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    Research. Rethink. Resolve.

    March 2013

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        Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon
        May 2, 2013 | New York City
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    The Power of Prevention: Ending Violence against Women and Girls in Crises

    An estimated one in three women around the world has been or will be beaten, sexually assaulted or abused. Displaced women and girls are especially at risk of such violence, often referred to as gender-based violence or GBV. As policy-makers, nongovernmental organizations and activists gathered at the United Nations for the 57th Commission on the Status of Women, the Women’s Refugee Commission launched a social media initiative—the Power of Prevention: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls in Crises. Violence against refugee women and girls is absolutely unacceptable and can be prevented—check out our posts on Facebook, Twitter, and several blogs to see how. Check back regularly to learn about the tools and resources we have developed to make the world a safer place for displaced women and girls.

    Fuel-efficient Stoves Reduce Violence against Women: Demonstrating the Power of Prevention

    Internally displaced girls cook outside their tent in Nzulo, a spontaneous settlement just outside of Goma, North Kivu, DRC. The site is built on a lava flow; when it rains (which happens frequently), they have to cook inside their tiny tents. This is the site where WRC/IRC will be distributing stoves.

    Displaced women and girls are especially vulnerable to GBV when they are collecting firewood for cooking. Often they must search outside of refugee camps and settlements, where there is little or no protection against militias, armed groups and other perpetrators. A series of assessments conducted recently by several different UN agencies and NGOs found that newly displaced women in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), identified firewood collection as the activity that puts them at most risk. Our Fuel and Firewood Initiative Senior Program Officer Erin Patrick recently returned from the DRC, where she helped set up a pilot program focused on GBV prevention through the use of fuel-efficient and safe cook stoves. These stoves use less firewood, decreasing the number of times women and girls must venture into unsafe areas. We are working with the International Rescue Committee to provide displaced families in North Kivu province with new efficient Envirofit stoves. Through this three-month project, the WRC will be able to contribute to the body of knowledge about preventing GBV in humanitarian emergencies.

    Immigration Reform: Ensuring the Civil and Human Rights of Women and Children

    The momentum for immigration reform is building on Capitol Hill. Our Migrant Rights and Justice (MRJ) program is working with partners and members of Congress to ensure that any new legislation will protect the civil and human rights of immigrants, including women and children. Thanks to our MRJ team, the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), signed by President Obama last week, contains provisions that require alternatives to detention be considered for youth. It also contains provisions protecting the rights of migrant women, regardless of their immigration status. For up-to-date information on the immigration reform debate and what we’re doing to ensure the needs of women and children are considered, check out the new page on our website.

    If you're in the Washington, D.C., area, join us as we rally for the rights of immigrant women, youth and families on Monday, March 18. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at Upper Senate Park, 200 New Jersey Avenue, NW. Nearest Metro: Union Station (Red Line) / Capitol South (Blue & Orange Lines).

    Crisis in Syria: Women’s Refugee Commission on the Ground in Lebanon and Jordan

    Last week we witnessed a sad milestone, as the UN refugee agency registered the one millionth refugee forced to flee Syria because of the ongoing war. Her name was Bushra, a 19-year-old mother of two. The rate of people crossing into neighboring countries has increased in recent months, and more and more people are expected to seek safety out of the country.

    Women's Refugee Commission staff are heading to Lebanon and Jordan to conduct assessments. In Lebanon, we will be looking into whether refugees with disabilities are getting the services they need and in Jordan we will assess whether emergency reproductive health services are being provided. We will report back next month with our findings and recommendations.

    Discovering Philanthropy: Teaching Young People to Use Their Time, Talent and Treasure for Good

    The WRC has been working with the Mountbatten Institute, Thomson Reuters and the Institute for Philanthropy to pilot a project called Discovering Philanthropy. We have collaboratively developed a program for Mountbatten exchange interns and alumni, who are based at top corporations in New York City, to learn about philanthropy and the unique ways they can contribute. These talented young people have formed groups and will be leading efforts to support WRC in the areas of fundraising, communications and advocacy. They will be working on awareness-raising campaigns and fundraising events; one group is working on a contest to find a photo journalist to document our work in the field. The team that is judged to have best carried out its plan will be attending our Voices of Courage Awards luncheon. More updates to come on this exciting project!

    Disabled. Displaced. Determined. Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon

    Don’t forget to get tickets for our annual luncheon on May 2 in New York! We’ll be honoring two inspiring refugee women for their incredible work with fellow refugees with disabilities. Learn more about Atim Caroline Ogwang and Dahabo Hassan Maow here, then buy tickets.