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Gender in action: Successes and shortfalls in the Syrian refugee crisis

by Dale Buscher and Melissa Gurumurthy

Among the humanitarian agencies responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, real progress has been made towards a better understanding of the gendered needs of displaced people and the incorporation of gender-sensitive policies. Nevertheless, challenges remain to ensure that this translates into effective service provision – and that the community does not ignore the "change maker" potential of women and girls. Here, US-based NGO the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) gives us its assessment of the situation in Jordan.

Read more: Gender in action: Successes and shortfalls in the Syrian refugee crisis

tags: Syria, Gender

Community-Based Distribution of Family Planning Services in Humanitarian Settings: Identified Need and Potential from Malakal, South Sudan

The Women’s Refugee Commission and American Refugee Committee implemented a pilot project on community-based distribution (CBD) of family planning services in Malakal, South Sudan, to examine whether CBD is applicable and feasible in a humanitarian setting and would enhance people’s access to and use of contraceptives.

Read about the project in this article in St. Anthony's International Review.

Preventing gender-based violence: getting it right

Gender-based violence (GBV) remains epidemic in situations of conflict, disaster and displacement. Despite the rhetoric, the new language around GBV, the UN Security Council Resolutions and the myriad of guidelines, women and girls, and to a lesser extent men and boys, continue to be raped, abused and violated in these contexts. Much is known about the facts of GBV and how to respond. It is known, for example, that incidents of GBV escalate, often dramatically, during conflict and displacement. It is also known that 50% of survivors are under the age of 16,[1] and that women and girls with disabilities are 4–10 times more likely to be targeted by GBV as those without disabilities.[2] Humanitarian practitioners know how to set up healthcare responses and, to some extent, legal and psychosocial responses. Far less, however, is known about GBV prevention. How is it operationalised? How is existing guidance on lighting and separate latrines implemented? How are emergency responders held accountable for following globally agreed standards? How can the heightened and varied risks women and girls, in particular, face during conflict and displacement be mitigated?

Read the article by Dale Buscher, senior director for programs, in Humanitarian Exchange Magazine.

Women: the invisible detainees

Michelle Brané and Lee Wang have an article in Forced Migration Review about why and how differences in treatment between men and women in detention matter.

Piloting community-based medical care for survivors of sexual assault in conflict-affected Karen State of eastern Burma

This article by Mihoko Tanabe et al in Conflict and Health (July 2013) describes a community-based approach to providing medical care to survivors of sexual assault in Karen State, eastern Burma, developed by the Women's Refugee Commission and its partners.

Read the article here.

Early relationships and marriage in conflict and post-conflict settings: vulnerability of youth in Uganda

This article by Jennifer Schlecht et al in Reproductive Health Matters (June 2013) presents factors that contribute to early relationships and informal marriages in conflict and post-conflict settings, based on qualitative research undertaken among two distinct populations in Uganda.

Download the full article

New Approaches to Urban Refugee Livelihoods

Dale Buscher has an article in Refuge, Canada’s peer-reviewed refugee periodical published by York University in Toronto. The article presents findings from assessments undertaken by the Women's Refugee Commission in Kampala, New Delhi and Johannesburg, and lays out strategies to address the challenges confronting urban refugees’ ability to enter and compete in the labor market.


Refugees and displaced persons with disabilities – from ‘forgotten’ to ‘vulnerable’ to ‘valuable’

Emma Pearce, program officer, disabilities, has an article in Forced Migration Review's special 25th anniversary edition about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities among displaced populations.

Making work safe for displaced women

Dale Buscher has a new article on Forced Migration review discussing displaced women and their need for opportunities to make a living for themselves and their families without increasing their vulnerability.

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings

Mihoko Tanabe, program officer, reproductive health program, is co-author of "Adolescent sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian settings," in this issue of Forced Migration Review.