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    Advocating for Gender-Based Violence Victims

    Halima Mohamud Mohamed is a 20 year old Somali woman living in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda. She works as a youth ambassador, and helps the most vulnerable in her community, especially survivors of gender-based violence (GBV). For her work, Mohamed is being honored, along with two other youth refugees, at the WRC’s Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon on May 4. 

    Budgets are Moral Documents and this One Fails

    Budgets are moral documents and the President’s budget request released this week is a moral and practical failure for displaced women, children, and youth around the world.

    As the White House delivered President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request to Congress this week, Ambassador Nikki Haley – who is on her first international trip as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – visited the Za’atari camp in Jordan to see how refugees there are coping. Clearly moved by the bleak setting, Haley told reporters "We're the number one donor here through this crisis. That's not going to stop. We're not going to stop funding this." Referencing a convoy of trucks carrying food aid, Haley said "This is all in the name of our Syrian brothers and sisters… We want you to feel like the U.S. is behind you.”

    Women's Refugee Commission at 10th Session of the Conference of State Parties

    The Women's Refugee Commission will be participating in the 10th Session of the Conference of State Parties (COSP10) to the CRPD taking place at the U.N. Headquarters from June 13 - 15, 2017. 

    New Strategies to Address GBV in Urban Humanitarian Settings

    Displacement is increasing dramatically and it is increasingly urban. Today 65.6 million people around the world are displaced by conflict and 60% of those who are refugees have found refuge in urban areas. This necessitates a re-think of humanitarian service delivery including for the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV). Specifically, it is imperative that we all dig deep to better understand, prevent, and respond to GBV in urban settings.

    An Ounce Of (After-Sex) Prevention: At The Family Planning Summit, Let’s Talk About Emergency Contraception

    Crossposted from The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception

    To meet the global Family Planning 2020 goals, a full range of family planning methods must be available, including user-controlled, short-acting methods. The Guttmacher Institute’s analysis, Adding it Up, estimates that 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method. Half of unmarried women with an unmet need for family planning report infrequent sex as the reason that they do not use a family planning method. A quarter of married women not using contraception fall into the same category. Not feeling themselves at high levels of risk, these women may wish to avoid the appointments and waiting times, dependence on providers, side effects, discomforts, and other commitments that long-acting contraceptive methods sometimes entail. Other women may not be using modern contraception because they are unaware of their options or are faced with inaccessibility due to distance barriers, poor health infrastructures, stock outs, or high prices. As well, many women are located in humanitarian and fragile settings where contraceptive access can be challenging.  For many women and girls not currently using a long-acting contraceptive method, a simple, discreet, user-controlled, low-commitment, one-time “on demand” form of contraception that can be accessed easily and quickly is a critically important option. This method already exists: emergency contraception.

    The Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Target Women and Children

    Recent news stories have detailed how President Trump’s immigration policies continue to target women and children and rip families apart. He has instructed US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to arrest, detain, and deport indiscriminately.

    Just this week, two brothers in Maryland – one a 19-year old rising soccer star who had just secured a college scholarship – were deported after one of them made a courtesy call to ICE to inform officials about his college plans. Earlier this year, a mother of three children – all U.S. citizens – who had fled the drug cartel violence in Mexico, was whisked away from her home and family in Ohio by ICE officials and deported. And, just last week, President Trump elevated John F. Kelly from secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to White House chief of staff, applauding him for his “tremendous results” in implementing the refugee ban and ramping up immigration enforcement.

    Celebrating Ten Years of Disability Work at WRC

    “I think it is important to share with you that I am a woman who has a disability. This doesn’t stop me though... I feel I have a very important job to do. I am working to make women and girls safer… those who are not always included in activities, those who are often forgotten about. I can remember times when that was me... Now, I am very active, I am a leader in our community… and I work as a social worker. I feel I have valuable things to add and that I can advocate for [them] because I understand their needs.” (Mieraf, My’ani Camp)

    Prison for Survivors

    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Earlier this year, a woman named Clara arrived at the United States border seeking protection from gender-based harm she faced in West Africa. She had endured an arduous journey trying to reach the U.S. border, where officials registered her claim for asylum. Rather than release her to pursue her case, however, officials sent Clara into the vast network of immigration detention facilities across the U.S. Since arriving in this country, she has been treated like a criminal, shackled and transferred multiple times between different detention facilities, awaiting a final decision on her request for protection that will determine her fate.

    Girl Data & An Inconvenient Truth

    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Empowering girls before, during, and after crisis. That’s this year’s theme for International Day of the Girl. At the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), it’s far more than a theme; it’s what we dedicate ourselves to achieving, every day. Part of that commitment means identifying where we — the international community — are failing and where we need to get it right.

    Voices of Courage Awards 2018 Call for Nominations

    Voices of Courage Awards 2018

    Getting it Right for Women and Girls

    Honoring Refugee Leaders

    Dear Friend,

    On May 3, 2018, the Women’s Refugee Commission will honor two outstanding refugees at the Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon, to be held in New York City. This year, we are excited to focus our celebrations on those individuals who are carving pathways to long-term resilience for displaced women and girls.

    Conflict and persecution have forced more than 66 million people to flee their homes, the majority of whom are women and children. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that refugee women and girls are afforded all the protections and services they need not only to survive but also to thrive.

    We will honor two refugees who are breaking barriers to opportunity for displaced women and girls, and we would love for you to be a part of that.

    As a friend of the Women’s Refugee Commission, you are invited to nominate someone you know who deserves to be recognized on the international stage with this award. The Voices of Courage Awards will be presented to resilient, resourceful refugees who have a personal and powerful story to tell about the challenges and triumphs experienced by the tens of millions of people who have been displaced by conflict and violence.

    As in past years, we will honor two people for their groundbreaking work to help their fellow refugees. We invite nominees who have channeled their talent and energy to become leaders working with and inspiring others to become part of a global solution to the refugee crisis.


    We invite nominees who have channeled their talent and energy to become leaders, working with and inspiring others to become part of a global solution to the refugee crisis.

    This outstanding individual must:

      • Be a current or former refugee
      • Have demonstrated leadership and a strong voice while working on behalf of other refugees (For example: working towards improving the lives of other refugee youth or working to protect the rights of refugee girls)
      • Be nominated by other individuals or organizations (Self-nominations are not eligible)

    Travel Time and Expenses

    The selected honorees must be able to travel to New York and stay for a few days prior to the Voices of Courage Awards Luncheon to accept the award. The Women’s Refugee Commission will cover all travel and lodging expenses for each of the two awardees selected. Honorees are welcome to attend with a guest, however, WRC is not able to cover their travel or expenses.


    Nominations must be received by Friday, December 29, 2017 at 5pm EST (GMT-5) and must be complete to be eligible. An independent committee comprised of U.S.-based business leaders, philanthropists, and humanitarian aid experts will select the two final awardees from this pool.

    To submit a nomination, please:

      • Complete the nomination form via email
        • Download the nomination form
        • Once completed, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Click here to learn more about last year’s event and honorees.

    I encourage you to nominate an extraordinary individual you know today and connect the inspiring leaders in your orbit with the international audience we will convene next May in New York.

    These stories need to be told.

    Nominate a refugee leader.

    Thank you in advance for your help.


    sarah costa signature

    Sarah Costa

    Executive Director