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  • Cash & Livelihoods

    Peter Biro

    A Double-edged Sword: Livelihoods in Emergencies

    A Double-edged Sword: Livelihoods in Emergencies thumbnail
    For women in emergencies, assets can help overcome crises but can also quickly turn into liabilities. This review of current practices offers a draft tool to assess risks for individuals in livelihood assessments and programs.

    During emergencies, women, girls, boys and men draw on their assets while navigating a complex landscape of changing power dynamics, unequal access to resources and information, and threats of violence and displacement. Assets in emergency contexts are a double-edged sword: they can help people overcome crises but can also quickly turn into liabilities, increasing vulnerability to GBV and insecurity. Women, girls, boys and men experience these dynamics differently, and their risks of violence are unique.

    When effective, livelihood programs can seed longer-term recovery while saving lives. However, as emergencies are characterized by a spike in insecurity, sexual violence, exploitation and abuse, humanitarian practitioners can unintentionally contribute to increased exposure to these dangers due to poor response planning; the urgency to "do something" can compromise the imperative to "do no harm." It is therefore critical that from the very early days of an emergency, gender dynamics are understood, GBV risks are assessed and measures taken to reduce vulnerability to threats for women, girls, boys and men.

    This report presents findings from a year-long research project on current practices through field assessments in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines, a literature review and expert interviews. The report also offers a draft tool, the Cohort Livelihoods and Risk Analysis (CLARA), for further field testing and research. This draft tool seeks to include an analysis of different risks for individuals in livelihood assessments and program design.

    Download the Executive Summary

    Download the Updated Toolkit

    • Modified: Tuesday, February 09, 2016
    • Published: