|March 2011 Latest News Latest Reports Upcoming Events|
Women's Refugee Commission E-Newsletter
Today we join the global community in celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. We acknowledge all those who have come before us, proudly declare women's rights as human rights and reflect on the progress made for and by women. We shine light on what we all can do to ensure that women and girls across the globe are safe, healthy and have what they need to build lives for themselves and their families.
We hope you will join us in commemorating this important day by making a contribution in support of our work. Your partnership enables us to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and internally displaced woman and girls like Amina, who fled her native Somalia and now lives in Kenya's Dadaab camp with more than 300,000 other refugees. Your support goes a long way in ensuring woman and girls like Amina have a better and more secure tomorrow.
Commission on the Status of Women
Themes of women's rights and health have been in the spotlight the last few weeks. The Women's Refugee Commission was actively involved with several events held as part of the UN's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. We co-organized, with the United Nations Population Fund, the U.S. launch of the updated Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings. More than 100 people attended the event on February 28, with speakers including Ambassadors of the Permanent Missions of Australia and Indonesia, Purnima Mane of the United Nations Population Fund and our own Sandra Krause, Director of Reproductive Health, among others. The manual, which builds on earlier editions, is grounded in the core principle that reproductive health is an essential component of humanitarian response. In practical terms, this resource will help those working on the ground to change practice, promote and protect human rights and save lives. As Sandra Krause noted later, "Now that global policies and guidance for reproductive health in crisis-affected settings are solidly established, it is time to turn our full attention to putting these policies into action. By doing so, we can better the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable women and families."
As a side event at the CSW, The UN Missions of Canada and Lichtenstein invited the Women's Refugee Commission to conduct a panel on the theme of "Livelihoods in Displacement Settings: What Does it Mean for Women and Youth?" Staff members Josh Chaffin and Jina Krause-Vilmar addressed an audience of mostly UN delegates on the issue of finding effective livelihood options for displaced populations, particularly how to mitigate risk of gender-based violence and empower young people to make safe and sustainable economic contributions to household well-being. They presented lessons learned and recommendations based on their long experience, desk research and recent field missions. The event follows the launch of last year's ground-breaking report Peril or Protection: The Link between Livelihoods and Gender-based Violence in Displaced Settings.
Josh Chaffin was invited by UNICEF and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) to co-lead a CSW side discussion on adolescent girls' education in humanitarian settings. A mixed audience of civil society representatives and seasoned humanitarian professionals was taken through an exercise designed to provoke thought around the barriers girls face in exercising their right to education in some of the world's most difficult circumstances.
Voices of Courage Luncheon
We hope you can join us for our Annual Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon on May 3. We will be honoring two incredible refugee women, Zrinka Bralo and Stella Mkiliwane. They will share their experiences as refugees and their work to improve the lives of refugees in urban settings. Find out more and read more about them. We will also be honoring the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which produces AlertNet, a humanitarian news services which provides critical news from around the globe on crisis and development issues.
Humanitarian Aid Funding at Risk
The Women's Refugee Commission is deeply concerned about recent legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that slashes funding for humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons and victims of natural disasters. We issued a statement denouncing these funding cuts and joined 28 other organizations in the humanitarian field in writing to House leaders calling for renewed funding for these critical programs. We also sent out an action alert calling for supporters of humanitarian aid to write to their senators and ask for maintaining 2010 funding levels. Contact your Senators now to voice your support.
New Report on Urban Refugee Livelihoods
The Women's Refugee Commission published a new report on the livelihoods of urban refugees. The Living Ain't Easy: Urban Refugees in Kampala details the economic coping strategies of Congolese, Somali and Burundian refugees residing in Kampala and makes recommendations for improving economic opportunities for these often extremely vulnerable groups.
This report is a part of a larger one-year study to understand the economic coping strategies, protection concerns and local economic environment of urban refugees. Our findings suggest that most urban refugees are economically active, often with multiple, simultaneous, income-generation activities. Even so, many still cannot cover all their basic expenses. With an estimated 58 percent of the world's 10.5 million refugees now residing in cities, urgent attention is needed by the international community to address this growing trend.