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It takes a village to empower displaced women and girls in displacement sites worldwide

Today we celebrate World Humanitarian Day by thanking the Women's Participation Project (WPP) field colleagues currently implementing in Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen for their efforts in ensuring meaningful participation for women and girls in IDP settings.    "I am happy to be contributing to empowering displaced women, valuing their opinions, and ensuring that their leaders, partners, and others respect and take their needs into consideration." - Muanesse, CCCM Team, Mozambique On this day, we also take the opportunity to highlight the importance, effectiveness, and positive impact of WPP's work in addressing the needs of women and girls in camps and camp-like settings. "This is the first year we see displaced women taking leadership roles in sites, and that's because of the women committees that we have proudly formed." - CCCM Team, Yemen Thousands of women and girls have felt more confident due to the IOM field team's support, who believed in the project mission and worked hard to make a tangible change in the communities. "I feel I am a part of a meaningful project where women are empowered to become leaders, decision-makers, and breadwinners in their communities."- Titus, CCCM Team, South Sudan The Women's Participation Project is a global initiative implemented by IOM in different displacement contexts and settings to support equitable and meaningful participation and representation of displaced women and girls. Initiated in 2016, the Project is part of the 'Safe from the Start' Initiative funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM).  The Project has helped amplify the voices of more than 6000 displaced women and girls in 12 countries worldwide and has contributed to mitigating the risk of gender-based violence in these locations.  

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Tailoring courses and leadership training support a young woman’s dream in South Sudan

  Victoria is a young, displaced woman living in the Naivasha IDP site in WAU, South Sudan, since 2017. With the support of the Women's Participation Project (WPP) throughout the years, Victoria has become a camp community leader and has recently enrolled in tailoring courses that have changed her present and future.    Victoria finds life in the Naivasha camp extremely dangerous. As women and girls lack access to education and economic opportunities, it is challenging to be financially independent or feel confident to be engaged in breadwinning activities.  "Often men let off steam on their wives because they are unemployed and unable to carry the burden of providing for their families alone," Victoria says. She also adds that women do not only face gender-based violence in their homes but are also subject to harassment and rape from men on the site.  Under the Women's Participation Project implemented by IOM in South Sudan, Victoria has learned to tailor and sell bedsheets and tablecloths and has received leadership training that helped her boost her self-esteem. The Project aims to enhance livelihood opportunities and strengthen participation for displaced women and girls, mitigating the risk of gender-based violence.   "With the revenue I am earning as a tailor, I was able to send my three children to school and participate in the household's expenses," Victoria announces proudly.  With the support and leadership training Victoria received throughout the Project, Victoria could identify the needs of displaced women and girls on the site and address solutions to their problems: "Displaced young girls require education and vocational training in tailoring, bread making, protection and job opportunities to support their lives and families."   Victoria recognises the difference she could make as an empowered young woman who can provide for herself and her family. This realisation had made her self-confident and ambitious: "In five years, I see myself working in an NGO or a government institution, living outside of this camp, raising my kids in a better house and sending them to better schools."  The Women's Participation Project that supported Victoria and others derives from a global initiative implemented by IOM and other organisations in different displacement contexts and settings to support equitable and meaningful participation and representation of displaced women and girls. Initiated in 2016, the WPP is part of the 'Safe from the Start' Initiative funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM).   The WPP Project has helped amplify the voices of more than 6000 displaced women and girls in 12 countries worldwide and has contributed to mitigating the risk of gender-based violence in these locations.    

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Displaced women enroll in literacy courses in the Democratic Republic of Congo

60 women joined literacy courses piloted in Kikumbe IDP site (Tanganyika, DRC) based on a need identified during community consultations. The classes officially started on 28 June 2022, and are facilitated by the local NGO SAFEKA, with three teachers recruited for this purpose.      Through extensive community consultation and mutual agreement between community members, the selected participants decided to attend the course three days a week from 2 to 5 pm. Those who attend all the classes will receive a pack containing cooking salt and soap each weekend as an incentive during the three months of training.  The courses are temporarily held in one of the existing community hangars of the site while waiting for the "Women Friendly Space" hangar suggested by the women of the site to be built. The pilot literacy courses will be extended to more women and girls if proven to be successful.   Implemented under the Women's Participation Project, this activity aims to increase women's capacity to strengthen their participation in decision-making on the site and contribute to their resilience after displacement.    The Women's Participation Project (WPP) is a global initiative implemented by IOM in different displacement contexts and settings to support equitable and meaningful participation and representation of displaced women and girls. Initiated in 2016, the Project is part of the 'Safe from the Start' Initiative funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM).  Through a comprehensive participatory methodology and an inclusive toolkit developed by the Women's Refugee Commission (WRC) in coordination with the Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, the Project has helped amplify the voices of more than 6000 displaced women and girls in 12 countries worldwide and has contributed to mitigating the risk of gender-based violence in these locations. 

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Focus on Disability: Inclusion in North-East Nigeria

More than half of the population displaced in Northeast Nigeria from 2009 to 2021 living in camps are women and girls. They experience displacement differently from men and boys and face specific challenges that must be better understood to provide them with the support they need. Women and girls, in particular those living with disabilities, are often excluded from decision-making processes that have a direct effect on their lives and do not usually have a systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The decade-long conflict continues to take its toll on access to food, overcrowding of camps and shrinking access for humanitarians, which has led to increased vulnerability of displaced populations living in camps.   Approximately 27%[1] of vulnerable displaced people in Northeast Nigeria have a disability, a number that has increased by the insurgency. Persons with disabilities living in camps are disproportionately affected, often being excluded from activities and interventions. With a lack of wheelchairs or other mobility aids, and with some people having lost their caregivers, persons with disabilities face further barriers particularly in regard to mobility to places of distribution and the physical implications a distribution brings. Persons with disabilities face discrimination and stigmatisation due to cultural and societal norms, which further hinderances their access. Moreover, there is a lack of inclusion and representation of person with disabilities in decision-making and camp governance structures or leadership in camps.   Through the Women’s Participation Project, IOM seeks to empower those who are facing increased vulnerability and risk to gender-based violence while ensuring that cultural norms and traditions are respected and considered. The Women’s Participation Project has been implemented in Nigeria since 2016, with the objective to enhance women’s participation in decision making, work towards reducing risks of Gender-based Violence (GBV) and ensure the inclusion of groups at risk, including persons with disabilities, in any of the project interventions.  Currently, the project has been expanded to sites in Maiduguri (Bakasi, NYSC, Dalori), Konduga (Federal Training Centre), Jere (Muna El Badawy camp) and three hard-to-reach areas – Bama, Ngala and Gwoza.   According to a baseline assessment conducted in Dalori 2 in November 2020, persons with disabilities have been excluded in camp activities with no systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The assessment also captured thelack of representation of persons with disabilities in leadership structures. To address this issue and to enhance their participation, the Women’s Participation Project focused on enhancing the inclusion of persons (women, girls, men, and boys) with disabilities in leadership structures through advocacy meetings with community leaders and formalizing a disability committee with terms of reference. Across all four sites, 235 individuals were selected to participate in the Leadership Skills training, including members of the disabilities committee, aimed at improving the inclusion of women, girls, and persons with disabilities in camp decision making and increasing the understanding of the committees’ roles and responsibilities.   In 2021, the Women’s Participation Project focused on addressing the mobility challenge faced by persons with disabilities. The project supported 28 persons with disabilities with mobility aids such as hand and arm crutches, tricycles, and wheelchairs, with the aim to improve their mobility and to increase their access to livelihood activities of their choice.   [1] https://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/files/vulnerability-screening-report-round-ii-june-2016_en.pdf

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Focus on Disability: Inclusion in North-East Nigeria

More than half of the population displaced in Northeast Nigeria from 2009 to 2021 living in camps are women and girls. They experience displacement differently from men and boys and face specific challenges that must be better understood to provide them with the support they need. Women and girls, in particular those living with disabilities, are often excluded from decision-making processes that have a direct effect on their lives and do not usually have a systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The decade-long conflict continues to take its toll on access to food, overcrowding of camps and shrinking access for humanitarians, which has led to increased vulnerability of displaced populations living in camps.   Approximately 27%[1] of vulnerable displaced people in Northeast Nigeria have a disability, a number that has increased by the insurgency. Persons with disabilities living in camps are disproportionately affected, often being excluded from activities and interventions. With a lack of wheelchairs or other mobility aids, and with some people having lost their caregivers, persons with disabilities face further barriers particularly in regard to mobility to places of distribution and the physical implications a distribution brings. Persons with disabilities face discrimination and stigmatisation due to cultural and societal norms, which further hinderances their access. Moreover, there is a lack of inclusion and representation of person with disabilities in decision-making and camp governance structures or leadership in camps.   Through the Women’s Participation Project, IOM seeks to empower those who are facing increased vulnerability and risk to gender-based violence while ensuring that cultural norms and traditions are respected and considered. The Women’s Participation Project has been implemented in Nigeria since 2016, with the objective to enhance women’s participation in decision making, work towards reducing risks of Gender-based Violence (GBV) and ensure the inclusion of groups at risk, including persons with disabilities, in any of the project interventions.  Currently, the project has been expanded to sites in Maiduguri (Bakasi, NYSC, Dalori), Konduga (Federal Training Centre), Jere (Muna El Badawy camp) and three hard-to-reach areas – Bama, Ngala and Gwoza.   According to a baseline assessment conducted in Dalori 2 in November 2020, persons with disabilities have been excluded in camp activities with no systematic channel for voicing their concerns. The assessment also captured thelack of representation of persons with disabilities in leadership structures. To address this issue and to enhance their participation, the Women’s Participation Project focused on enhancing the inclusion of persons (women, girls, men, and boys) with disabilities in leadership structures through advocacy meetings with community leaders and formalizing a disability committee with terms of reference. Across all four sites, 235 individuals were selected to participate in the Leadership Skills training, including members of the disabilities committee, aimed at improving the inclusion of women, girls, and persons with disabilities in camp decision making and increasing the understanding of the committees’ roles and responsibilities.   In 2021, the Women’s Participation Project focused on addressing the mobility challenge faced by persons with disabilities. The project supported 28 persons with disabilities with mobility aids such as hand and arm crutches, tricycles, and wheelchairs, with the aim to improve their mobility and to increase their access to livelihood activities of their choice.   [1] https://www.globalprotectioncluster.org/_assets/files/vulnerability-screening-report-round-ii-june-2016_en.pdf

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Women’s Participation Project & Toolkit

Women’s Participation Project

The Women’s Participation Project (WPP) was developed by IOM and the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) in coordination with the Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster as part of the global-level Safe from the Start initiative aimed at reducing GBV risks in camp and camp-like settings. The objective of the project is to allow CCCM practitioners to have a broader understanding of what participation is and develop strategies adapted to the context to enhance the participation of women and girls in displacement sites.

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Women's Participation Project
Toolkit

The Toolkit

The Women’s Participation Toolkit is a resource for CCCM actors working in camp and camp-like settings who recognize that to improve the safety and to mitigate the risks to gender-based violence (GBV) for women and girls, women and girls must participate in decision-making mechanisms and governance structures within the camp and camp-like settings.

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Countries Roll-Out

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