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The multi-level model

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • One of the limitations of the multi-sectoral model as it exists to date is that it specifies many of the sectoral responsibilities in terms of service delivery. The multi-level model, which is drawn from social development theory, is not as commonplace as the multi-sectoral model in conflict-affected settings.  It was adapted for humanitarian settings as a way to provide greater clarification regarding the responsibilities of the sectors within the multi-sectoral model in terms of policy reform, infrastructure development, and direct services.   
  • For effective short- and long-term programming, interventions must take place across all the key sectors and at three levels, so that structural, systemic and individual protections are institutionalized.  These levels are as follows (adapted from Read-Hamilton, S.  “Services, Systems, Structures:  A Multi-level Approach for Addressing Gender Based Violence in Conflict-affected Settings. )

1. Structural reform, which includes measures at the broadest level to ensure rights are recognized and protected through international, statutory and traditional laws and policies. Examples include:

  • Substantive and procedural law reform.
  • Supporting policy development within ministries of health, social welfare, justice and security.
  • Human rights education and VAWG training with policy makers and other ‘duty bearer’, such as traditional and community elders.

2. Systems reform, which includes systems and strategies to monitor and respond when rights are breached.   Intervention at this level includes developing and building the capacity of statutory and traditional legal/justice systems, healthcare systems, social-welfare systems and community mechanisms.  Examples include:

  • Infrastructure development within and across key sectors, including ensuring safe and accessible facilities, adequate supplies, and ethical data collection and referral
  • Development of civil society and community-based programmes to meet gaps in sectoral response and to monitor implementation of government programs
  • Education and training for actors providing health, security, legal/justice and social-welfare services to women and girls.
  • Technical assistance to government departments in designing and overseeing systemic capacity in their relevant sectors and leading and/or participating in coordination efforts.

3. Operational response, which includes response at the individual level through direct services to meet the needs of women and girls who have been subjected to violence. Examples include:

  • Community-based education and information campaigns about VAWG as well as about the availability of services.
  • Case management, referral and advocacy.
  • Psychosocial counselling and support.
  • Medical forensic examination, treatment and follow-up.
  • Referrals to police for reporting and investigation.
  • Court support through the judicial process.
  • Many VAWG programmers in conflict-affected settings tend to concentrate their efforts at the operational response level because ensuring access to services is a critical priority during emergencies. Even so, by planning activities as soon as possible that focus on structural and systemic reform, programmers and policy makers across all sectors can begin to institute sustainable measures for comprehensive response.

Additional Resources

For an overview of the multi-level and multi-sectoral approaches, see USAID (United States Agency for International Development), UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and UNIFEM (United Nations Fund for Women). 2006.Regional Strategic Framework for the Prevention of and Response to Gender-based Violence in East, Southern, and CentralAfrica.”