, the GBVIMS is ready to be launched.
The GBVIMS is a response to the fact that as of today, the humanitarian community does not have a system that allows for the effective and safe collection, storage, analysis and sharing of GBV-related data. This affects humanitarian actors’ ability to obtain a reliable picture of the GBV being reported. It also minimizes the utility of collected data to inform program decisions for effective GBV prevention and care for survivors. Due to the sensitive nature of GBV data and concerns by many frontline GBV actors in how GBV data is used, there is also very limited information-sharing between key stakeholders. This hampers GBV coordination and limits a multi-sectoral response.