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  • 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.

    Gender Equality and Self-Reliance: Interlinked Components of Refugee Women’s Protection and Economic Empowerment

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    This week the world is at Women Deliver — the largest convening ever held focused on gender equality. While we all know that making progress on gender equality has been problematic in the world’s most stable, economically advanced societies, how much more so in states plagued by conflict and displacement. In humanitarian response we seldom discuss the role of women’s livelihoods as critical to advancing gender equality and we seldom promote gender equality as a means to tackle and mitigate risks of gender-based violence. The silo-ing of these efforts and interventions is a zero-sum gain.

    The Time to Act Is Now: Addressing Risks of Exploitation for Venezuelan Women and Children Seeking Refuge

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    “You never think it will happen to you.” That’s the simple, devastating message a board member of the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) once delivered on Capitol Hill about becoming a refugee herself. So many refugees would say exactly the same thing. And now it is happening to over 3 million Venezuelans forced to flee a country that was once a safe and prosperous homeland.

    Refugee women’s path to equality and self-reliance

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    For more than 100 years, March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day. And for more than 100 years, the day has provided a chance to take stock of the status of women and women’s rights around the world.

    While it’s indisputable that the situation has improved for some women, there’s still a long way to go before women everywhere are recognized for their strength, their abilities, and their leadership capacities.

    Refugee Youth Participate in UNHCR Dialogue on Protection in Urban Settings

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium

    Members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Global Youth Advisory Council (GYAC) have been in Geneva this week to attend the 11th UNHCR High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection. The two days of discussions were dedicated to the protection and assistance of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stateless persons in urban settings, with a particular focus on cities.

    Clearing the Fog around Cash and Gender-Based Violence

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    You know how after a shower the bathroom mirror is foggy and when you raise your fist up to wipe away the condensation, all of a sudden the opaque gray dissolves into a clearer image? It’s not quite yet a crystal-clear reflection, but it’s close? This is where we are as a humanitarian community addressing the integration of cash-based interventions (CBIs) and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, mitigation, and response.

    Participation + Protection: Vital Links for Women

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Gender-based violence (GBV) knows no social, economic, or national boundaries. It is a symptom of deep-rooted, systemic gender inequality that keeps women, girls, and other marginalized people from exercising their human rights as equal participants in social and economic life. This is exacerbated in crisis and conflict settings.

    Changing How We Define Success: In Pursuit of #BetterLivesNow for Refugees

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    A young woman living in a desolate refugee camp, spending hours waiting on line for rations of food and medicine. Flimsy plastic tents stretching as far as the eye can see.

    These are some of the more recognizable images that come to mind when one thinks of refugees. These images are real, and are an important part of the humanitarian challenge and response. Yet with more refugees than ever living in cities rather than camp settings, often for as long as a decade or two, today’s refugee experience can look quite different.

    Out of Excuses: The Time is Now to Bring Women with Disabilities into Humanitarian Response

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    When a population is seen as vulnerable, the immediate instinct of the development and humanitarian community often is to protect. But what if, instead of protection, the instinct was to include, to engage, and to leverage people’s skills and capacities?