Refugee and Internally Displaced Women: A Development Perspective


Cohen, Roberta. 1995. Refugee and Internally Displaced Women: A Development Perspective. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Author: Roberta Cohen


This paper examines the actual experience of refugee and displaced women in light of the need for their greater integration into development-oriented programs for refugees, displaced persons and returnees. It looks at women’s access to basic services, their role in planning and delivering emergency assistance, their opportunities for economic self-reliance, and their role in reconstructing their home countries after they repatriate. It identifies the obstacles impeding their full integration into economic and social programs and recommends steps to overcome these barriers. It recommends the greater involvement of development agencies and multilateral development banks in programs for refugees and displaced persons, and in particular in efforts to make refugee and displaced women self-sustaining.

Keywords: female refugees, humanitarian aid, reconstruction, resettlement



“Providing development-based assistance to internally displaced persons caught up in conflict situations is an even more difficult challenge...much more could be done to assist the internally displaced to become self-reliant...UNIFEM has developed several low-budget projects for war-torn countries that include the provision of seeds and tools and income-earning activities for refugee and displaced women.” (5)

“The ability of refugee and displaced women to sustain themselves in [reintegration] largely depends on the extent to which they are included in reconstruction and development programs and have been trained sufficiently to participate in them; and whether sufficient international relief and development assistance is made available.” (27)

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Economies, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction

Year: 1995

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