Reports we Support

L'Osservatorio presents reports and other types of research studies produced by international organisations, NGOs, and research centres interested in issues concerning the protection of civilians in conflict, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding frameworks. The aim is to offer to the general public summarised versions and a synthesis of these reports and research materials, thus makeing highly technical documents accessible to everyone.

 In November 2018, The Peace Research Partnership (PRP) discussed challenges related to gender mainstreaming in research within conflict settings.



PRP, comprised of Saferworld, International Alert, Conciliation Resources, and UK Aid,  is a programme aimed at conducting research on “inclusive economic development, peace processes and institutions, and on identifying how gender dynamics can drive conflict or peace” in conflict-affected regions. The coalition conducted six case studies and workshops in November 2018 in London.  In 2019, as a result of the case studies and in order to provide background to the issues discussed in the workshops, analyses on the primary challenges to gender mainstreaming, ethics, safeguarding, and recommendations, the final report was written.


The PRP’s report defines gender as the ways in which people are socially, culturally, and historically categorised as ‘female’ and ‘male’, including the effect this classification has on their everyday lives. Most often gender is aligned with biological sex assigned to the person at birth, varies across different cultures and may be subject to change over time. The concept of gender is also seen to examine the relations between male and female-identifying persons. The relations influence how the two are organised, as well as how power and resources are distributed. Notably, the meaning of gender can change before and after conflict. 


Gender mainstreaming is “a process to ensure that women’s and men’s (or boys’ and girls’) and those with other gender identities’ concerns and experiences are integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all legislation, policies, and programmes.” There are two gender mainstreaming approaches: the integrationist and the transformationalist. The former emphasizes the value of integrating gender into research whereas the transformationalist approach focuses on the transformational effect a gender mainstreaming approach may have on organisations, policies and practices. It also champions gender equality and aims to change power relations between genders. 


As a result of the two-day workshop, the organizations found that representation and gender balance in research teams, as well as gender expertise (gender advisers), are important to ensure intersectional gender mainstreaming in research. Additionally, the coalition recommended that researchers strive for equal and mutually beneficial partnerships whereas consultancies should put more emphasis on transformationalist gender mainstreaming. The research design must ensure the widest possible reach and variety of voices.


Additionally, the coalition examined their ethics of research, and developed “principles grounded in securing informed consent and the baseline principle of ‘do not harm.’” Ethics of research emphasizes the importance of providing training for staff and understanding the risks of research, as well as ensuring confidentiality and support for research participants. In contrast, the prevention of risks researchers pose to others in their practices, such as sexual exploitation and re-traumatisation, is covered by the concept of safeguarding and involves individual researchers and participants.


Another finding emerging from the report is “research fatigue”, a concept experienced by many research participants. More specifically, the participants may feel they are being over-researched and caught up in the constant flow of questions yet, they do not benefit from the research and no visible results are being achieved. In order to prevent this, it is crucial that research teams conduct background studies to determine whether they are likely to bring more benefit than harm. Additionally, researchers must receive extensive research training to prevent misconduct, learning to build ethical and safeguarding views into their research. Lastly, researchers and organizations must always reflect on the purposes of their research: determine who benefits from the knowledge created through research and if it is the people who are directly affected by the issues being studied.

To read the full report, please visit:


Author: Giulia DeLuca; Editor: Aleksandra Król

A presentation of “Complicated Delivery: The Yemeni mothers and children dying without medical care” written by Medecins sans Frontières (MSF) offers an insight into healthcare inaccessibility in Yemen.


From November 2018 to February 2019, MSF collected data by using health indicators from 2016-2018 MSF medical reports. They also conducted ten semi-structured interviews with patients, caretakers, and medical facility staff in MSF’s Taiz Houban Mother and Child Hospital and MSF supported hospital in Abs Hajjah. Although the findings of the report are not representative of the entire country, but its recommendations are applicable nationwide.

The war in Yemen escalated in 2014 when the Houthis Shia rebel group took control of the capital, Sanaa, forcing President Hadi into exile. In order to restore public order and bring the power back to the government, in March 2015, the Saudi and Emirati Coalition (SELC), backed by the US, UK, and France, began aerial strikes on the Houthis. This intervention resulted in increased violence which has made the poorest country in the Middle East even more fragile.

“[B]etween 2016 and 2018, there were 860 deaths of reported in Taiz Houban – 17 mothers, 242 children and 601 newborns. Of these deaths, 227 were children and newborns who were dead on arrival,” with the number increasing every year. As of March 2019, no public hospital in the Taiz governorate has been fully functioning, however, with the support of MSF and other international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), three of the five hospitals in Taiz city centre remain partially open. In the Hajjah governorate, mothers have to travel long distances to receive care, which is worsened by the mountainous character of the terrain surrounding the district of Abs.  As MSF’s Taiz Houban hospital manager describes, sometimes patients cannot travel because of violence and “women are waiting until the last minute to make the dangerous journey to receive care,”. Medical complications during pregnancy become very deadly and infants need high-level newborn care. In Abs Hajjah, “the facility recorded the deaths of 705 people – 19 mothers, 269 children and 417 newborns. Among the 417 neonates, 106 died on the day of arrival between 2016 and 2018.”

Additionally, economic vulnerability leads to high mortality rates and limits the freedom to choose medical facilities. In Yemen, purchasing power is 148 percent lower than in pre-crisis period and although private healthcare was not free and sometimes unavailable in rural areas , it was affordable for many people with regards to transport and financial means. Separately, while public workers have received partial or no salaries since August 2016, payments resumed in 2018 if workers were employed under an internationally recognized government.Currently, because most medical facilities remain private, with high costs of treatment,  most patients choose free MSF facilities which are not always accessible to civilians living in rural areas or on the frontlines.  

Traveling to medical facilities is dangerous, especially for those crossing the frontlines. There is often a lot of violence and tension at the checkpoints controlled by different warring parties. Eftekar, a patient from Ibb governorate recalls: “The road from home to the hospital is not safe. In the past, we can take pregnant women to the hospitals at night but now we cannot... there is a risk we will be shot. Movements are allowed only from 6 am to 6 pm.”

MSF arrived at five recommendations that all actors should follow in order to save lives and so that International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is not violated:

  1. All parties in conflict must cease attacks on medical facilities and respect the protected status of civilians, and medical and humanitarian staff.
  2. There must be a clearer and faster way for humanitarian staff to enter Yemen.
  3. Humanitarian organizations should increase efforts to ensure that staff is specialized and experienced in order to provide quality and timely care.
  4. The bureaucracy should not impede upon the transport of lifesaving drugs and devices. 
  5. Access to humanitarian services in rural and district-level areas.

To learn more, visit:


Author: Giulia DeLuca; Editor: Aleksandra Krol


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