A focused mapping of Safe Spaces-related services adhering to basic humanitarian principles commenced with Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia and Venezuela. Working with a diverse range of partners in these countries, they identified gaps in service provision and strengthened coordination around referral pathways for different profiles of persons of concern.
From this alliance, both a physical and an online map showing the geographical location of each service, as well as which organizations offer multiple services among the five countries, were developed to facilitate referrals in the surrounding geographical area and particularly along the transit routes across countries.
The RSSN ensures coordination between safe spaces at local and national levels. Its core members worked in close consultation with all other members that are spread across different locations to develop standards, tools and policies. The resulting Terms of Reference (ToR) establish the main objectives and interventions of the Network and outline the roles of the different members. Additionally, a regional plan of action guides the implementation towards contextualized work plans. Tools for advocacy, capacity building and information management were also developed jointly to increase the quality and impact of services.
The Network developed a set of minimum standards and a self-audit checklist to measure the members' implementation. The standards relate to service provision approaches, human resources, information and case management and accountability to the population served. The checklist helps track changes at the local and national levels, as well as in the RSSN over time. The members of the RSSN engaged in a joint audit and compiled the outcomes of individual organizations into a regional self-evaluation. The progress and gaps identified were used to develop a work plan targeting capacity development, awareness raising and case and information management.
The SGBV and Child Protection Case Management and Information Management (hereinafter “SGBV/CP CM/IM”) Toolkit assembles several tools in one place for use by UNHCR and its partners. The toolkit includes the SGBV/CP case management and information management workshop tools, the RSSN self-audit checklist, an online service mapping, a study on SGBV disclosure in forced displacement and a Regional Information Sharing Protocol (RISP) template. This toolkit will be further developed and updated as the Network expands its work.
The RSSN is supported by UNHCR’s SGBV/CP team at the Regional Legal Unit in San Jose, Costa Rica. The team provides capacity building, technical support and guidance on global and regional protection standards and RSSN tools to the members of the Network. In total, 474 staff from RSSN member organizations were trained on SGBV/CP principles and RSSN tools in the Americas region from July 2017 to July 2018.
A Safe Space is a kind of physical or mobile space, where groups or individuals can feel “safe,” build social networks and express and entertain themselves while receiving information and accessing protection and assistance services in accordance with the age, gender and diversity approach; the survivor-centered approach and the child’s best interests principle.
Referrals means linking survivors, children or other persons of concern to other services and providing information about the case to a different partner or unit on a need-to-know basis.