Road Built On Hope

Paper publication date: 
Monday, January 23, 2023

Humanitarian emergencies affect women, girls, boys, men, in all their diversity and intersecting iden-tities, differently due to their societal roles and responsibilities. Pre-existing gender inequalities tend to be exacerbated during humanitarian crises and may result in increased burden of care; increased poverty levels; negative coping mechanisms; increased protection risks, including sexual and gender-based violence; inadequate access to information and services etc. As a result, their needs, capaci-ties, coping strategies and vulnerabilities during and after humanitarian crises inevitably vary. Conversely, humanitarian crises and emergencies also present opportunities for positive change in the balance of power between men and women at all levels leading towards greater gender justice.  

Somali society is traditionally patriarchal and organised around nomadic pastoral and sedentary agro-pastoral livelihoods, with strong Islamic influences originally from Sufism but recently, and increas-ingly, the Sunni faith.

The humanitarian situation in Puntland and Somaliland has become increasingly fragile following con-secutive failed or below normal rainy seasons. This has occasioned recurring and worsening drought conditions leading to massive crop failures, widespread shortages of water and pasture and reduced livelihood opportunities. Food access is rapidly diminishing, especially among poor households as sta-ple food prices continue to rise sharply and livestock prices decrease significantly. Moreover, conflict (over land and resources) and insecurity due to clan-based violence and fighting between government and non-state armed groups, continue to endanger the safety of people in need. Furthermore, the COVID 19 pandemic, locust crisis and flooding all continue to affect the lives of Somali people in many parts of the country.  

The impact of these multiple crises has led to a wave of displacement which presents a challenge, especially for women and girls. Women and girls who are internally displaced, migrants, poor rural pas-toralists, young, pregnant, from minority clans are severely impacted as are children, the elderly, peo-ple with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses. These crises exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, worsen the position of already marginalized and vulnerable groups, and deepen inequality.  

This gender analysis is done as part of the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) funded project to understand the compounded gendered impact of the multiple crises of drought, flooding, conflict, locusts and the COVID 19 pandemic on women, men, girls, and boys in the target communities. It seeks to inform Oxfam programming and advocacy broadly, and specifically in the emergency drought response in 8 villages in Sool and Sanaag in Somaliland and Nugaal and Barri regions in Puntland by identifying gendered needs, priorities, and practical recommendations.