Skip to content

Gender and Public Health Emergencies: Introducing our new grant awardees!

We are pleased to introduce the five projects that have been awarded small grants for their work focused on research, advocacy and programmatic interventions related to gender and public health emergencies.

Launched late last year the GPHE working group scheme supports organisations working on aspects of gender and public health emergencies, with a focus on evaluating GPHE interventions, research on lessons learned on gender considerations during health emergencies, success stories on gender and public health, and for workshops or other educational programs related to gender and public health emergencies.

Documenting the resilience of survivors of conflict related sexual violence in Kibra and Mathare, Nairobi through art and storytelling – Kenya

Principal investigator – Yvonne Anyango Oyieke, Lawyer

The Utu Wetu Trust has been awarded a grant to document the resilience of survivors of conflict related sexual violence in Kibra and Mathare, Nairobi through art and storytelling. The project will be implemented for six months and will also advocate for reparations for sexual violence through the memorialisation of the experiences of survivors, highlight the resilience of survivor communities in response to challenges caused by public health emergencies, contribute to discourse around gender and public health emergencies by illustrating best practices and lessons learned from the margins, and contribute to collective healing as part of reparations for sexual violence through artistic expression and storytelling.

Victims and survivors of sexual violence during conflict often struggle to access justice and accountability. Some of the documented effects include lasting emotional trauma that can manifest as anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and other associated disorders, as well as physical problems such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and other physical trauma. Survivors are frequently ostracised within their own communities for prolonger psychological impact. These effects were further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic which, like other complex emergencies, had a disproportionate impact on women and girls and increased their vulnerability to gender based violence (GBV). Despite these challenges survivor communities have shown themselves to be remarkably resilient, continuing to advocate for themselves and work to prevent violence and ensure a safer community for all. This project will rely specifically on artistic expression through storytelling or performance to amplify gender perspectives in health emergencies and highlight the resilience of survivors of sexual violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Art is a powerful communicator, and the project will curate a festival of art and storytelling by survivors in their own voice. It will highlight the innovative ways survivors of sexual violence navigated COVID-19, thus contributing to the body of knowledge around response to and prevention of GBV.

A community-based participatory research study with Ecuadorian women about childbirth experiences during emergencies – Ecuador

Principal investigator – María del Carmen Gangotena, Senior Researcher

A grant has been awarded to the Vivir Association for their three month project “A Community-Based Participatory Research Study with Ecuadorian Women About Childbirth Experiences during Emergencies”, which employs an anti-oppressive methodology that merges CBPR with critical pedagogy.

The research targets young mothers in Ecuador who experienced childbirth during emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants are drawn from diverse ethnic communities in Pichincha province’s Sierra region, specifically targeting Mestizo, African Ecuadorian, and Indigenous women, served by a multi-ethnic approach that aims to engage three communities. By investigating varied systems, structures, and norms across ethnic groups, the study seeks to unveil how ethnicity and gender intersect in healthcare experiences during crises. The research employs a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach, involving the mothers in storytelling exercises. This methodology serves dual purposes: it empowers women by giving them a voice, and it offers a platform for healing from traumatic birthing experiences they may have endured at public health facilities. Central to the study is the role of community facilitators who encourage participants to talk about their lived experiences, and engage in a transformative learning process, inviting critical self-reflection and active interrogation of social injustices. Community facilitators aid these conversations using a pregnant doll, an innovative tool, facilitating sensitive discussions about women´s lifelong learning, systemic healthcare biases, power and privilege and gender roles. Rooted in an anti-oppressive framework, the study tackles core societal issues like patriarchy and power dynamics, making it a catalyst for tangible community change, social justice and transformative education.

Accountability in Future Pandemics: Advancing Recommendations on Gender – Global

Principal investigator – Dr Fifa A Rahman

This grant was awarded to Matahari Global Solutions for an international project that will offer tangible solutions to promote gender-responsive strategies in public health emergency responses. The project will run for six months entail organising two hybrid multi-stakeholder dialogues for policy and programmatic improvements, involving government agencies, international organisations, donor agencies, civil society, and leaders from affected communities. As part of the project the team will also create a compelling short video documentary to share at the multistakeholder dialogue and for wider public dissemination. The documentary will convey firsthand experiences, lessons learned, and tangible impacts of gender-responsive interventions. The video documentary, and multi-stakeholder dialogues aim to bridge the knowledge-action-outcome gap, addressing the unique needs and challenges faced by different gender groups during public health crises. These findings and recommendations are a vital and timely addition to the field, driving progress toward gender-responsive public health emergency responses. The project will be conducted both globally and at a local level.

Amidst the Storm: Investigating Gender-Differentiated Impacts and Response Mechanisms During and Post Cyclone Freddy – Malawi

Principal investigator – Edith B. Milanzi, PhD

A grant has been awarded to FemAnalytica for a six month project to investigate the health related gender-specific challenges and impacts faced by survivors of Cyclone Freddy through interviews, surveys and focus group discussions. Malawi is still grappling with the devastating impacts of  Cyclone Freddy- one of the worst tropical cyclones on record -which occurred in March 2023. Over 500,000 people were displaced, with more than 500 dead, and over 500 people reported missing. In addition, Cyclone Freddy occurred on the back of the worst cholera outbreak the country has ever experienced. This creates an immediate and pressing need to study and understand the gendered consequences of such natural disasters especially in the context of public health.

The project will work by identifying and analysing the health-related gender-specific interventions that were implemented by various government and humanitarian organisations (if any), their effectiveness and identifying best practices, and synthesising findings to produce a set of evidence-based lessons learned and recommendations for future gender-responsive disaster management strategies in Malawi.

Trans-affirmative mental health care provision during public health emergencies: Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic – India

Principal investigator –Anant Bhan, Researcher, Global Health, Mental Health, Health Policy and Bioethics; PI and Mentor, Sangath Bhopal Hub  

A grant has been awarded to Sangath for a six-month project to study trans-affirmative mental health care provision during public health emergencies, focussing on insights from the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) individuals are at a high risk of adverse mental health outcomes like mood disorders, substance use disorders, suicidal ideation etc. due to a range of minority stressors  – like gender-based discrimination, stigma, rejection from family, friends and community, violence by partners, families, police, public and within healthcare systems. Despite the significant mental health burden, TGD persons report limited use of mental health services due to negative experiences like ‘conversion therapy’ with providers and fear of being pathologised, a lack of queer- and trans- competent providers and affordability associated with seeking mental healthcare. Particularly during the pandemic, many studies underline the disproportionate mental health impact of the pandemic on TGD persons as compared to cisgender counterparts, including challenges with access to care. The reflections from these experiences can better inform policy considerations for the future and build evidence for advocating for the mental health needs of TGD persons within and outside of public health emergencies.


Gender Working Group

We meet online every month to discuss key issues, activities, opportunities and ideas for collaboration. We have a long and growing list of resources on gender and public health emergencies.



Gender Working Group

We meet online every month to discuss key issues, activities, opportunities and ideas for collaboration. We have a long and growing list of resources on gender and public health emergencies.