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  • It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way: Let’s Do Better for Displaced Girls

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Despite the emergent spotlight on gender by humanitarian actors, much more needs to be done to challenge the pervasive gender inequalities that affect so many women and adolescent girls who’ve been displaced by conflict or crisis.

    This was on my mind a few weeks ago when, as part of a Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) delegation, I met with women from Central America and from as far away as Cameroon in West Africa. They had fled unimaginable violence and were in migrant shelters and detention centers on both sides of the US/Mexico border. They shared their harrowing stories of rape, abuse, and exploitation along the route.

    A Call for States to Grant Women and Men Everywhere Equal Citizenship

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    This blog was cross-posted on Medium.

    This week in Geneva, the United Nations will mark the midway point of the UN Refugee Agency’s 10-year #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness. The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, a coalition of national and international organizations housed at the Women’s Refugee Commission, has supported this effort over the past five years by working to end one of the root causes of statelessness: gender discrimination in nationality laws.

    No Gender Equality Globally Without Women's Empowerment in Humanitarian Settings

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    This blog was cross-posted from Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Four years ago, world leaders made a pledge to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by the year 2030. Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]) contains targets to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, end female genital mutilation and child marriage, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care, and uphold women’s reproductive rights.

    Tomorrow, during the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, leaders will meet to assess progress on the SDGs. This moment provides an opportunity to see how far we’ve come since 2015 on the commitment to achieve gender equality. The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) is particularly interested in these discussions, and how they relate to the more than 35 million women and girls forced from their homes by conflict and crises.

    Leveraging Cash and Voucher Assistance in Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response

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    This blog was cross-posted from The Cash Learning Partnership.

    A wide-open opportunity for change in humanitarian settings


    Cash and voucher assistance (CVA) is now a common tool in humanitarian action used to meet the diverse needs of those displaced by crisis and conflict, and it is on the rise. Preliminary findings from the 3rd Grand Bargain Cash Workshop this May suggest an estimated 60% scale-up of total cash and voucher delivery from 2016 to 2018; this translates to around US$4.5 billion in CVA (including programming costs) delivered in 2018. Despite a push by several humanitarian actors since 2015, its use for protection outcomes – including to support the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV) – trails behind that of all other sectors.

    tags: Livelihoods

    Real Solutions to the Trump Administration’s Unconscionable Policies Toward Children and Families Seeking Asylum

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    The Trump administration’s deterrence-at-all-costs policies have caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis at our border. Children who have fled unspeakable violence and poverty are being brutally mistreated on American soil—forced to spend weeks in overcrowded, dirty cells without soap, toothbrushes, or beds. Children are getting sick, being fed uncooked frozen food, and being forced to care for younger children, some as young as four months. Since December, at least five children have died while in the custody of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and just this week another child and her father died in a desperate attempt to seek a better life. And as if all of this were not enough, families are still being separated, ripped apart by the government with no plans to reunify them, despite a judge’s order a year ago to reunite families.

    A Commitment to Refugees with Disabilities

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    This blog was cross-posted from Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Last week, the Women's Refugee Commission was honored to accept InterAction’s 2019 Disability Inclusion Award. This recognition by our peers is especially meaningful, given our longstanding commitment to promoting disability inclusion in humanitarian response.

    tags: Disabilities

    Shifting power: What does localization of humanitarian aid look like for women and girls with disabilities?

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    This blog is cross-posted from Medium.

    As the organization I work for, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), attends Women Deliver this week in Vancouver, Canada, I am excited to see so many people–famous or otherwise–show up for gender equality in what promises to be one of the “biggest-ever global conversations about the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women.”

    With women and girls with disabilities making up at least 20% of the population in developing countries and more than half of over 10 million persons with disabilities who have been forcibly displaced, we think it is critical they are part of this wider conversation.

    Let’s talk about cash: helping refugee women protect themselves

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Let’s talk about cash!

    As thousands of advocates, activists, researchers, and policy makers gather at Women Deliver in Vancouver, Canada, this week to talk about gender equality and women’s rights, I hope we can insert cash into the discussions. More specifically, cash transfers for women displaced by conflicts and crises.

    Innovative approaches to understanding the reproductive health needs of adolescent girls affected by conflict or displacement

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Can you remember the first time you talked to someone about puberty? Maybe it was telling your mother when you got your period, or asking your older sister about wearing a bra. At 11 or 12 years old, it’s likely you were embarrassed, even to talk to someone close to you. Now imagine, at that age, if a stranger came to ask you about all the embarrassing changes your body was going through or wanted to know what girls your age thought about pregnancy and marriage. How likely would you be to open up and fully express your concerns and your needs?

    Even when adolescents feel comfortable sharing sensitive information, it can be difficult to express needs and priorities about topics that they are unaware of. For example, how can a 16-year-old girl express a need for contraception if she does not know that it is possible for a girl her age to get pregnant? Or why would she describe a lack of menstrual hygiene materials as a major challenge if she is not fully aware of what products are available?

    Putting gender equality and women’s rights at the heart of humanitarian response

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    This week, more than 6,000 advocates, policy experts, and government officials from around the world are gathering in Vancouver, Canada, for the triennial Women Deliver Conference (WD2019). The event—the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls—will, for the first time in its history, include a focus on humanitarian response.