Browse by Theme: Humanitarian

Last March, the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. A year on, Idai serves as a warning that the climate emergency is not going away – and that affected communities need long-term investment, not just piecemeal steps that will continue to be wiped away by the next storm, or dried up by the next drought.

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I have been part of rapid response teams deploying to typhoons, cyclones and floods in Asia and droughts in East and Southern Africa and worked on emergency responses for 15 years. Each time, I’ve seen first-hand how around the world, women and girls are all too often on the frontlines of the climate emergency.

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South Africa has some of the highest rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in the world. But it is also at the forefront of global efforts to understand more about GBV and specifically how to prevent it, hosting the 2019 conference of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI). CARE colleagues joined experts, researchers, practitioners, campaigners and activists from across the world to hear from them and share CARE’s work. Now the question is how to build on this evidence and where to go from here.

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As a researcher, I see that humanitarian practitioners listen to and involve local women and women’s groups when delivering programmes on the ground – or at least, if they don’t, they know that they should. But if we are really serious about localisation and gender equality, we also need to invite women from the countries where we deliver programmes to come to our learning and practice workshops back in our home countries.

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“Here, we have six seasons,” explained CARE’s Shelter Programme Manager, Shah Suja, as we raced along the road that connects Cox’s Bazar town to the refugee camps. Those “six seasons” bring searing heat, torrential rain, cyclones and storm surges – and with nearly a million refugees now living in this hilly and fragile terrain, with no immediate prospects of returning home and yet prohibited from using durable construction materials, creating and maintaining safe shelters is a real challenge.

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We should always identify those who are local to speak for themselves. I always say we have our own mouths. Why don’t we talk, why don’t you give us that room? Ask me what my problem is, and I will tell you...

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When Tropical Cyclone Gita struck Tonga on Monday 12 February 2018 it affected 80,000 men, women, boys and girls – roughly 70% of the entire population. CARE formed a partnership with Live and Learn and MORDI to respond to the immediate needs of those affected on both ‘Eua and Tongatapu. So for others wishing to take this approach, what can be learned from the partnership’s application of localisation principles?

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