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Focus on Disability: Inclusion in North-East Nigeria

More than half of the population displaced in Northeast Nigeria from 2009 to 2021 living in camps are women and girls. They experience displacement differently from men and boys and face specific challenges that must be better understood to provide them with the support they need. Women and girls, in particular those living with disabilities, are often excluded from decision-making processes that have a direct effect on their lives and do not usually have a systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The decade-long conflict continues to take its toll on access to food, overcrowding of camps and shrinking access for humanitarians, which has led to increased vulnerability of displaced populations living in camps.   Approximately 27%[1] of vulnerable displaced people in Northeast Nigeria have a disability, a number that has increased by the insurgency. Persons with disabilities living in camps are disproportionately affected, often being excluded from activities and interventions. With a lack of wheelchairs or other mobility aids, and with some people having lost their caregivers, persons with disabilities face further barriers particularly in regard to mobility to places of distribution and the physical implications a distribution brings. Persons with disabilities face discrimination and stigmatisation due to cultural and societal norms, which further hinderances their access. Moreover, there is a lack of inclusion and representation of person with disabilities in decision-making and camp governance structures or leadership in camps.   Through the Women’s Participation Project, IOM seeks to empower those who are facing increased vulnerability and risk to gender-based violence while ensuring that cultural norms and traditions are respected and considered. The Women’s Participation Project has been implemented in Nigeria since 2016, with the objective to enhance women’s participation in decision making, work towards reducing risks of Gender-based Violence (GBV) and ensure the inclusion of groups at risk, including persons with disabilities, in any of the project interventions.  Currently, the project has been expanded to sites in Maiduguri (Bakasi, NYSC, Dalori), Konduga (Federal Training Centre), Jere (Muna El Badawy camp) and three hard-to-reach areas – Bama, Ngala and Gwoza.   According to a baseline assessment conducted in Dalori 2 in November 2020, persons with disabilities have been excluded in camp activities with no systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The assessment also captured thelack of representation of persons with disabilities in leadership structures. To address this issue and to enhance their participation, the Women’s Participation Project focused on enhancing the inclusion of persons (women, girls, men, and boys) with disabilities in leadership structures through advocacy meetings with community leaders and formalizing a disability committee with terms of reference. Across all four sites, 235 individuals were selected to participate in the Leadership Skills training, including members of the disabilities committee, aimed at improving the inclusion of women, girls, and persons with disabilities in camp decision making and increasing the understanding of the committees’ roles and responsibilities.   In 2021, the Women’s Participation Project focused on addressing the mobility challenge faced by persons with disabilities. The project supported 28 persons with disabilities with mobility aids such as hand and arm crutches, tricycles, and wheelchairs, with the aim to improve their mobility and to increase their access to livelihood activities of their choice.   [1] https://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/files/vulnerability-screening-report-round-ii-june-2016_en.pdf

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Focus on Disability: Inclusion in North-East Nigeria

More than half of the population displaced in Northeast Nigeria from 2009 to 2021 living in camps are women and girls. They experience displacement differently from men and boys and face specific challenges that must be better understood to provide them with the support they need. Women and girls, in particular those living with disabilities, are often excluded from decision-making processes that have a direct effect on their lives and do not usually have a systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The decade-long conflict continues to take its toll on access to food, overcrowding of camps and shrinking access for humanitarians, which has led to increased vulnerability of displaced populations living in camps.   Approximately 27%[1] of vulnerable displaced people in Northeast Nigeria have a disability, a number that has increased by the insurgency. Persons with disabilities living in camps are disproportionately affected, often being excluded from activities and interventions. With a lack of wheelchairs or other mobility aids, and with some people having lost their caregivers, persons with disabilities face further barriers particularly in regard to mobility to places of distribution and the physical implications a distribution brings. Persons with disabilities face discrimination and stigmatisation due to cultural and societal norms, which further hinderances their access. Moreover, there is a lack of inclusion and representation of person with disabilities in decision-making and camp governance structures or leadership in camps.   Through the Women’s Participation Project, IOM seeks to empower those who are facing increased vulnerability and risk to gender-based violence while ensuring that cultural norms and traditions are respected and considered. The Women’s Participation Project has been implemented in Nigeria since 2016, with the objective to enhance women’s participation in decision making, work towards reducing risks of Gender-based Violence (GBV) and ensure the inclusion of groups at risk, including persons with disabilities, in any of the project interventions.  Currently, the project has been expanded to sites in Maiduguri (Bakasi, NYSC, Dalori), Konduga (Federal Training Centre), Jere (Muna El Badawy camp) and three hard-to-reach areas – Bama, Ngala and Gwoza.   According to a baseline assessment conducted in Dalori 2 in November 2020, persons with disabilities have been excluded in camp activities with no systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The assessment also captured thelack of representation of persons with disabilities in leadership structures. To address this issue and to enhance their participation, the Women’s Participation Project focused on enhancing the inclusion of persons (women, girls, men, and boys) with disabilities in leadership structures through advocacy meetings with community leaders and formalizing a disability committee with terms of reference. Across all four sites, 235 individuals were selected to participate in the Leadership Skills training, including members of the disabilities committee, aimed at improving the inclusion of women, girls, and persons with disabilities in camp decision making and increasing the understanding of the committees’ roles and responsibilities.   In 2021, the Women’s Participation Project focused on addressing the mobility challenge faced by persons with disabilities. The project supported 28 persons with disabilities with mobility aids such as hand and arm crutches, tricycles, and wheelchairs, with the aim to improve their mobility and to increase their access to livelihood activities of their choice.   [1] https://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/files/vulnerability-screening-report-round-ii-june-2016_en.pdf

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Women, peace and security 20 years on: it’s time we include the voices and needs of displaced women and girls

On 31 October 2000, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 emphasising the role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and calling for equal participation of women in peacebuilding efforts. Twenty years down the line, women still remain the minority around negotiation tables and in peacebuilding operations, with their specific needs in conflict situations often being overlooked. Yet they often represent a significant share of all conflict-affected people: at the end of 2019, nearly 23 million women and girls worldwide were living in internal displacement because of conflict or violence. To make real progress, we not only have to fully include women at all levels of security and peace operations, but also better address the needs of (internally) displaced women and girls. Even though studies suggest that women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution can improve outcomes, women are still frequently excluded from formal peace negotiations. Research by the Council on Foreign Relations shows that, between 1992 and 2019, women, on average, only constituted 13 per cent of negotiators, 6 per cent of mediators and 6 per cent of signatories in major peace processes. The year 2020 has so far confirmed this trend: women represented only around 10 per cent of negotiators in the Afghan peace talks, just 20 per cent of negotiators in Libya’s political discussions (no women took part in the military talks) and 0 per cent of negotiators in Yemen’s peace process. As for UN peacekeeping operations, in 2020 women made up only 4.8 per cent of military and 10.9 per cent of police personnel.   PEACE IS MORE THAN THE ABSENCE OF WAR  While the statistics mentioned above surely have to change to ensure equal participation of women – something that has also been clearly acknowledged by the United Nations – efforts to build sustainable peace will need to go beyond these numbers. Johan Galtung, one of the founders of peace and conflict studies, distinguishes between negative and positive peace. While the former is defined by the absence of direct or personal violence, such as war, assault and terrorism, the latter includes the absence of indirect or structural violence, such as social injustice, poverty and hunger. Working towards positive peace, therefore, requires us to look at the bigger societal picture, including the living conditions of civilians affected by conflict and war.  In the context of Resolution 1325 this means, among other elements, taking into account the specific vulnerabilities of women and girls displaced as a result of violence and war. Already 20 years ago, women and children in internal displacement were mentioned as one of the groups particularly at risk in the resolution’s preambulatory clauses. Today, this is backed up by evidence showing that women are overall more severely affected by displacement than men.   IMPACT OF DISPLACEMENT ON WOMEN AND GIRLS  Recent studies and research from around the world compiled by IDMC demonstrate how displacement is taking a disproportionate toll on women’s livelihoods, security as well as access to health services and education. A study in Ethiopia’s Oromia region showed that 35 per cent of surveyed women became unemployed as a result of their displacement, compared with 30 per cent of men. Research in Somalia found that school attendance increased for displaced boys from 29 to 41 per cent, while it decreased for displaced girls from 45 to 29 per cent. Studies in Colombia and Afghanistan point to an increase of domestic violence following displacement. Surveys conducted in Somalia and Ethiopia show that more women than men felt their physical health had deteriorated since their displacement.  BUILDING POSITIVE PEACE  If the above-mentioned impacts of internal displacement on women and girls are not addressed, they have the potential to reinforce each other in a vicious circle of vulnerability. Girls’ low school attendance rates may constrain their mothers’ ability to engage in work because they have to stay at home to care for them. Mothers’ lack of opportunity to establish a decent livelihood will in turn make them less able to afford to send their children to school or provide for health care, and stress due to insufficient funds might increase domestic violence.   On a more positive note, taking into account the specific needs of internally displaced women and girls can greatly contribute to breaking the vicious circle and creating what Galtung called positive peace. Ensuring displaced women and girls are fully involved in decision making and can benefit from tailored humanitarian and development support, backed by robust legal and policy frameworks, is essential to guarantee responses that bring about lasting peace. Focusing on women and girls could go a long way towards achieving durable solutions and fostering socioeconomic development for all.  Only if we manage to achieve both, putting an end to hostilities through the full inclusion of women in negotiation and peacebuilding processes, and constructing post-conflict societies with equal opportunities for all, can we realise the full potential of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Twenty years after its adoption, it is about time. This article is part of a new IDMC series of policy blogs. In the coming months we will periodically reflect on significant policy developments through an internal displacement lens.  Read the full article here!

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Technical Note on COVID-19 and Harmful Practices

COVID-19 has upended the lives of children and families across the globe and is impacting efforts to end child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). This technical note compiles some of the evidence on harmful practices in the time of a public health emergency and proposes programmatic responses on a policy level; systems level; in terms of evidence and data; and on the level of communities and individuals. Read the full note by UNICEF here!

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Gap Analysis of GBV in Humanitarian Settings: A Global Consultation

In line with our strategic commitment to target the most pressing challenges in the sector and to ensure that innovation processes are evidence-based and problem-led, we commission robust gap analyses. Since 2015, we have dedicated resources, focus and support to innovation that tackles the complex and egregious problem of gender-based-violence (GBV) in humanitarian settings. We have worked collaboratively with, and been guided by, key agencies and experts within the GBV in emergencies community. In 2016, we published our first-ever GBV Gap Analysis in which key challenges across this sector were identified, evidenced and prioritised, and then transformed into opportunities for innovation. We are now sharing with the sector our second Gap Analysis focused on GBV humanitarian settings which seeks to update the outstanding and persistent gaps that continue to challenge the GBV sector. It builds upon our first Gap Analysis, providing a further breakdown of how challenges, such as the need for quality GBV expertise or improved monitoring and evaluation of GBV programming, manifest across different types of GBV programming. With this adaptation, we aim to present a wider breadth of gaps experienced across humanitarian GBV efforts and to increase the relevance of this report for more actors, such as non-GBV actors working to mitigate risks of GBV. Similar to the first Gap Analysis, this report identifies both operational and systemic challenges faced by the sector, continually acknowledging the complexity and diversity of needs across the sector in order to achieve its intended positive outcomes for women and girls in humanitarian settings. Read the full report by ELRHA here!

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Women’s Participation Project & Toolkit

Women’s Participation Project

The Women’s Participation Project (WPP) was developed by IOM and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) in coordination with the Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster as part of the global-level Safe from the Start initiative aimed at reducing GBV risks in camp and camp-like settings. The objective of the project is to allow CCCM practitioners to have a broader understanding of what participation is and develop strategies adapted to the context to enhance the participation of women and girls in displacement sites.

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Women's Participation Project
Toolkit

The Toolkit

The Women’s Participation Toolkit is a resource for CCCM actors working in camp and camp-like settings who recognize that to improve the safety and to mitigate the risks to gender-based violence (GBV) for women and girls, women and girls must participate in decision-making mechanisms and governance structures within the camp and camp-like settings.

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