Participation of HAWCA’s representative in “South Asia peer learning regional consultation on disaster preparedness for an effective response for gender equality and women‘s empowerment”

This workshop organized by UN women on 28-30 November of 2016 in Kathmandu, Nepal. This appreciated workshop is bringing three key constituencies (national women’s machinery, national disaster managements agencies and women’s group) for greater synergy and coordination to address disaster preparedness from gender equality and women’s empowerment lens. The participants of this workshop from Afghanistan included representatives from the CSO organizations, women affairs and UN Women representatives.

Through disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides, droughts and fires effects everyone, pre- existing gender equalities mean that women and girls are disproportionately impacted.

This Responses to disasters has been effective in prompting gender equality and women’s empowerment, including in terms of identifying, assessing and responding to the impact and needs of women and girls.

At the international level, the Hyogo frameworks for action 2005-2015 that was endorsed but the world conference on disaster reduction emphasizes the need to mainstream gender equality across all the conditions including the policies, plans, decision making, process, pre-warning systems, information management, education and training related to disaster management.

The Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction 2015-2030 endorsed recently by the third world conference on disaster risk reduction held in Sendai, Japan on march 18,2015 also emphasized the importance of mainstreaming gender, age , disability and cultural sensitivity in to all policies and programs, and to increase the role of women and  youth, while mainstreaming of gender equality and social inclusion to minimize the impact of disasters that targets women and girls has been emphasized at the national and international level,  however it has not been sufficiently put in to practice.

Rohina Bawer HAWCA’ representative to this workshop has spoken on behalf of Coordination, women’s core group working on Humanitarian response and disaster risk reduction, she has mentioned in her speech conflict disaster that Afghan people are suffering daily from.

“Unfortunately, with every passing day we witness the murder, rape, mutilation and abuse of women in our country. At the same time, we are witnessing the fact that the murderers of Farkhunda and countless other such women in our homeland continue to bully and assault women with impunity and enjoy the hearty support of arch-criminals in the government and outside it.

During the past four decades that our country has been embroiled in war. With the growing awareness of women, fundamentalist and reactionary forces and governments in every society see the writing on the wall. Therefore, a prominent feature of such situation is to suppress the emancipation movements of women and imprison this half of society within the confines of the home. Women’s voices raised for their rights can and must morph into a women’s emancipation movement. We saw in the course of the past year how the blood of innocents Farkhunda united our people and brought thousands into the streets. That is why all kinds of violence against women such as acid throwing, beating, stoning, informal community tribunal verdicts, burning, forced marriages, forced pregnancies, forced abortions have reached a peak. Girls in Afghanistan are facing the challenges in education too, although some 13,000 girls enroll at schools in Kandahar each year only a tiny proportion actually graduate.

The drop-out rate is exacerbated by conservative traditions including early marriage as well as wider issues of honor.

Figures for the last educational year showed that 2,735 boys finished school compared to only 528 girls.

 Child marriage is still a challenge for Afghan girls, In Afghanistan, 57 percent of girls are married before the age of 19, In addition, lack of access to education and healthcare, and social problems such as street harassment, are among the difficulties Afghan girls are facing.

At the end she spoke about GiHA (Gender in Humanitarian Action Task Force) After the Badakhshan Earthquake October 2015, under the UN Agencies Gender Working Group (GWG) the GiHA Task Force was created to interface with local civil society for improved coordination. The GiHA Task Force adopts the vision of the GWG for a “peaceful and progressive Afghanistan where women and men enjoy security, equal rights and opportunities in all aspects of life.” 

Its mission is to raise awareness, build capacity and monitor the work of the humanitarian community in Afghanistan on gender equality programming in humanitarian action and to find strategies to work in synergy with development actors to mitigate the impact of crises on sustainable development.

Recommendation:

1.    Capacity development of local Civil Society Organization in gender equality and Disaster Risk Reduction.

2.    Improved coordination between Government, Civil Society Organization and UN agencies on gender in Disaster Risk Reduction and response

3.    Improving localized research, analysis and peer learning mechanisms on women empowerment issues

4.    All Project allocations for local level NGOs who work with women

5.    All international forums should draw from local level Civil Society Organization voices