|Meeting the Humanitarian Challenge - UNV's Work Between Conflict and Development (United Nations Volunteers, 44 p.)|
|UNV humanitarian action in the field: Effort and impact|
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.