A women at the Za

Manal fled the conflict in Syria with her three children. She now teaches English in UN Women’s “Oasis” safe spaces in Za’atari camp, Jordan, and is paid under a cash-for-work programme. Some 5,000 visitors come to the “Oasis” centres every month to socialize and learn new skills. Photo: UN Women/Christopher Herwig

Mobilizing humanitarian action for women

humanitarian icon

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by crises. They are exposed to increased risk of violence, more likely to die than men in natural disasters and have less access to resources. Girls in conflict settings, for example, are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than those in countries at peace. Furthermore, women are often excluded from the decision-making processes that shape humanitarian planning and programming and as a consequence their specific needs are inadequately addressed.

UN Women is leading the move to close this deficit. Our mandate is to support and enable the humanitarian system to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout all aspects of planning and programming. Our core actions for women and girls in humanitarian situations are to facilitate coordination and provide leadership, build the capacity of planning and implementing agencies, ensure response planning is evidence-based and to implement targeted actions wherever gaps are identified. We are committed to ensuring equality between women, men, girls and boys as partners and beneficiaries of humanitarian action.

Supporting refugees and actors for peace

Terrified by the advance of ISIS in Hama, Syria, 48-year-old Sawsan sold her business, told her husband good-bye, and fled with her daughter. Conflict coupled with blatant gender-based violence left them little choice but to join almost 5 million Syrians who had fled their country by early 2016. Despite the fact that half of all Syrian refugees are women, most could expect little in the way of humanitarian assistance for needs distinct from those of men.

Let me convey Norway’s deep appreciation to your work and our commitments to UN Women. (…) Because of the work you are doing, the Syrian women will be present in the peace talks in Geneva.”

Statement by Norway, UN Women Executive Board Annual Session, June 2015
Sujata Sharma Poudel, a psychosocial counsellor, speaks with a local woman at one of the 5 UN Women-supported multi-purpose centres (Panchkhal, Nepal, July 2015). Photo: UN Women/N. Shrestha
Sujata Sharma Poudel, a psychosocial counsellor, speaks with a local woman at one of the 5 UN Women-supported multi-purpose centres (Panchkhal, Nepal, July 2015). Photo: UN Women/N. Shrestha

Quake recovery centres on women

Two powerful earthquakes devastated Nepal in 2015, and UN Women responded immediately, convening UN partners and women’s groups to assist women and girls. Five multi-purpose centres and three information centres ensured that nearly 43,000 women accessed a wide range of services for recovery including: psychosocial counselling; legal assistance for gender-based violence survivors; and cash-for-work programmes. In seven of the hardest hit districts, UN Women distributed thousands of dignity kits for basic hygiene as well as solar lanterns and radio sets, ensuring these items reached the hands of women directly.

In March 2016 we engaged our Brazil’s National Ambassador Camila Pitanga in an information campaign led by the Ministry of Health to combat Aegypti Aedes mosquitoes. Photo: UN Women Brazil

In March 2016 we engaged UN Women Brazil’s National Ambassador Camila Pitanga in an information campaign led by the Ministry of Health to combat Aegypti Aedes mosquitoes. Photo: UN Women Brazil

A campaign raises awareness on Zika

The sudden rise of the Zika virus spread concern in Brazil, particularly among women of reproductive age. The virus carries the risk of nervous system disorders for people in general, and can cause infants to be born with microcephaly, a serious condition lasting a lifetime.

UN Women carried out humanitarian work in

34

countries in 2015, a 183 per cent increase from 2014.

In 2015,


42

per cent of intergovernmental outcome documents on humanitarian action included specific gender provisions.

Photo: UN Women/Catianne Tijerina

SDG 2: Zero hungerSDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions Nahimana Fainesi [Finess], 30, fled her native Burundi in July 2015 and has since been living in the Lusenda refugee camp in Fizi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. She works as a farmer in a UN Women cash-for- work programme. Her work is directly related to SDG 2, which seeks to end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular people in vulnerable situations, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food; and SDG 16, on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.

Nahimana Fainesi: “UN Women gave me hope, motivation and empowerment.”

“This is my second time living in communal camps, second time running away from civil war to protect myself. What made me leave [Burundi] was the problem of random people invading others’ homes, attacking those without husbands. They would enter with knives. Before they kill you, they would first rape you. When I saw those attacks, and people dying, I left with my one-year-old son. I didn’t have the chance to get all my children because it was a case of everyone for themselves, running for their lives.

When I got to the Lusenda Camp [in the Democratic Republic of the Congo], I had no hope. UN Women gave me hope, motivation and empowerment. After some time, I was appointed committee member of the women’s group. I found a job [through a cash-forwork programme] and that money helped me cross back to get my children. I have five children—four girls and one boy.

Camp life is another challenge. Two of my children have now matured into young women. When they go walking around, I remain in constant fear, because at any time they could get raped. The food is also insufficient and gets depleted even before the next ration.

I survive by farming to get a little cash. Women farm together, growing several types of crops. Once they are ready to be harvested, we sell the produce. One must always think about how you can get your hands dirty to attain your goals and feed your family. Happiness begins with you.

 

Humanitarian Action and the flagship programme initiatives