In early 2000, the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) identified a gap in standard humanitarian response, wherein the needs of women and girls were not being adequately addressed. In response to this gap, UNFPA began providing gender-differentiated kits that included both basic hygiene items and items specific to the needs of women and girls. The purpose of this intervention was to facilitate the mobility of women and girls and to help them preserve their dignity during times of crisis. These kits, called "dignity kits," and have become a significant part of UNFPA’s humanitarian response activities. It has been more than a decade since UNFPA began distributing dignity kits to displaced populations and since then the intervention has grown organically. Although the intervention has enhanced UNFPA’s presence in humanitarian emergencies, the experiences of various countries involved in the distribution of dignity kits have been captured largely anecdotally, and documentation of the diverse costs and benefits of procuring, assembling, storing and distributing dignity kits has been limited.
The overall objectives of this assessment are twofold: 1) To assess the usefulness and impact of UNFPA’s dignity kits, and 2) To carry out a cost-benefit analysis of UNFPA’s engagement in the procurement, assembly, warehousing and distribution of dignity kits. The assessment is global in scope, in that it seeks to reflect a range of emergency typologies (e.g., natural disaster, armed conflict, etc.) and geographic settings, including Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Recommendations from this assessment are thus meant to inform UNFPA's distribution of dignity kits globally.