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close this bookMeeting the Humanitarian Challenge - UNV's Work Between Conflict and Development (United Nations Volunteers, 44 p.)
close this folderUNV humanitarian action in the field: Effort and impact
View the documentThe link to development: UNDP's strategic role
View the documentSupporting field coordination of response to complex emergencies
View the documentIdentifying the neediest and their survival strategies
View the documentRe-focusing and fine-tuning relief efforts
View the documentDelivery of urgent relief supplies to emergency victims
View the documentShelter and services for refugees and displacees
View the documentRepatriation/return of refugees and displacees
View the documentMonitoring and promoting respect for human rights, and enabling protection
View the documentConfidence- and capacity-building at community level
View the documentPreventing conflict and mending bridges between communities
View the documentFocusing on the special needs of women and vulnerable groups
View the documentEducation as therapy and for employment
View the documentRestoring food self-sufficiency
View the documentRebuilding primary health care and preventing epidemics
View the documentDeveloping new opportunities for sustainable recovery

Focusing on the special needs of women and vulnerable groups

Displaced and refugee populations usually consist mainly of women, children, and the aged. For example, sixty percent of the beneficiaries of UNV specialists' activities with refugees in Burundi and Tanzania are Rwandan women and children.

The condition of women and children in complex emergencies such as conflict or famine is most fragile, especially in that female-headed households tend to form such a major part of such populations. The economic as well as physical dislocation of conflict renders them extremely vulnerable. Material well-being is also an insufficient concern - the mental, psychological and social well-being of people under the shock of the loss of family members and friends and the trauma of warfare are more difficult to deal with, and require more sustained support, especially to restore self-esteem.

In Bosnia-Hercegovina, a scattered group of UNV women social services officers with UNHCR counselled traumatised rape victims, set up care-and-healing centers, and restored child-care centers and orphanages to receive abandoned infants, e.g. in Sarajevo and Zenice.

In Somalia, determined efforts by a Japanese UNV, Midori Paxton, to involve Somali women's groups in rehabilitation bore fruit when workshops conducted by UNOSOM drew several womens' groups together to lend them a collective voice on the role which Somali women should play in reconstruction and on issues such as health and orphan care. Women's cooperatives have also been created among refugees from Mali in Mauritania, with the help of UNV specialists serving therewith UNHCR.

Driven out of house and home in the former Yugoslavia - a mother and her children.