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Highlights Gender Insights in the Pacific Emergencies Gender in Humanitarian Action Workshop 12-03-2012 By Linda Pennells IASC GenCap Adviser. Acknowledging collaboration with Vanuatu and Samoa Red Cross Societies, MWCD and UNDP. Session Flow. Gender insights into TC Vania in Vanuatu - 2010

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acknowledging collaboration with vanuatu and samoa red cross societies mwcd and undp

HighlightsGender Insights in the Pacific EmergenciesGender in Humanitarian Action Workshop12-03-2012By Linda PennellsIASC GenCap Adviser

Acknowledging collaboration with Vanuatu and Samoa Red Cross Societies, MWCD and UNDP

session flow
Session Flow
  • Gender insights into TC Vania in Vanuatu - 2010
  • Participants’ insights on the Fiji floods– 2012
  • Gender reflection on the Tuvalu Drought -2011
  • Gender insights from the Samoa Tsunami -2009
  • Introducing gender tools for humanitarian action
gender insights into tc vania atu
Gender Insights into TC Vania/Atu

Two TCs hit Tafea Province, S Vanuatu, in early 2011

  • TC Vania (Jan 12-13) and TC Atu (Feb 20-22)
  • Prolonged wind and rain from TC Vania (Cat 1) damage staple and cash crops
  • TC Atu (Cat 4) deepens crop loss
  • TCs piggybacked drought and volcanic acid rain in Tanna, Tafea’s largest island
women s participation
Women’s participation
  • Few women in: NDMO, TAGs, area councils, many community disaster committees, some NGOs
  • Without women: DRM has only half the energy, skills, solutions
  • Women’s participation is essential as a ‘critical mass’ in:
    • Assessments
    • All DRM mechanisms from NDMO down to community
    • Community disaster committees
  • Cluster approach attracts donors to step forward (TOR, timely assessment, response plan, strategic use of members’ capacities)
  • NFIs distributed then water systems repaired in 5 months (50+ systems)
  • Lost opportunity – no engagement of women/men to revitalize water user groups – no hygiene, sanitation or O&M - could have built onto RWS and NGO training/facilitation
  • Shortage of women in WASH distribution teams (one only per team)
wash cont d
WASH cont’d
  • Gender analysis warranted: collapsible jerry cans, purification tabs vs filters
  • Good gender practice:
    • Gender-balanced team demonstrate water testing in Tanna communities
    • Cluster post-completion questionnaire shows women as well as men influenced design in some communities
    • VRCS field teams identify/correct Aniwa beneficiary lists: 45 uncounted HHs, mainly widow and single-mother HHs
agriculture and food
Agriculture and Food
  • Response revolves around distribution of rice, fast-growing seeds and cuttings.
  • 600+ bags of rice were rain damaged. Others walked.
  • Stakeholder and community consultations suggest that, “women would not let rice get wet and spoil” and their involvement would better insure inclusive equitable and accountable distribution
agriculture good practice
Agriculture – good practice

Power of ‘kava mail’ – nakamal network facilitates exchange of Middlebush taro for W Tanna coconut

Distribution of seeds and

cuttings familiar to Tafea

men & women

Livelihoods assessment

of Futuna and Aniwa

called for balanced

support to pandanus

handicrafts (women’s

income) and fisheries

industries (men’s income).

chiefs close markets
Chiefs close markets

Consultation: Tafeo Coop Market (21 women vendors)

  • Reason for closure: “If they see you selling, there will be no rice”
  • Result:
    • Lost income
    • Rotting food
    • Customers forced to buy less-nutritious costly shop food

*Sale of kava and Whitesands fish was not interrupted


Risks to children, especially girls, were identified in the Vania Joint Damage Assessment but no formal protection response followed.

Violence and neglect data: Tanna Women’s Counseling Centre

New domestic violence clients: up more than 300%

2010 (12 months) – 12 2011 (9 months) - 39

More cases of men not paying child maintenance

2010 (12 months) – 14 2011 (9 months) - 39

  • UNICEF pocket-sized brochure used in WASH distribution included psycho-social messages.
  • One psycho-social stress cited, particularly for women, is failure to meet church donation targets.
health and nutrition
Health and Nutrition

Action Needed

  • Lenakel Hospital: Due to unrepaired damage of reproductive health unit, post-Vania drop in pre-natal and post-natal consultations, increase in unplanned pregnancies, increase in hospital admissions from bush abortions gone wrong.
health and nutrition cont d
Health and Nutrition cont’d
  • Priority not invested in collecting health lessons learned. MoH/WHO do not collect sex-disaggregated data for disaster response (child or adult) or document variances between women and men.
  • Nutrition: Three weeks after cyclone strike was identified as the ‘hunger peak’. Nutrition needs were not fully assessed for timely response (e.g. micro-nutrients, Vit A, iodized salt, breastfeeding).Long-term potential of cluster assessment: evidence to identify an appropriate ‘food basket’ and pre-positioning arrangements.
  • SC discussing research into boy preference and its potential manifestation in emergencies (food, school)

The telling evidence will be in student attendance – figures not yet available.

  • MoE took responsibility for repairing schools and waived secondary school fees to prevent student pull-out.
  • EMIS reports total Tafea secondary enrollment in the term following the cyclones as 1139 boys and 1137 girls. This is 47 more boys and 143 more girls than in the corresponding term in 2010.
questions and comments
Questions and Comments
  • Plenary discussion: Vania response
  • On to the Fiji floods – pairs discussion
gender insights tuvalu drought
Gender Insights – Tuvalu Drought
  • No attempt to focus on the most vulnerable: i.e. water and NFIs for all - no extra water for pregnant and lactating women
  • Women’s Division excluded from drought decision-making body
  • Outer island assessment (5 islands) team includes 1 woman and 13 men
  • No gender analysis of root causes of drought and water management practices (i.e. poor guttering care, leaking tanks, wasteful water use)
gender insights samoa tsunami
Gender Insights – Samoa Tsunami

Most deaths: children, women and the elderly – assess

capacities and vulnerabilities of women, girls, boys, men


  • Better vulnerability mapping by community men and women: people living on the fringe of villages (FHHs, freeholders, ostracized families, squatters) e.g. Ma NuuManuia Project
  • Clear distribution criteria and process- full participation of women and men
  • More gender analysis, sex and age disaggregated data and gender indicators in DRR and recovery (Progress Report: Hyogo and DRM -2011)
  • Better land dispute mechanisms for all, especially women
gender insights continued
Gender Insights continued
  • Micro credit interest relief is in place
  • Coordinated mental health mechanism for psycho-social response and skills upgrading in trauma counseling for equal # of men & women


  • Ensure equity in shelter and water sharing e.g. community cohesion suffers when some extended families get one fale and others get fales for each of their constituent nuclear families; community water tanks. Experience shows engaging women can assist with both water and shelter equity.

Early Recovery

  • Ensure equal benefit. Be pro-active in ensuring men and women fully participate in planning & in livelihoods
gender insights continued1
Gender Insights – continued

More consideration is needed to a Protection Cluster and protection issues: (gaps)

  • Weak capture of domestic violence / GBV
  • Care giver burn-out and unmet PS need
  • American wives advertise ‘come get an orphan’
  • Involve but do not over-rely on women’s committees, pastors and their wives in times of family trauma
  • Ensure a gender analysis: e.g. boys play dead/burying games; Poutasiteacher reports boys and male teachers able to return to school weeks earlier than girls and female teachers
best practices
Best Practices
  • Some good efforts to have a critical mass of women and men in field teams (SRC 60%M-40%W)
  • Samoan diaspora (women and men) contributed to high level of appropriateness in food and NFIs. Still needed, however, is a list of appropriate food and NFIs including drugs, ensuring infant formula does not replace breast milk, food is not expired and items are culturally appropriate.
  • Private sector initiative: tourist fale recovery – vital employment for young men and women (fewer alternatives for female youth)
gender resources
Gender Resources
  • IASC Gender Marker Tip Sheets: gender analysis questions and tips to help create gender-responsive projects:
  • Free gender e-training which features gender issues in each humanitarian cluster. Certificate issued for all who complete this interactive training: or order a free CD ROM from