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    Adolescent Girls with Disabilities in Humanitarian Settings: “I Am Not ‘Worthless’—I Am a Girl with a Lot to Share and Offer”

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    Emma Pearce, Kathryn Paik and Omar J. Robles
    Girlhood Studies

    Adolescent girls with disabilities face multiple intersecting and often mutually reinforcing forms of discrimination and oppression, which are exacerbated in situations of crisis. In crisis situations, family and community structures break down, while traditional and social norms disintegrate, all of which affect adolescent girls with disabilities in unique and devastating ways. Drawing on the Women’s Refugee Commission’s work, including personal narratives collected from girls with disabilities, in this report we review how age, gender, disability and crisis influence identity and power. This report outlines principles for including girls with disabilities in adolescent girls’ programming, promoting safe access to humanitarian assistance, and mitigating the risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation.

    Read the full article in Girlhood Studies.

    Intersecting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Disability in Humanitarian Settings: Risks, Needs, and Capacities of Refugees with Disabilities in Kenya, Nepal, and Uganda

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    Persons with disabilities have historically been deprived of their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) rights. Little is known, however, about the situation for women, men, and adolescents with disabilities in humanitarian settings. The Women’s Refugee Commission led a participatory research project with partners to explore the risks, needs, and barriers for refugees with disabilities to access SRH services, and the practical ways in which these challenges could be addressed.

    Findings showed that refugees with disabilities demonstrated varying degrees of awareness around SRH, especially regarding the reproductive anatomy, family planning, and sexually transmitted infections. Among barriers to accessing services, lack of respect by providers was reported as the most hurtful. Pregnant women with disabilities were often discriminated against by providers and scolded by caregivers for becoming pregnant and bearing children; marital status was a large factor that determined if a pregnancy was accepted. Risks of sexual violence prevailed across sites, especially for persons with intellectual impairments. The ability of women with disabilities to exercise their SRH rights was mixed. Refugees with disabilities showed a mixed understanding of their own rights in relationships and in the pursuit of opportunities.

    Findings speak to the need to realize the SRH rights of refugees with disabilities and build their longer-term SRH capacities.

    Read the full article in Sexuality & Disability.

    Gender in action: Successes and shortfalls in the Syrian refugee crisis

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    by Dale Buscher and Melissa Gurumurthy

    Among the humanitarian agencies responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, real progress has been made towards a better understanding of the gendered needs of displaced people and the incorporation of gender-sensitive policies. Nevertheless, challenges remain to ensure that this translates into effective service provision – and that the community does not ignore the "change maker" potential of women and girls. Here, US-based NGO the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) gives us its assessment of the situation in Jordan.
    tags: Syria

    Community-Based Distribution of Family Planning Services in Humanitarian Settings: Identified Need and Potential from Malakal, South Sudan

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    The Women’s Refugee Commission and American Refugee Committee implemented a pilot project on community-based distribution (CBD) of family planning services in Malakal, South Sudan, to examine whether CBD is applicable and feasible in a humanitarian setting and would enhance people’s access to and use of contraceptives.

    Read about the project in this article in St. Anthony's International Review.

    Preventing gender-based violence: getting it right

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    Gender-based violence (GBV) remains epidemic in situations of conflict, disaster and displacement. Despite the rhetoric, the new language around GBV, the UN Security Council Resolutions and the myriad of guidelines, women and girls, and to a lesser extent men and boys, continue to be raped, abused and violated in these contexts. Much is known about the facts of GBV and how to respond. It is known, for example, that incidents of GBV escalate, often dramatically, during conflict and displacement. It is also known that 50% of survivors are under the age of 16,[1] and that women and girls with disabilities are 4–10 times more likely to be targeted by GBV as those without disabilities.[2] Humanitarian practitioners know how to set up healthcare responses and, to some extent, legal and psychosocial responses. Far less, however, is known about GBV prevention. How is it operationalised? How is existing guidance on lighting and separate latrines implemented? How are emergency responders held accountable for following globally agreed standards? How can the heightened and varied risks women and girls, in particular, face during conflict and displacement be mitigated?

    Read the article by Dale Buscher, senior director for programs, in Humanitarian Exchange Magazine.

    Women: the invisible detainees

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    Michelle Brané and Lee Wang have an article in Forced Migration Review about why and how differences in treatment between men and women in detention matter.

    Piloting community-based medical care for survivors of sexual assault in conflict-affected Karen State of eastern Burma

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    This article by Mihoko Tanabe et al in Conflict and Health (July 2013) describes a community-based approach to providing medical care to survivors of sexual assault in Karen State, eastern Burma, developed by the Women's Refugee Commission and its partners.

    Read the article here.

    Early relationships and marriage in conflict and post-conflict settings: vulnerability of youth in Uganda

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    This article by Jennifer Schlecht et al in Reproductive Health Matters (June 2013) presents factors that contribute to early relationships and informal marriages in conflict and post-conflict settings, based on qualitative research undertaken among two distinct populations in Uganda.

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    New Approaches to Urban Refugee Livelihoods

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    Dale Buscher has an article in Refuge, Canada’s peer-reviewed refugee periodical published by York University in Toronto. The article presents findings from assessments undertaken by the Women's Refugee Commission in Kampala, New Delhi and Johannesburg, and lays out strategies to address the challenges confronting urban refugees’ ability to enter and compete in the labor market.

     

    Refugees and displaced persons with disabilities – from ‘forgotten’ to ‘vulnerable’ to ‘valuable’

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    Emma Pearce, program officer, disabilities, has an article in Forced Migration Review's special 25th anniversary edition about the needs and rights of persons with disabilities among displaced populations.