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Humanitarian Assistance

Feminism in the Humanitarian Machine. Introduction to the Special Section on ‘The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender-based Violence’

Citation:

Veit, Alex. 2019. "Feminism in the Humanitarian Machine. Introduction to the Special Section on ‘The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender-based Violence.’" Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 13 (4): 401-17.

Author: Alex Veit

Abstract:

The prevention and mitigation of sexual and gender-based violence in (post-) conflict societies has become an important humanitarian activity. This introductory article examines the analytical discourses on these interventions, the institutionalization of SGBV expertise in international politics, and the emancipatory potential of anti-SGBV practices. It argues that the confluence of feminist professional activism and militarized humanitarian interventionism produced specific international activities against SGBV. As part of the institutionalization of gender themes in international politics, feminist emancipatory claims have been taken up by humanitarian organizations. The normal operating state of the humanitarian machine, however, undercuts its potential contribution to social transformation towards larger gender equality in (post-) conflict societies.

Keywords: conflict-related sexual violence, humanitarian intervention, post-conflict, liberalism, feminism, governance

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence

Year: 2019

Delivering Trauma and Rehabilitation Interventions to Women and Children in Conflict Settings: A Systematic Review

Citation:

Jain, Reena P., Sarah Meteke, Michelle F. Gaffey, Mahdis Kamali, Mariella Munyuzangabo, Daina Als, Shailja Shah, Fahad J. Siddiqui, Amruta Radhakrishnan, Anushka Ataullahjan, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta. 2020. "Delivering Trauma and Rehabilitation Interventions to Women and Children in Conflict Settings: A Systematic Review." BMJ Global Health 5 (1).

Authors: Reena P. Jain, Sarah Meteke, Michelle F. Gaffey, Mahdis Kamali, Mariella Munyuzangabo, Daina Als, Shailja Shah, Fahad J. Siddiqui, Amruta Radhakrishnan, Anushka Ataullahjan, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Abstract:

Background: In recent years, more than 120million people each year have needed urgent humanitarian assistance and protection. Armed conflict has profoundly negative consequences in communities. Destruction of civilian infrastructure impacts access to basic health services and complicates widespread emergency responses. The number of conflicts occurring is increasing, lasting longer and affecting more people today than a decade ago. The number of children living in conflict zones has been steadily increasing since the year 2000, increasing the need for health services and resources. This review systematically synthesised the indexed and grey literature reporting on the delivery of trauma and rehabilitation interventions for conflict-affected populations. 
 
Methods: A systematic search of literature published from 1 January 1990 to 31 March 2018 was conducted across several databases. Eligible publications reported on women and children in low and middle-income countries. Included publications provided information on the delivery of interventions for trauma, sustained injuries or rehabilitation in conflict-affected populations. 
 
Results: A total of 81 publications met the inclusion criteria, and were included in our review. Nearly all of the included publications were observational in nature, employing retrospective chart reviews of surgical procedures delivered in a hospital setting to conflict affected individuals. The majority of publications reported injuries due to explosive devices and remnants of war. Injuries requiring orthopaedic/reconstructive surgeries were the most commonly reported interventions. Barriers to health services centred on the distance and availability from the site of injury to health facilities. 
 
Conclusions: Traumatic injuries require an array of medical and surgical interventions, and their effective treatment largely depends on prompt and timely management and referral, with appropriate rehabilitation services and post-treatment follow-up. Further work to evaluate intervention delivery in this domain is needed, particularly among children given their specialised needs, and in different population displacement contexts.

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Trauma, Infrastructure, Humanitarian Assistance

Year: 2020

Women, Internal Displacement and the Boko Haram Conflict: Broadening the Debate

Citation:

Ajayi, Titilope F. 2020. "Women, Internal Displacement and the Boko Haram Conflict: Broadening the Debate." African Security 13 (2): 171-94.

Author: Titilope F. Ajayi

Abstract:

Women and children make up 79 per cent of the population displaced by the conflict between the Nigerian government and the armed movement informally known as Boko Haram. Their lived experiences expose the considerable protection and humanitarian risks of being female in violent contexts and the complexities of addressing them. In addition to open conflict and inconsistent policy and humanitarian responses, women’s displacement is being protracted by disjunctures between women’s roles and their construction as victims in policy and humanitarian frameworks. Construed as lacking agency, displaced women are resisting the hardship of displacement by returning to Boko Haram. This article argues for a rethinking of the importance of context, autonomy and agency as a prerequisite to reconciling false narratives about women’s experiences of conflict and displacement and their lived realities. It speaks to broader debates about women and conflict and the utility of current approaches and frameworks for addressing the roles and needs of women in these contexts.

Keywords: Nigeria, gender and security, IDPs, UNSCR 1325, women, peace and security in Africa

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Peace and Security, Terrorism, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

Lingu, Bomba Talu and Naombo: Triple Disaster in Central Sulawesi: A Gender Analysis

Citation:

Fatimah, Dati, and Fiona Roberts. 2019. Lingu, Bomba Talu and Naombo: Triple Disaster in Central Sulawesi: A Gender Analysis. Oxfam.

Authors: Dati Fatimah, Fiona Roberts

Annotation:

Summary:
On 28 September 2018, a major earthquake (lingu in the local language) with a magnitude of 7.4 struck Central Sulawesi in Indonesia, triggering a near-field tsunami (bomba talu), large-scale soil liquefaction (naombo) and landslides. As part of the subsequent humanitarian response, Oxfam and humanitarian networking partners JMK, including local organizations LBH APIK Palu and PKBI Palu, conducted research in camps for internally displaced persons in affected areas. The aim was to find out how the impacts of the disaster differed for women, men, boys and girls, as well as the variations in their roles and their access to and control of resources. As part of the assessment, the researchers carried out a rapid analysis of care work and also made efforts to identify how different groups might participate in the humanitarian response. This gender analysis is based on those research findings. It makes recommendations on how to respond to immediate and life-saving practical and strategic needs, with a focus on gender. It can also be used to inform and improve future responses to similar disasters in the same geographical area. (Summary from Oxfam)

 

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, IDPs, Refugee/IDP Camps, Economies, Care Economies, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2019

A Female Genealogy of Humanitarian Action: Compassion as a Practice in the Work of Josephine Butler, Florence Nightingale and Sarah Monod

Citation:

Martín-Moruno, Dolores. 2020. "A Female Genealogy of Humanitarian Action: Compassion as a Practice in the Work of Josephine Butler, Florence Nightingale and Sarah Monod." Medicine, Conflict and Survival 36 (1): 19-40.

Author: Dolores Martín-Moruno

Abstract:

Taking the Second Conference of the International Abolitionist Federation as a starting point, this article reconstructs a female genealogy of humanitarian action by shedding light on the transnational connections established by Josephine Butler, Florence Nightingale and Sarah Monod between the abolitionist cause against the state regulation of prostitution and the nursing movement. By using gender and emotion histories as the main methodologies, their letters, journals and drawings are analysed in order to question their alleged natural compassion towards the unfortunate by examining this emotion as a practice performed according to gender, class, religious and ethnic differences. As an expression of maternal imperialism, this essentialist vision provided them with an agency while taking care of victims. However, Butler, Nightingale and Monod’s care did not only work in complicity with late-nineteenth century British and French Empires, as it frequently came into conflict with the decisions taken by male authorities, such as those represented by politicians, military officials and physicians. By carefully looking at the conformation of their subjectivities through their written and visual documents, their compassion ultimately appears more as a tactic, for asserting their very different stances concerning Western women’s role in society, than as an authentically experienced emotion.

Keywords: gender and women's history, post-colonial studies, history of emotions, International Abolitionist Federation, history of nursing, history of humanitarian relief

Topics: Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Humanitarian Assistance, Religion

Year: 2020

Embodying Difference: Reading Gender in Women's Memoirs of Humanitarianism

Citation:

Read, Róisín. 2018. "Embodying Difference: Reading Gender in Women's Memoirs of Humanitarianism." Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 12 (3): 300-18.

Author: Róisín Read

Abstract:

This article explores embodied difference in humanitarianism and peacebuilding by treating women's memoirs as a form of ‘flesh witnessing’. It argues that the essays in the anthology Chasing Misery are claims to the authority of ‘The Field’ that also reveal the women’s feelings of only ‘passing’ as aid workers. Three distinct themes are noted: the construction of The Field as a site of embodied authority and the ways in which the essays reinforce and trouble this; the writers feeling different, and separate, from those they work with/for; and the embodied gender presented with reference to imagined ‘real’ aid workers.

Keywords: gender, difference, passing, embodiment, memoir, aid worker

Topics: Gender, Women, Humanitarian Assistance, Peacebuilding

Year: 2018

Engendering Care: HIV, Humanitarian Assistance in Africa and the Reproduction of Gender Stereotypes

Citation:

Mindry, Deborah. 2010. "Engendering Care: HIV, Humanitarian Assistance in Africa and the Reproduction of Gender Stereotypes." Culture, Health & Sexuality 12 (5): 555-68.

 

Author: Deborah Mindry

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT
This paper draws upon recent research in Durban, South Africa to unravel the complexities of care ethics in the context of humanitarian aid. It investigates how the gendering of care shapes the provision of aid in the context of the HIV in Africa constructing an image of ‘virile’ and ‘violent’ African masculinity. Humanitarian organisations construct imagined relations of caring, invoking notions of a shared humanity as informing the imperative to facilitate change. This paper draws on varied examples of research and NGO activity to illustrate how these relations of care are strongly gendered. Humanitarian interventions that invoke universalising conceptions of need could instead draw on feminist care ethics that seeks to balance rights, justice and care in ways that attend to the webs of relationships through which specific lived realities are shaped. Essentialising feminised discourses on care result in a skewed analysis of international crises that invariably construct women (and children) as victims in need of care, which at best ignore the lived experiences of men and, at worst, cast men as virile and violent vectors of disease and social disorder.
FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Cet article s'inspire d'une récente recherche à Durban, en Afrique du Sud, pour révéler les complexités de l'éthique des soins dans le contexte de l'aide humanitaire. Il examine la manière dont l'intégration des notions de genre aux soins détermine l'approvisionnement en aide dans le contexte du VIH en Afrique, en conceptualisant une image de la masculinité africaine «virile» et «violente». Les organisations humanitaires conceptualisent des relations imaginées du soin, basées sur des notions d'humanité solidaire qui informent l'impératif de la facilitation du changement. Cet article s'inspire d'exemples variés de recherche et d'activité des ONG pour illustrer l'intensité avec laquelle ces relations de soins sont basées sur le genre. Les interventions humanitaires qui invoquent l'universalisation des conceptions des besoins devraient plutôt s'inspirer de l'éthique féministe des soins, qui cherche à équilibrer les droits, la justice et les soins de manière à assister les réseaux des relations à travers lesquelles les réalités spécifiques vécues sont définies. L'essentialisation des discours féminisés sur les soins a pour résultat une analyse faussée des crises internationales qui, de manière invariable, conceptualisent les femmes (et les enfants) comme des victimes nécessitant des soins et, au mieux, ignorent les expériences vécues des hommes; au pire, représentent ces derniers comme des vecteurs virils et violents de la maladie et du désordre social.
SPANISH ABSTRACT:
Este artículo se basa en los recientes estudios en Durban, Sudáfrica, que revelan las complejidades de la ética asistencial en el contexto de la ayuda humanitaria. Analizamos cómo la cuestión del género en la asistencia determina la concesión de ayudas en el contexto del VIH en África construyendo una imagen de masculinidad africana ‘viril’ y ‘violenta. Las organizaciones humanitarias construyen relaciones imaginarias de asistencia invocando nociones de una humanidad compartida que hace imperativo facilitar cambios. En este artículo presentamos varios ejemplos de investigaciones y de las actividades de las ONG para ilustrar cómo estas relaciones de asistencia vienen determinadas en gran medida por el sexo. Las intervenciones humanitarias que invocan conceptos universales de necesidad podrían basarse mejor en la ética de asistencia feminista que intenta equilibrar los derechos, la justicia y la asistencia prestando atención a las redes de relaciones que forman las realidades específicas vividas. Los discursos feministas que esencializan la atención llevan a un análisis sesgado de las crisis internacionales que invariablemente caracteriza a las mujeres (y niños) como víctimas que necesitan cuidados y, en el mejor de los casos, ignora las experiencias vividas por los hombres y, en el peor, representa a los hombres como vectores viriles y violentos de trastornos sociales y enfermedades.

Keywords: gender, africa, masculinity, HIV/AIDS, humanitarian aid

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Health, HIV/AIDS, Humanitarian Assistance, NGOs Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2010

Challenging Refugee Men: Humanitarianism and Masculinities in Za‘tari Refugee Camp

Citation:

Turner, Edward Lewis. 2018. "Challenging Refugee Men: Humanitarianism and Masculinities in Za‘tari Refugee Camp." PhD diss., SOAS University of London. 

Author: Lewis Edward Turner

Abstract:

Feminist scholarship has demonstrated that ‘womenandchildren’ become the central and uncontroversial objects of humanitarian care and control in contexts of conflict, disaster, and displacement. Yet very little scholarly work has attempted to understand the place of men within humanitarian policies, practices and imaginaries. Through an exploration of the life and governance of Za‘tari Refugee Camp, Jordan, in which 80,000 Syrians live, this thesis argues that for humanitarianism, refugee men present a challenge. Humanitarian actors read Syrian men in gendered and racialised ways as agential, independent, political, and at times threatening. Refugee men thereby disrupt humanitarian understandings of refugees as passive, feminised objects of care, and are not understood to be among the ‘vulnerable,’ with whom humanitarians wish to work. Grounded in feminist and critical International Relations scholarship, and with an emphasis on the embodied, material and spatial practices of humanitarianism, this thesis draws on twelve months of fieldwork in Jordan, including participant-observation in Za‘tari Refugee Camp, and interviews with humanitarian workers and refugees. It demonstrates that humanitarian actors consistently prioritise their own goals, logics, and understandings of gender, over those of Syrians themselves, and exercise power in masculinised ways that actively disempower their ‘beneficiaries’. In the name of ‘global’ standards, humanitarian interactions with, and control over, refugee women are justified by a rhetoric of ‘empowerment.’ Refugee men, by contrast, are present but made invisible within the distribution of humanitarian aid, time, space, resources, and employment opportunities. These modes of humanitarian governance challenge Syrian men’s understandings and performances of masculinities. Yet when refugee men attempt to exercise agency in response to the disempowerment they experience in Za‘tari, humanitarian actors understand them as problematically political, and too autonomous from the control of humanitarian and state authorities, who attempt to re-assert their authority over the camp, and render Za‘tari ‘governable.’

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Feminisms, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Humanitarian Assistance, Race Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Jordan

Year: 2018

Girlhood, Violence, and Humanitarian Assistance

Citation:

Namuggala, Victoria Flavia. 2018. "Girlhood, Violence, and Humanitarian Assistance." In Childhood, Youth Identity, and Violence in Formerly Displaced Communities in Uganda, 107-37. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Victoria Flavia Namuggala

Abstract:

This chapter concentrates on humanitarian assistance as a major component of survival during situations of displacement. Despite its contribution in saving lives, humanitarian assistance has its own controversies especially from the perspective of the beneficiaries. My discussion centers on such complexities concentrating on young women in northern Uganda. To bring this out clearly, I examine the nature of aid provided and how recipients conceptualize it, the gendered experiences involved and the sociocultural dynamics that inform the implementation of humanitarian assistance. I conclude that humanitarian assistance at times facilitates violence against young women characterized by starvation, sexual violence, survival sex, early and forced marriages, and increased spread of HIV/AIDS. This is due to operation through cultural patriarchal structures that sustain power hierarchies in favor of men.

Topics: Age, Youth, Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Health, HIV/AIDS, Humanitarian Assistance, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2018

The Space between Us: Feminist Values and Humanitarian Power Dynamics in Research with Refugees

Citation:

Lokot, Michelle. 2019. "The Space between Us: Feminist Values and Humanitarian Power Dynamics in Research with Refugees." Gender & Development 27 (3): 467-84.

Author: Michelle Lokot

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
International humanitarian and development agencies striving to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment sometimes neglect to recognise the power hierarchies present in their own engagement with communities. Drawing on research on Syrian refugees and humanitarian workers in Jordan, this article explores the research and monitoring and evaluation practices of international humanitarian agencies. It suggests that the emphasis on generating evidence has resulted in more transactional and less relational engagement with refugees. This paper asks how feminist values can inform research with refugees, and explores how these values may provide less-extractive ways of engaging with displaced populations.
FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Les agences humanitaires et de développement internationales qui s’efforcent de promouvoir l’égalité entre les sexes et l’autonomisation des femmes négligent parfois de reconnaître les hiérarchies de pouvoir présentes dans leurs propres interactions avec les communautés. Cet article s’inspire de travaux de recherche menés parmi les réfugiés syriens et les travailleurs humanitaires en Jordanie pour examiner les pratiques de recherche et de suivi et évaluation des agences humanitaires internationales. Il suggère que l’accent mis sur l’obtention de données probantes a donné lieu à des interactions plus transactionnelles et moins relationnelles avec les réfugiés. Ce document pose la question de savoir comment les valeurs féministes peuvent éclairer les recherches menées parmi les réfugiés, et tente de déterminer comment ces valeurs pourraient fournir des manières moins extractives de dialoguer avec les populations déplacées.
SPANISH ABSTRACT:
Las agencias internacionales humanitarias y de desarrollo cuyos esfuerzos se dirigen a promover la igualdad de género y el empoderamiento de las mujeres, a veces descuidan reconocer las jerarquías de poder presentes en su propia intervención en las comunidades. El presente artículo analiza las prácticas de investigación, monitoreo y evaluación de las agencias humanitarias internacionales tomando como punto de partida una investigación sobre refugiados sirios y trabajadores humanitarios en Jordania. Al respecto sugiere que poner el énfasis en generar evidencia da lugar a un intercambio más centrado en lo transaccional que en lo relacional con los refugiados. Así, este artículo se pregunta cómo los valores feministas pueden aportar a la investigación con refugiados, examinando si es posible que proporcionen formas menos extractivas de interactuar con las poblaciones desplazadas.

Keywords: feminist values, international humanitarian agencies, refugees, power dynamics, research, monitoring and evaluation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Feminisms, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Jordan

Year: 2019

Pages

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