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لترجمة المحتوى إلى اللغة العربية، استخدموا الرابط "اختر اللغة" في أعلى الصفحة.

 

During the ongoing global pandemic, existing exclusions and challenges to women’s participation in decision-making have been put under the microscope. 

Identifying women’s active roles in addressing the Covid-19 crisis and the lessons learnt from these experiences are key for paving the path to an inclusive and gender-aware recovery. Lessons learnt from successful post-conflict inclusive recovery may also provide keys to improving socio-economic responses and transitions out of the global economic crisis provoked by the pandemic. We are interested in where women’s leadership has made a difference and why and what lessons we can draw from post-conflict economic recovery to help ensure a more inclusive response. 

Please answer the following questions:

  1. What examples are there of local women’s groups participating directly in the response to Covid-19? What difference has that made? 
  2. Globally women make up more than 70% of health care workers; what has been done to support these critical workers? 
  3. What lessons can we take from how women’s participation in post conflict recovery has changed local economies to help formulate future economic responses? 
  4. What lessons can we take from local peace-building to help ensure an inclusive response to Covid 19?
  5. Could a global focus on the vulnerability of workers in the informal sector, especially women, help improve their situation? What decision-making processes might make a difference?
  6. How can technology help? What can be learnt from the use of e-payments to reach the most vulnerable? 
  7. Initial surveys suggest that women’s unpaid care burden has increased globally and across socio-economic divides under the response to the pandemic. Are there any good practices that demonstrate a more egalitarian response? 

Comments (133)

SparkBlue

Week 6 discussion room summary by Rachel Dore-Weeks (Head of UN Women Lebanon)

--

Thank you all for another interesting and inspiring week in this discussion group. We heard from colleagues of challenges and successes they have seen and lead, who are working in Niger, Armenia, Syria, the US, Lebanon, Sweden, Mauritius, China, Guinea-Bissa, India, Zambia and Jordan. In your writing you echoed sentiments many of the important threads and issues we have heard throughout the last 6 weeks, while raising new key issues around recovery.

ICT: the importance of using technology in new ways was also emphasized, and ideas shared on how to address the gender digital divide – a challenge that remains.

Participation and Communication: The discussion illustrated that Governments are working hard in many contexts to bring women’s voices into the national COVID response, but that this is not happening systematically enough. That the response will never reach women adequately unless women are engaged in high-level decision making on COVID response planning and roll out, and recovery planning, while also being engaged at the local level.

Participants reiterated the need of working with women rooted in local communities to transmit messaging on issues of COVID protection and response, given the trust and knowledge these women have, in order to increase the effectiveness of COVID response work. These women can also serve as communication loops – not only feeding information to communities, but also feeding their needs back to local and national level decision makers. Examples were given of local government officials and local NGO actors leading on this work – putting themselves at risk to better engage with their communities on the health crisis.

The Nexus and Building Back Better: We were reminded of the important link between crisis response and women, peace and security, and in the need for investing in women economically and politically. As countries across the Middle East are affected by rising insecurity, in part due to the socio-economic impact of COVID, peace and security work must be front loaded into response and recovery work. This connects well to points made in the first week about ensuring we do economic recovery ‘right’ for women – that too often micro finance and other such initiatives that are applied rapidly during and after crisis not only are not effective in their efforts to alleviate poverty, but can create cycles of debt that go on to deepen vulnerabilities in the longer term. We must keep calling forinvestment in the restructuring of economies to make them work better for social justice and for gender equality, so that long term women are more resilient to economic shocks.

Commenters noted the differential impact of COVID-19 across countries, with impact often determined by indicators such as the strength of national protection systems and democratic institutions. Commenters noted that countries with substantial investment in social protection, including universal health care and strong democratic institutions, fared better across the board – and the gendered impact of COVID was less pronounced in these countries. This links to the point made throughout the last 6 weeks on how we work now to restructure economies; the response should not only be handing out aid equally to men and women, but to redefining the shape of our societies post COVID, to address the challenges COVID exposed. This means that in our advocacy we must be calling for a scale up in investment in social protection and for universal health care; we must try and ensure that countries that implement austerity measures do so in ways where spending on health and education is not affected. UN Women in Lebanon recently issued a policy note that sets out what a post-COVID gender responsive recovery pathway could look like: https://arabstates.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2020/06/gender-responsive-recovery-in-lebanon. Following the lead of Hawaii (who issued a feminist COVID response plan), feminist tools and frameworks must be used to that these ideas and priorities are integrated into COVID recovery frameworks.

 

 

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Welcome to this online discussion. I work in UN Women's Peace and Security team and will be moderating this group during the first of six weeks. Last month, I helped organize a meeting of the Security Council's Informal Experts Group on Women, Peace and Security on this same topic, and we will make sure that the findings that emerge from this discussion reach Council members and other policymakers. I look forward to your comments and will summarize the main points raised at the end of this week. 

Ana Lukatela

Hello Pablo! Hello colleauges! What a great topic for discussion; so pleased to participate and cannot wait to read other contributions. I want to share an example of using technology for reaching vulnerable women with cash assistance during the crisis.

UN Women Jordan conducted a rapid survey of vulnerable Syrian refugee and Jordanian women on the impact of COVID-19 on health, economic security, gender based violence, education access, time use and other issues. The results are available in the link. https://jordan.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/rapid-assessment-of-the-impact-of-covid19-on-vulnerable-women-in-jordan  The findings demonstrate an important and concerning relationship between increased risks of gender based violence, food insecurity and economic pressures of the COVID-19 crisis. A priority for UN Women thus became cash assistance for vulnerable women.

UN Women runs four Oasis centres in Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps and eight Oasis centres in host communities run in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development. More information on Oasis centers and the services they provide are available on UN Women Jordan's website. UN Women provides daily cash for work opportunities to more than 400 Syrian refugee women each month in camps and 330 Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian women in host communities. The Oasis model combines income generation with GBV protection and prevention services and civic engagement training and opportunities. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis and with the full economic shutdown and movement restrictions imposed by the Government of Jordan UN Women quickly shifted its cash for work programming to direct cash assistance for vulnerable women, including female headed households, women survivors of GBV, women workers in the informal sector who had lost their income, and other categories of at-risk women.

Since June 2019 UN Women has partnered with WFP on a more efficient, secure and innovative cash disbursement method using blockchain technology. This approach allowed UN Women to be one of the few humanitarian actors in Jordan that was able to seamlessly and remotely ensure cash assistance continued to reach Syrian refugee women in the camps even during the COVID-19 crisis mandatory quarantine period when all beneficiary and UN staff movement was restricted. Through an iris-scanning system used in WFP-Supermarkets, which directly links to each woman’s account on UN Women’s blockchain node, Syrian refugees could continue receiving cash and purchasing food and essential supplies for their families safely. UN Women’s monitoring has demonstrated that the blockchain technology has allowed women increased control over their cash entitlement as the iris-scan identify verification ensures only the woman herself can withdraw the cash from the system, which ensures security and accountability for the account holder. To date more than 500 women have benefited from this new approach in the refugee camps and have been safely accessing their salaries and funds through the collaboration between UN Women Jordan and the WFP Building Blocks blockchain. More information also available here: https://jordan.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/april/feature-technology-to-assist-refugees-during-covid-19-lockdown Additionally, the use of WhatsApp groups supported by UN Women and with WHO and UNHCR verified data have proved very important in communicating risk of COVID-19 among vulnerable women who are responsible for the care of children and the elderly and ill in a pandemic situation, as well as supporting women to engage with the community and be recognized as leaders with access to important information in a time of crisis. We are planning further case studies on how remote communication methods used by women were a key part of the crisis response. 

Take care!

Aisling Swaine

Hi Pablo - thanks for moderating this, great topic for discussion.

 

hi Ana! Really great to hear all that UN Women have been doing in Jordan. It’s so impressive how you were able to rapidly do assessments and make adjustments to programming in response to the pandemic. I had read the assessment and great to see it here.
Also, experience from other previous outbreaks, such as recent outbreak of Ebola In the DRC have shown how women’s organizations have played a critical role in dissemination correct information to communities. Women’s organization adjust the focus of their work - so adaptable and flexible to new challenges. The wassap group idea really important here! 

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Ana, the example of quickly switching from cash-for-work to cash assistance to Syrian and Jordanian women in the refugee camps and in host communities in Jordan is excellent. It answers directly one of our  questions on the use of technology (in this case blockchain technology) and specifically e-payments to vulnerable populations. More broadly, I wonder if colleagues have other examples of how can technology help in times like these. So far, in women, peace and security circles, the overarching concern is that as decision-making and negotiations move online and onto digital platforms, women's exclusion will be even more pronounced (digital gap, burden of care, unequal access to information). In the Security Council, for example, we have already seen that women's participation from civil society from conflict-affected countries has plummeted in these first weeks of virtual meetings.  

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Aisling, the lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa are very relevant. I have also seen colleagues cite the lessons of the Zika outbreak in the Americas, and the impact of harmful social norms limiting women's sexual and reproductive autonomy. In the Ebola crisis, we have several assessments showing the impact of quarantines in women's economic activity and increased vulnerability to gender-based violence - both concerns that are very present at the moment. More strikingly, the assessments showed that men's economic activity quickly returned to pre-crisis levels once the measures subsided but women's did not. Similarly, we have assessments of the thousands of excess maternal deaths that happened because of decreased access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, another issue that should be in everyone's minds now, as diverting resources (e.g. midwives) in countries with high maternal mortality (e.g. South Sudan, Somalia) to fight COVID-19 could result in many more deaths from childbirth complications. But most importantly, we learned that women took a leading role in the response in West Africa - not just as frontline healthcare workers, but as trusted actors in the communication and dissemination of preventative messages and measures. And many of the countries hit by Ebola have been using similar protocols to respond to this pandemic. It was striking to me that in the first weeks, whenever I saw media articles that highlighted the role of women, it was often women activists we knew from peacebuilding circles - women's organizations that typically work on peace and security, but that immediately shifted to making and distributing masks and soap and communicating the right messages to prevent the spread. It reminded me of something your colleague Christine Bell says about the importance of trusted mid-level peacebuilders in situations like these: in conflict-affected countries, the delivery of healthcare is so fraught by the dynamics of the conflict itself -not least because of the destruction of healthcare facilities but because of the cruel politics of war- that the government may lack access or the trust of a target population, and meanwhile international humanitarians have limited access due to the restricted mobility imposed by the measures. Women's organizations, prominent among these local mid-level peacebuilders, become a lifeline. 

John Ede

Greetings to you all and thank you for having me here.

It is highly regrettable that key decisions are often made for women not by women especially is developing countries where women participation in public life is very low.

As is it mostly the case in Africa,  particularly in Nigeria, where majority of decisions decisions are made for women. Women and girls often start from the place of gross disadvantages, because of the long standing local traditions and cultural norms that puts women under the control of the man. Say for instance, women are not allowed into the presence of traditional rulers, religious houses often are demarcated to reduce interaction between men and women. The political leaders agreed to 35 percent appointment should go to the women, this is far from reality. 

In order to improve this situation, in our organization and our programs, we ensure that women are in the forefronts of planning, implementation and post evaluation. And lessons learnt, we see a marked improvement in the local response where women are able to access places that make counterparts have difficulties accessing, leading to greater reach. 

Wherever women lead local response, we have greater participation and increase in community participation.

Emergencies and crisis further puts women are risks and we work with women in the ground through their networks and groups for community participation.

The Covid-19 response has further exposed the need for local trainings and capacity building of women and girls at local levels to improve response. But it heightens their risks of we do not provide adequate protection system that protects them from been used as shields and slaves by armed groups or non-state actors.

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Thank you, John. We are seeing this inequality in decision-making in several conflict-affected countries. I think that in Libya, for example, the Prime Minister’s Supreme Committee does not include women, and all the crisis committees and groups that have been set up have very limited participation of women. Last I heard, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government-appointed committee to respond to the pandemic is composed of 12 members, and 10 of them are men. In Yemen, the emergency management committee set up in Aden consists of 7 members and only one of them is a woman. Sadly, we have similar examples (and worse!) in some of the developed countries too. Conversely, this morning we heard some positive news from Mali: the elections went ahead and women's representation in parliament is set to jump from under 10 percent to almost 30 percent, and the signatory parties to the agreement committed to adding a few more women to the bodies monitoring the implementation of the agreement. 

dr faiza

[~41140] 

 عدد من اللجان  الفرعية لمواجهة الجائحة بليبيا تضم في عضويتها نساء

منهم هناء العرفي 

 عضو لجنة المتابعة المشكلة من المجلس الأعلى للدولة 

اما اللجنة العليا فكما تفضلتي لم تضم نساء

رابط القرار 

https://lana-news.ly/images/src/166188.jpg

Sama Shrestha

Dear Pablo,

Greetings from Nepal!

The fifth GiHA Task Team meeting was held on May 11, focusing on the opportunities that the UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) can offer to address women’s leadership, sustaining peace and social cohesion. Vice Chair of the CEDAW Committee, Bandana Rana, stressed the need to adapt the National Action Plan Phase-II on WPS to accommodate the challenges of COVID-19 and for the Government to swiftly endorse the plan. The NAP is currently being reviewed by the Cabinet.

There is a continued need for psychosocial support to excluded and vulnerable groups to cope with the shocks related to loss of livelihood, food insecurity, increased violence and care burden. This also includes conflict victims, a group that was already facing severe stress before the pandemic broke out.  

Conflict victims’ highlighted the lack of access to health treatment, including psychosocial support services. Representatives also noted that support services have not been accessed due to fear of stigmatization i.e. being identified as a victim/survivor of conflict related sexual violence. The Conflict Victims Women National Network has established a relief fund to support members unable to access the relief provided by the government. Trauma amongst conflict victims could also be triggered due to the heavy presence and involvement of armed forced in the COVID-19 response.

The rise in hate speech is leading to an erosion of social ties and the collapse of connection and confidence between individuals and communities in Saptari and Sarlahi.

With the expected increase of domestic violence against women and girls during the lockdown, CSO representatives requested the government to review the Domestic Violence Act to ensure justice to victims/survivors of violence.

Several initiatives to showcase the experiences of women responding to COVID-19 have been initiated, such as Story Kitchen’s “Katha Corona” campaign on social media.

best
Sama on behalf of Nepal Country office

 

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Thank you for this update, Sama. It is a good sign that the national action plans on women, peace and security are being reviewed to see how they can be adjusted or applied to the current context. It would be interesting to see if this results in women being an active part in decision-making about the COVID-19 response at both national and local levels, and whether gender considerations are in any way reflected in the delivery of relief, including from the World Bank. I still remember all the conversations about gender issues in the wake of the response to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and how at some point there were only two women out of 95 members in the Central Reconstruction Advisory Council, even though women had been the most affected. I hope it is different this time!

Sheela

Greetings to the group from Sri Lanka..!

Thanks for initiating this dialogue which is very timely to secure the role of women in development.

COVID-19 has shown some positive signs in improving the decision-making opportunities for women.   Here in Sri Lanka, we see some women members in the task force in responding to the pandemic.  Also, in hospitals, women play a leading role as nurses and care workers.  Though one can argue this is the traditional caring role of women, if we engage with them, hopefully, we can take this to the next level of influencing the decision-making process.   

Women's involvement in the dialogue in economic development is hard to be seen though they are a larger section of the society that has been affected by the pandemic.  The work from home policy practicing around the world has put greater pressure on female employees.  When at home, they are expected to carry out the household chores – now has become double due to all family members at home (children/husband) - plus the demands of the employment.  For example, a friend of mine who is a teacher now has to attend to her husband and children who are at home on a daily basis while attending to her online lessons for her students.   This responsibility doubles-up when handling technology that is totally new to her.   At the same time, there is a big percentage of self-employed females who have lost their income due to the new situation, e.g. – beauty salons, small scale traders who sell cooked eatables as a livelihood.  What is the place women get in the government COVID – 19 economic relief packages is not known.  In some countries, women’s legal status prevents them from receiving these benefits. When bigger plans get the priority, these small business holders might not receive due attention.   Therefore, international organizations working on policy formulation and implementation should insist on countries to include a percentage of women in their task force/committees on economic planning. 

Another area of concern for women’s wellbeing is the psychosocial support getting from society.  Our organization just started a psychosocial support program for people disturbed due to the challenges of COVID-19.  According to the calls received so far more than 60% of responders were females.  That shows the amount of pressure women have to endure due new situation.  Government policies should address these issues in all their planning processes.      

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Thank you for this very informative update from Sri Lanka, Sheela, and for the good work that your organization is doing. I just wanted to reiterate one of the recommendations that you explain here: that international organizations (e.g. the World Bank and others) should insist on countries to include a percentage of women in their task force/committees on economic planning. The consequences of not doing so - as you well note - are very serious for women and girls and everyone's hope for recovery. Finally, one of our questions was whether we have any good practice in a more egalitarian distribution of the burden of care. You provide many examples that are illustrative of the dominant trend: that women's unpaid care burden, already one of the chief obstacles to equality, is increasing dramatically. Recently I heard Nahla Valji, gender advisor of the UN Secretary-General, discuss this in relation to the current pandemic. We already say that women do three times more work in the home than men as a global average, but in countries this is more like six or seven times more. Borrowing from her words, we already know that this is at the heart of the motherhood penalty, wage inequality, structural biases in recruitment and promotion of women and jobs, and women's participation in public life, to name a few, and the pandemic is only making it worse. I'm hoping we find ways or examples of how to flip this: that the pandemic somehow makes this burden more obvious and less invisible and help promote policies that help share this burden more fairly and value it economically more fairly as well. I know that there are some good campaigns out there, such as Lebanon's "Together and Equal" that are very timely now. 

Rehab Al-Sanabani

Greetings from Yemen!

Thank you for discussing this critical aspect which is crucial to the success of all COVID-19 response interventions.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, WHO’s rapid response and surveillance team, UNDP Yemen is developing protocols and conflict and gender sensitive messages to be included in ongoing public information campaign. Some of the radio messages used in the campaign indicate the importance of the participation of women in the decision making and its importance to define and address gender issues during the COVID-19 such as the continuity of the family planning and the reproductive health services. 

Moreover, Yemen CO will provide knowledge and skills to governmental officials to develop gender action plans for national health crisis response to COVID-19 and address the gender impact of disease outbreak considering how to address structural inequalities. This will ensure that Public health sector will integrate gender issues while planning, implementing and evaluation its response to COVID-19 and that women will be consulted and engaged in the planning, response and recovery phase.

Yemen CO is training and providing third party service providers, local youth and women’s organisations and targeted communities with awareness raising and basic preventive materials and emergency kits, including personal protection equipment. This will empower and enable male/female youth and women's organizations to play greater role in the response to COVID-19 and to present their views from the local context.

Other activities are being developed to empower women and enable them to play greater role in decision-making to ensure their issues have been integrated well in the response to COVID-19. 

 

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Thank you for this update from Yemen, Rehab. It would be positive to see if the public information campaigns, the protocols, and the gender action plans actually result in the public health sector actually integrating gender considerations and women's participation in the planning and implementation of the response to COVID-19. In a country with the recent experience of epidemics like cholera, which have affected women disproportionately, where three-quarters of the population already need humanitarian health assistance and many of the health facilities have closed or been destroyed by the conflict, this work could not be more important. 

swedi bilombele
Adapting to climate change means reducing vulnerability to current and future climate risks. This vulnerability is essentially determined by the adaptive capacity of individuals. A specific climatic phenomenon, the pandemic, does not affect all members of the same community or even the same family in the same way, because some people have a greater capacity to manage a crisis than others. The inequitable distribution of rights, resources and power - as well as repressive cultural norms and rules - limits the ability of many to act on covid-19. This is especially true for women. This is why gender is a key factor in understanding vulnerability to climate change. With the confinement which is said to covid-19 the standards of the measures are taken by women to do so respects the strict distancing measures. As a result, women are often at greater risk from these phenomena. They have less power over the family budget and other goods due to not being able to control family resources and finances, have a legitimate right to go to the fields in search of wood fuel for cooking food is often limited for a peasant woman. Women's ability to manage risks, for example by diversifying crops, storing food or seeds, or saving, is limited. Faced with numerous restrictions / bans on mobility caused by confinement on the pandemic crisis of covid-19, women are forced to stay at home to take care of children, the sick or the elderly, and have negative impact on lower incomes and are more likely to be financially dependent socially, also there is a drop in the consumption of fossil fuels on climate change in the sense that many women in the cities do not drive their vehicles in condition confined to their homes. There is a decrease in vehicle traffic and fuel production and in consumption. Women participate in the adaptations by respecting the pandemic guidelines for covid-19 by applying the measures taken in the communities. Mobility is a key factor in accessing information and services. It is also essential to escape the dangers caused by COVID-19. Experience has shown that women are at the center of durable solutions to reduce poverty. When women are unable to obtain income in a confined state, their families do not benefit. Studies show that income is more easily spent on human development when women fail to control the finances. Thus, at RD. Congo more than 85% of women living in informal sectors, to contribute to the household income, are fed (in terms of calories and protein). Vulnerability studies, carried out in a participatory manner, revealed a particular exposure of women, in part due to pandemic norms to covid-19 which limit their mobility and their decision-making power. In addition to improving the resources of women through income-generating activities resilient to climate change to the structural constraints that weigh on the role of women in covid-19. To allow the woman to speak in public; to negotiate important family decisions with their husbands, the children on the consequences on confinement measures and on the covid-19 pandemic.
Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

The connection to the climate crisis is an important one, and both global health risks and climate change are bringing back references to the human security paradigm, which has so many points in common with the women, peace and security agenda. 

Dishani

The issue of climate change is likely to be jettisoned in times of crisis. Thank you so much for your detailed analysis, Swedi.

Betty Barkha

Climate change has always been a threat multiplier and this pandemic only amplified that. In the Pacific, even though some nations remain COVID-free, they were not free from the devastating impacts its had due to preventative measures such as the lock down and border closures. For small islands states in the Pacific, this continues to be part of larger conversations around climate justice, commitment to action and international cooperation. You can read about the impacts of cyclone Harold on women, peace and security via: https://www.refugeesinternational.org/reports/2020/6/1/a-new-vulnerability-covid-19-and-tropical-cyclone-harold-create-the-perfect-storm-in-the-pacifichttps://devpolicy.org/tongas-double-whammy-covid-19-and-tropical-cyclones-20200422/ and https://reliefweb.int/report/vanuatu/tropical-cyclone-harold-rapid-gender-analysis-14-april-2020-version-1

swedi bilombele
Women participate in decision-making in response to COVID-19 in several ways On a comprehensive, participatory and attentive analysis of covid-19 vulnerability (including the social, economic and political components of vulnerability to covid-19); Recognizes differences in vulnerability within countries, communities and households, and targets adaptation strategies accordingly from COVID-19; Builds on the existing knowledge and capacities of men, women, boys and girls to increase public awareness of the pandemic, by integrating the most vulnerable groups linked to containment measures; by supporting them to guarantee their daily survival in actions to empower vulnerable women and girls to build their adaptive capacity; promoting local, national and international adaptation policies and programs that meet the specific needs of the poorest women and men. These observations suggest below that strengthening the role of women in family and community affairs should lead to decisions that improve the ability to adapt to the impacts of COVID-19. This largely explains why activities aimed at advancing gender inequalities favorably, including efforts to empower women, are an essential component of the adaptation approach to decision-making. decision. By interacting with local populations, helped to design a simple technique; to hide, to adapt to these changes, to promote the conservation of food so that surpluses are properly stored, ensure leadership roles in the community and in local institutions by providing training and supervision as well as strengthening the capacity of women's organizations to advocate for women's rights. Combined with action at the district level to reduce vulnerability, these efforts have reduced systemic inequalities that prevent women from fully contributing to the resilience of their homes, communities and society.
Seniha Ayse Orellana

Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts. It is a privilege to participate in this group to learn from you all. Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security (GIWPS), where I am currently affiliated with, investigated more systematically the relationship between its WPS index, produced by GIWPS in partnership with PRIO – which measures the comprehensive wellbeing of women

And Inform Global Risk Index in order to determine whether there is a relationship between a country’s predisposition to risk and the wellbeing of its female population. Findings showed that, the correlation is striking; the countries in the world at highest risk for COVID-19 catastrophe are also those where the status and wellbeing of women is worst (https://giwps.georgetown.edu/what-can-the-wps-index-tell-us-about-global-risks-like-covid-19/). These findings of GIWPS research show that countries that exclude women from economic, social and political life, where women are subjected to injustice and insecurity, are also are in high risk of facing extreme challenges during humanitarian disasters and pandemics such as we are experiencing now and least prepared to deal with them. Also by excluding women in key decisions on these issues they are also losing many opportunities in developing effective responses.

Women also face unique risks during these times, as majority of care-takers tend to be women and girls. Extra burden placed on women and girls impact their ability to continue their professional work or education.  Women and girls, in marginalized communities and with disabilities are particularly Affected from these. Also, women and girls are under heightened risks of violence as incidents of domestic violence soar under the pandemic measures. Their liberties and ability to move is more restricted, their access to protection services and social networks are cut off and access to justice is further undermined.

GIWPS has also been reaching out to women peacebuilders to learn from them how they are responding to the Pandemic and how we can support each other. It is so inspiring to see how they are responding to the crisis. Some, like the women in Liberia, have taken the lead in producing low-cost, locally made chloride soaps and face masks, others are raising funds, fighting misinformation and providing sanitary kits. Others are working to provide psycho-social support. Technology, such as cell-phones, whether using WhatsApp or other tools, have been really important during this time to help support each other, organize, network and brainstorm. But not everyone has access to digital technology. Especially the most vulnerable groups may not have the most needed tools. Therefore, bridging the technology divide, supporting the efforts on the ground by local community leaders is very important.

It also absolutely critical to continue to work with governments, international organizations and civil society to further gender equality and women’s access to justice especial at the policy level. Inclusion of diverse voices of women in the policy making, implementation and evaluation of programs in areas such as health, economic recovery, budgeting, among others, is not only important for better and more effective and efficient response to the pandemic but is also central to addressing the particular needs of women and girls and more effective recovery after the crisis.

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Thank you for sharing some of the findings of the WPS Index and your surveys and outreach to women peacebuilders. It is eye-opening that the correlation between the global risk index and the WPS index is much stronger than with income per-capita, for example. And the point about the digital divide is crucial. Beyond the long-term work of bridging this gap, I wonder if there are more examples of how the UN or others are facilitating access to digital platforms in the short term. 

Ms. Anne Marie Goetz

The scenario regarding women’s engagement in the management and recovery of the pandemic, particularly in fragile states, is on the whole grim – we see an exacerbation of the gendered inequalities generated by structural exclusion from decision-making at all levels, compounded by women’s lack of time and resources caused by their secondary labor market position and inflated unpaid care burden. On top of this the explosion of domestic violence represents an obvious and crushing constraint.

 

But it is worth considering whether there may be room for expansion of women’s leadership and opportunities for their employment in view of their existing firm presence in at least two of the key sectors involved in crisis response.  One is health, where even though women represent just 28% of health ministers globally, they are the backbone of the workforce in health services. 

 

The other, and there has been relatively little discussion of this, is social protection services.  Around the world women are 58% of social affairs ministers.  A great portion of immediate pandemic response operations call for emergency extension of social security payments, of unemployment benefits, and emergency cash payments to poor households to ensure food security.  In a number of developing countries, it is the existing networks of cash transfer schemers of one form or another that have been pumped with additional funds in order to deliver resources to the poorest households.  In many polices, these social welfare safety net systems have women leaders, women represent a significant portion of field-level staff, and the majority of direct beneficiaries are women. 

 

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, for instance, a governance system that was born from peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation front, the Minister of Social Services and Development is a woman lawyer who had been a key figure in the peace negotiations, Raissa Jajuri.  Her ministry manages the distribution of a poverty-reduction resource, the ‘Programang Pantawid Pampamilya at Pangkabuhayan’, known as the ‘4Ps’ program, which delivers cash to mothers whose children are expected to meet educational and nutritional benchmarks in exchange.  This program is a key mechanism for delivering resources to an expanded number of poor households under the nation-wide Special Amelioration Program that supports cash for the poor under the Enforced Community Quarantine response to the pandemic.   Minister Jajuri is facing challenges in rapidly expanding disbursements (which are effected via bank ATM cards) in the context of uneven government capacity and reach as well as instances of corruption in which the funds are diverted to undeserving beneficiaries.  These problems are not unique to this conflict-affected part of the Philippines.

 

The point is that there may be quite a few examples of social welfare systems being expanded rapidly to provide relief to those unable to work under quarantine situations, and that there may be other cases of women leaders seeing elevated responsibilities for this expansion – perhaps especially in fragile state contests.  This could contribute to heightening the visibility of these leaders as well as the importance of social reproduction as a key component of peacebuilding.

Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

Thank you for the example from Mindanao and the larger point about ministers of social affairs, their role in the extension of social welfare benefits, and the possibility that the greater need for these schemes could elevate these ministers' profiles and visibility. I had not read this point elsewhere and it strikes me as something that would merit a longer article and greater visibility. And it made me think that while there has been an impressive number of articles lauding the performance thus far by several women leaders, we read a lot less about key ministers. Here's one interesting exception to the under-representation of women in power: in Ethiopia, which has so far only reported 5 deaths in a country of 112 million people, the government's COVID-19 task team has been led by four women ministers (Health, Transport, Peace, and Science and Higher Education) alongside the female Attorney General, all under the leadership of the first woman president of Ethiopia, Sahle Work-Zewde. 

swedi bilombele
Dear Pablo Castillo Diaz Greetings, I hope you are holding all well during this difficult time covid-19. Please, I would like to thank you firstly in welcoming us to this online discussion with regard to the work of UN Women's Peace and Security team in moderating ours group during the first of six weeks. I think well in answer to your question the nature of woman rests on her physical, moral and intellectual capacity, for the decision-making, it would be possible that the woman leaders is involved in the decision-making bodies in society to arrive to ensure its place that suit it in response to the actions of covid-19. Women’s right to health comprises an array of interrelated rights. The nature and scope of state obligations concerning those rights have important consequences for determining remedies for violations. This study identifies component of women’s rights. The precise character of violations regarding women’s rights to health has been elaborated examining specific factual circumstances in an armed conflict environment. The study also illustrates how underlying social conditions compromise women’s health, gender –based vulnerability and the constraints these impose on equality and liberties, and the many factors beyond clinical health services that contribute to neglect of women’s health. Further , it aims to create an awareness of the applicability of international human rights law, requiring states to remove those influences that negatively affect women status and health. It strives to justify initiatives to assist states in conforming to the law and to hold them accountable for their failure. It concludes by exploring how principal’s human rights law can inspire individual and collective initiatives to remove barriers to the achievement of optimal health status of women’s under the circumstances of displacement in armed conflicts situations. Warmly
Pablo Castillo Diaz Moderator

It has been only four days in this six-week online discussion and we have already had examples from the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the DRC, Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, and the refugee camps in Jordan. Colleagues have published resources, like this survey from UN Women Jordan (https://jordan.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/rapid-assessment-of-the-impact-of-covid19-on-vulnerable-women-in-jordan) or this study from Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (https://giwps.georgetown.edu/what-can-the-wps-index-tell-us-about-global-risks-like-covid-19/). I will add another one, a rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on WPS practitioners in the Indo-Pacific region, conducted by Monash University: https://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/2209496/COVID19-and-WPS-Research-Brief_FINAL.pdf. We have heard examples of good practice in using technology, from Whatsapp groups and social media campaigns (like Together and Equal in Lebanon or Story Kitchen's Katha Corona in Nepal) to Blockchain technology for direct cash assistance to female headed households, survivors of gender-based violence, women workers in the informal sector who have lost their income, and other categories of at-risk women in the refugee camps and host communities in Jordan. And we have of course heard many more examples of how this crisis is severely impacting women negatively, from loss of employment, schooling, or access to a range of services, including reproductive healthcare, to increased burden of care, food insecurity, and vulnerability to GBV, as well as some data on their exclusion from decision-making committees and task forces dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. On top of all this, colleagues have also shared interesting policy recommendations: paying attention to the role of social affairs ministers (58 percent of which are women), responsible for social welfare schemes that have elevated importance at this time; adjusting National Action Plans on 1325 to the current crisis; redoubling efforts to mainstream gender into the public health sector; relying on women's organizations working on peacebuilding as key actors in the delivery of health assistance and prevention awareness; and finally insisting that international organizations (e.g. the World Bank and others) demand that a percentage of women be included in countries' task force/committees on economic planning if they are asking for assistance. Keep the examples and ideas coming!

 

Olena Ursu

Dear colleagues, thank you for an opportunity to join this discussion. Me and my colleagues Mykola Yabchenko and Tetiana Grytsenko from UNDP Ukraine would like to share with you some information about the situation here in the context of women vs COVID-19.

  • Women and men have different exposure to COVID-19. Women are more likely to be exposed to the virus with higher workplace health and safety risks and dealing with enormous stress balancing paid and unpaid work roles. In Ukraine, women make more than 80% of the health and social sectors (82% women health care workers, 81% women educators, 99% women primary teachers), playing a disproportionate role in responding to COVID-19. An overrepresentation of women in the healthcare sector, especially as nurses, care givers, cleaners, increases their risk of exposure to the virus from potentially infected patients and risk of stigmatization due to caring for them.
  • COVID-19 shows greater direct risks for people over 60, as well as those with underlying medical conditions. However, the impact is different in elder women and men. Women live longer than men – on average by 10 years in Ukraine. Due to the gender gaps in life expectancy, wages, and digital skills, elderly women, who comprise the majority of the elderly, have lower pensions than men and less possibility to buy care or other services. Low internet access in vulnerable urban and rural households, as well as low digital skills, especially for elderly women, put them at risk. 
  • Exponential increase in unpaid care work (because of school and social services closures, care for children/elderly/sick, domestic work). Women do more than two times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men. Due to the existing structures of the workforce (including gender pay gap) and social norms, women are more likely to experience a significant increase of unpaid work and care burdens with the outbreak of COVID-19. This does not only imply increased time poverty, but also can have an impact on their livelihoods and upward job mobility. In certain cases, this may lead to women having to quit or lose their jobs. Given the existing inequalities in gender distribution of care work, this has pressing implications for women’s health and economic wellbeing, both in short and long term.
  • Social norms may exclude women from decision-making roles, as well as from information channels. Women have less access to internet and new technologies: 57% of women are Internet users; 67% of rural women do not have access to internet at home. This has a direct impact on women´s ability to get informed and adapt to the COVID-19 crisis, as ICTs are proving to be critical during the outbreak. The lack of women´s participation in decision making and in communication channels limits the reach and impact of recovery efforts and the possibilities to revitalize economies.
  • Gender-based violence is a global health problem of epidemic proportions. During the COVID-19 outbreak, there is an increasing evidence to show that movement restrictions, the closure of most businesses, combined with physical distancing, fear and stress, place women and girls at heightened risk of GBV. 2 in 3 women experience psychological, physical, or sexual violence; women comprise 81% of domestic violence survivors and 81% or rape survivors. During the coronavirus outbreak, these numbers increase, when women are confined at home with their abusers due to quarantine measures. The pressure to respond to COVID-19 cases disrupts social, health, and juridical support for GBV survivors. According to the data for GBV survivors, the number of calls during the quarantine increased by 30% as compared to the same period last year. 

UN Women conducted a rapid gender assessment of the situation and needs of women in the context of COVID-19 in Ukraine, which revealed many more findings.

UNDP tries to ensure gender-sensitive response to the COVID-19 outbreak. To name just a few initiatives:

  • We prepared a comprehensive analysis of gender inequalities caused by COVID-19 outbreak and offered our Programme to integrate its findings, conclusions and recommendations on strengthening gender-equitable approaches in crisis preparedness, response, and recovery in Ukraine.
  • At the same time, there is a lack of specific data on how the crisis affected Ukrainians. To determine the exact social and economic consequences of the crisis, UNDP, in partnership with FAO and the UN Women, is conducting an extensive survey of households and small and medium enterprises in all 24 regions with a special attention to the effects on women and men. 
  • Findings of the survey together with the recommendations for gender-equitable response and recovery will become the reference books for two Crisis Management Units which UNDP is now setting up for the Government of Ukraine in order to ensure that the crisis management structure can provide a coordinated, efficient and inclusive response to the COVID-19 national crisis leaving no one behind. 
  • We have supported the Secretariat of Ukraine's parliament to introduce the gender assessment as the regular quality management practice, and used this opportunity to promote awareness on gender equality among the Members of Parliament, 80% of whom are new to politics in this Parliament's convocation. We hope this will help the parliamentarians to make further gender-sensitive decisions. ]
  • Immediately after the outbreak, UNDP launched a competition “Civil society response to the needs of vulnerable populations during COVID-19 outbreak in Ukraine” and ten projects of local CSOs were awarded. The projects supplement our support to the Government, and are now being implemented focusing on monitoring and protecting the human rights of vulnerable groups of women, victims of domestic violence, people with disabilities, prisoners and children; coordinating volunteer activities at the subnational level; assisting the local media to function effectively, and providing legal support to those most in need.

We also have examples of local women’s groups participating directly in the response.

  • UNDP-supported Lviv civil society hub, Women’s Perspectives, has been providing care for the survivors of domestic violence for more than 15 years, including providing psychosocial and legal counselling, shelter, and SME development for women entrepreneurs. From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak UNDP has been supporting the communication campaign for the CSO hubs network in 15 regions of Ukraine, helping those most in need to find the existing support and lifesaving services.
  • We also support ‘JurFem’, the Ukrainian Women Lawyers’ Association, to assess the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, focusing on labour and family rights and gender-based violence. In addition, we launched an online campaign on tackling human rights violations during lockdown, and are supporting a CSO initiative to help women and girls in rural and remote areas of six regions access information.

Thank you for sharing your experiences – these are all very useful and inspiring.

swedi bilombele
and you too. regards M. Crispin
Cecilia Pellosniemi Moderator

Dear colleagues,

My apologies for the radio silence. I am moderating the discussions this week and look forward to hearing from you on your perspectives regarding this topic. I am particularly interested in local women's initiatives and the intersection between the responses to COVID-19 and peace and security, including ceasefires and peace negotiations.

As I work on Syria, I have noticed that women peacebuilders have taken up multiple roles in addition to their existing work and have been essential actors in community-level responses. It is extremely important that women-led organizations still have sufficient resources to continue peace work and that their resources are not diverted. COVID-19 should not become an excuse not to advance inclusive political processes.

I look forward to hearing your perspectives and please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best,

Cecilia

Victor Okechukwu Chimezie

Hello Cecilia! Hello colleagues!

This is a great and timely conversation and I must say kudos to UNDP, the partners and all the organizers for putting this up

In Nigeria, Peacebuilders are doing a lot to contribute to a safer and united Society.

Mind Reformers Network which I work with carries out sensitisation on the most used and proliferated social media platforms which is the WhatsApp and our main aim of doing this is to fight infodemic ( fake news that can cause community and health crisis) we also talk on positives so persons can know that we can overcome this to support the psychological well being of the people, we are also organizing a weekly Peacebuilding lecture to equip passionate young Nigerians on how to keep the society safe and help manage conflict that might arise in this pandemic era and this class is made up of 53% females and 47% males

Building Blocks for Peace and some other Peacebuilding organisations also distributed food materials to underprivileged Nigerians to ensure hunger doesn't lead to conflicts that will disrupt the peace of the Society

 

However, there is need for more policies to enforce increased representation of women in governance and decision making as even though in Nigeria females make up anoua 47-49% of the total Nigerian population, they make up barely 7% of those in governance. This is bad and needs to be corrected

Dishani

I totally agree that women should be represented in governance and decision-making. Yet, having a quota alone cannot promote gender equality. We have to go further and ensure that women who work at grass root level and who don't come from political families have a pathway to enter the political arena.

Victor Okechukwu Chimezie

[~93053] yes you're right

Melissa Johnston

1. What examples are there of local women’s groups participating directly in the response to Covid-19? What difference has that made? 

  • Governments and international aid agencies need to recognize the work that WPS organizations are taking on to support COVID-19 response (i.e. health promotion and risk communication) work.
  • In Indonesia (as in other countries), individuals, particularly women, are organizing at the local level to provide their communities with goods such as face masks, hand sanitizer, delivering food among other things. This is often voluntary work which receives little to no formal support
  • In Sri Lanka, several women’s groups have mobilized to provide stranded workers and daily wage earners with food and other provisions.
  • In Afghanistan, a women’s association is to raising funds to employ pandemic-impacted women to sew face masks at home to contribute to the local economy and prevent gender-based violence.

3. What lessons can we take from how women’s participation in post conflict recovery has changed local economies to help formulate future economic responses? 

  • Leveraging international support and transnational feminism has been key to getting resources to women in post conflict rebuilding.
  • Donors and governments need to consider the income and financial expenses of WPS organizations during COVID-19. Supporting them will enable  equitable access to services. This requires funding security (not project-to-project support), additional project funding and infrastructure for remote working.
  • Knowledge of conflict means we can forecast those populations most likely to experience the greatest post-pandemic poverty. Funds could be targeted to ensure, for example, re-entry to schools for girls (through fee reductions, monetary support, monitoring and messaging); finance packages and employment support programmes for female headed households, and multi-year funding commitments for intimate and family violence support groups. Existing research shows that without such support we can expect an escalation in forms of gender-based violence such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, sex trafficking as well as severe domestic violence (UNFPA 2020; Peterman et al 2020)

4. What lessons can we take from local peace-building to help ensure an inclusive response to Covid 19?

  • Economies, grievances, and women’s empowerment are connected.
  • Re-building economies based solely on market priorities will sideline women due to the gender inequalities inhering in labour markets and the gender division of labour
  •  
  • 5. Could a global focus on the vulnerability of workers in the informal sector, especially women, help improve their situation? What decision-making processes might make a difference?
  • A global focus on the vulnerability of workers in the informal sector would improve their situation and reduce negative outcomes from Covid 19. Drawing on extant collective organisations and unions such as Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.
  • For example, domestic workers are frontline workers in this pandemic and at high risk of contracting the virus. Most domestic workers cannot stop working without losing essential income they and their families need to survive.
  • Home based workers have lost vast amounts of income in the Covid crisis as export markets dried up. Some have responded by organizing and pivoting. In Uruguay, a home based workers union, El Sindicato Unico de la Aguja (SUA), women labour organizers helped workers to Women's start sewing reusable masks, then bought by the government.

https://www.wiego.org/blog

7. Initial surveys suggest that women’s unpaid care burden has increased globally and across socio-economic divides under the response to the pandemic. Are there any good practices that demonstrate a more egalitarian response? 

  • Childcare in Australia during Covid-19 became free as a way to rescue the mostly privatised sector and support parents trying to work fulltime at home during the crisis. Australia thus went from one of the most expensive places in the world to obtain childcare, to a free system. Economists have since made the case that investing more in child care would help rebuild the economy after the health crisis is over. Making childcare a public good results in better education outcomes, reduces economic costs to the poorest families, and allows women to participate more in the workforce, increasing GDP.

https://theconversation.com/permanently-raising-the-child-care-subsidy-is-an-economic-opportunity-too-good-to-miss-136856

Michelle

Hi Melissa, you raise very valid questions. In South Africa at grassroots level we have seen the women who were already leading the discourse around Gender Based Violence (which is a serious problem in South Africa and was further compounded by the lockdown. In 1 week we had over 87k cases reported.)  The women leading the fight against GBV made it their mission to assist by setting up a team to help people with solutions through the lockdown of either leaving or finding shelter elsewhere considering the restrictions of the lock down without their concerted effort and amplified voice I worry that things would have been worse off for women who find themselves in danger of their partner.

Further to this with the government being unable to provide food packs to all the people who have been without food we have seen businesswoman and Foundations reach out to their networks to ask for donations in order to meet the demand. This included a wing of women who do drives for sex workers in gauteng. They provide them with food,toiletries sanitary towels and food. 

Without women on the ground I believe that we would have been worse off during this period. 

Bridget Osakwe

UNSC resolution 1325 is first and foremost about peace and security but rooted on the premise that women’s inclusion in the peace process, their perspectives or their contribution to peace talks will improve the chances of attaining viable and sustainable peace.

Women and girls are best positioned to predict signs of conflicts and radicalization of other family members. Unfortunately, they are unable to frame and report such signs and sometimes when they report, such information are waved away as “gossip”; this is often missed opportunities for early responses. Hence, women and girls in conflict settings should be trained on “counter-radicalization” narratives to be able to suppress extremism once it emerges in their families and communities.

A good example is the WANEP early warning system and the balanced participation of women in peacebuilding is strategic to WANEP’s overall vision of preventive peacebuilding and sustainable development within the country and the sub region at large as a result of the recognized critical role women play in peace and human security. The recognition of this strength and commitment to expand their inherent opportunity has motivated WANEP towards a gendered peacebuilding work through the creation of a ‘space’ for women through the Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) to effectively participate in conflict transformation and development within communities. Thus, WANEP stresses gender equity and balance in its intervention strategies and program implementation. The mainstreaming of gender has ensured the empowerment of critical mass of women and women organisations that participate in decision making processes both at the grassroots and policy making level.

WIPNET believes that incorporating gender sensitivity into the collection and analysis process of early warning makes existing models more comprehensive and allows for “ early’’ early warning by anticipating macro-level changes helps in the formulation of responses at a political and humanitarian level in order to address the vulnerabilities of men and women and assure that certain discriminatory policies  are not perpetuated in post-conflict situations. 

I think that early warning and preventive activities can be made more affective by utilising the untapped potentials of woman leaders, women’s organisations and women networks as peacebuilders.  Engendering early warning is based on the three basic hypotheses:

  1. Incorporating gender-sensitive indicators into the collection and analyses

          Processes.    

  1. Fine-tuning responses to address the specific vulnerability of men and women

          and ensure non-discrimination.

  1. Utilising the potentials of men and women organisations as actors for peace.

The rationale for engendering EW rests upon the argument that use of a gender lens enriches early warning analysis and allows for more appropriate response options.

They worked because WIPNET provides a credible platform for women to address social injustices as well as play critical roles in the balanced inclusion of women in policy changes at all levels of the society.  She also equips women with skill to monitor and report signs of radicalization amongst youths and provide women with the tools for critical debate as well as dialogue to challenge extremist beliefs.  She focuses on ending the exclusion of women from peacebuilding structures by building a critical mass of women who will work alongside men in promoting peace and security.

Coordinating the platform of diverse, women, interest, thematic concerns, religion and other divisive issues have hindered the platform to transform into a feminist movement for peace.

Crystal Washington

This is a fabulous discussion. I've never thought of #6 as it pertains to empowering women in decision-making.

Vincent Chambati

Hi All,

From a South African and Zimbabwean perspective, women have a constitutional right to 50% representation in parliament. Numerically this has been met but it has not translated into policies that are favourable towards everyday women who are not part of the political class. The constitutional right almost seems like window dressing. Women still remain the most vulnerable class of citizen and have been affected the most under COVID-19 restrictions in South Africa. A large number of informal traders are women and this stream of income had been cut off for 2 months during the strict lock-down regulations instituted by the government. The national disaster act incidentally places the Minister of Cooperative Governance in charge during a declared state of emergency, in the current cabinet this is Minister Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma. Thus it cannot be said that women were not included in the decision making processes. The National Command Council (the decision making body during this crisis) is also gender balanced from a numerical stand point. What is always unclear is what voice the women have once they are in those seats. 

Economically the government of South Africa has increased social grant money during this crisis. The majority of child grant beneficiaries (96%) are women, and a study by the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg shows that the grant has had an impact on women’s empowerment in very poor communities: “The [child support grant] enhances women’s power and control over household decision-making in financial matters, general household spending and in relation to child well-being.” The issue however is the dissemination of these grants is still through shop tills and thus these women have been putting themselves at risk queuing up to receive these grants. This is were technology and banking policy change could have assisted. A more efficient payment method must be developed to disseminate social grants. The queues have also been a breeding ground for loan sharks who pray on the most vulnerable and charge exorbitant interest. The last attempt to overhaul the system was fraught with corruption (see VBS Bank scandal). 

What is evident in the South African case is that despite there being policies in place that are geared to the empowerment of women this has only managed to impact a few within the political elite. Economically there are opportunities for women but cultural patriarchal hurdles still prevent the majority of women from accessing them. The greatest impediment is how women do not feel safe within South African society. Rape statistics are astronomically high. A woman cannot endeavour to empower herself within a community where she is in constant fear of her life. This is the one aspect of the intense lock-down that may have actually helped women. The reported cases of gender based violence fell by almost 60% over the March - May period compared to the same period last year. The changes required here cannot be fixed by policy changes as this needs a generational mind shift within men. More focus is needed on addressing men's views on women and changing their attitudes. Too often the responses have centered around how women can keep themselves safe, the shift needs to happen on how men stop being perpetrators. 

Zimbabwe's situation is a despotic mess. Economically women are increasingly more vulnerable and the government is too inept to help. Aid bodies have tried to focus on womens initiatives but are increasingly faced with bureaucracy that undermines their efforts. There have been recent abductions of 2 MDC women by suspected state actors which has gone unaddressed. There have been numerous cases such as this and we are only lucky to hear about this one given the high profile nature of the women abducted. Women's groups have had very little decision making power within Zimbabwean politics. The power structures within society are still male dominated. Women who have challenged these power structures have been met with threats and at times have lost their lives, thus it is difficult to envision a future where this changes.

Melissa van der Ross

In South Africa, where I am from, many women’s groups have been concerned with the effects of Covid-19. More so on its micro than macro effects. Many people are left without a livelihood which means many are going to bed hungry. These groups have been working tirelessly by distributing food parcels to the needy and by providing cooked meals to children in need. Several women’s organizations who were focused on other sectors have now adapted the work their organizations are doing to focus on producing face masks and hand sanitizers. Many individuals and corporates, including government, have stepped forward to assist these women’s groups, but more needs to be done. Most importantly, there needs to be more focus on the work of these women are doing and further support needs to be given to them in the form of financial and infrastructural aid. The world should be paying more attention to these efforts and working on supporting these movements and bringing their work to light.

Dishani

Greetings to you all from Sri Lanka!

I’m Dishani Senaratne from Sri Lanka. I’m the Project Director of Writing Doves - a non-profit initiative that seeks to enhance intercultural understanding among young learners in Sri Lanka through trilingual narratives. I’m also an independent researcher and a published poet.

  1. When nationwide curfew was imposed in early-March, several grassroots women’s groups immediately responded by distributing dry rations to needy families. In addition, within just days of the islandwide curfew, the Chief Nurse at the National Hospital raised her concern on social media platforms over the spike in domestic violence. Since then, other service providers have also reported violence against women in the domestic sphere and highlighted the challenges in responding to these.   
  2. Sri Lanka takes prides in its free and universal health care system. The World Health Organization’s landmark announcement that 2020 will be the International Year of the Midwife and the Nurse provides an important opportunity to focus on the support given to frontline health workers. In April 2020, the staff of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Sri Lanka donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for healthcare professionals working on the frontlines while a number of corporate entities followed suit. However, in early-April 2020, the President of Public Health Inspectors’ Union said the current situation has left many workers stressed due to the non-availability of safety equipment. In April 2020, the Government Nursing Officers’ Association also criticized the government for its inability to provide the healthcare workers with safety equipment.
  3. Women’s economic empowerment in post-conflict contexts must be a top priority. The Sri Lankan government arranged to pay 5000 rupees (approximately 26 USD) as stipend to selected families and individuals who direly needed financial assistance at this time of crisis. Following the 2009 military defeat of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), a plethora of private microfinance institutes sprouted across the country, especially in former war zones where there are many female-headed households. Although microfinance is defined as a provision of financial services to communities who are excluded from the traditional banking and credit systems to start income generating projects, it has long become a breeding ground for financial exploitation of women. The impact of debt waiver introduced in 2018 by the previous regime yielded little results as debt cancellation is ineffective in an environment where people lack the means to fulfil basic needs. Such complex and multi-faceted female vulnerabilities should be taken into consideration in recovering the economy after Covid-19.
  4. The Association of War Affected Women (AWAW) is one of many female-led peacebuilding organizations that have adopted an integrated response to COVID 19 that engaged in food and medicine distribution, organizing a 24-hour domestic abuse hotline and encouraging the police to enforce a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence. Likewise, state mechanisms should not solely pay their attention to offering stipend. Covid-19 is much more than a health emergency and the less-discussed socio-economic issues need to be addressed as well. Coordination among state agencies is another strategy that should be followed, at all times.
  5. During nation-wide curfew imposed to combat the spread of COVID- 19, the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) workforce, which is predominantly made up of women who work in garment factories, were left stranded for several days in their private makeshift boarding houses and were subsequently loaded into buses to return to their hometowns, allegedly without having received their monthly salaries. In all likelihood, Sri Lankan women who work in the informal sector will bear the brunt of the economic impact of COVID- 19, irrespective of whether they are based in the country or West Asia. In other words, the current pandemic is illustrative of the economic fragility of the informal sector due to lack of social protection. Copy-paste responses and/or one-size-fits-all approach from the Global North can be quite problematic to local contexts. Most importantly, steps should be taken to ensure that violence is not exerted on women due to their economic restraints.  
  6. In 2017, it was estimated that approximately 34.11 percent of the population in Sri Lanka had access to internet ( www.stastia.com). This means that having access to internet is a privilege. In late-March 2020, while nationwide curfew was ongoing to combat the spread of Covid- 19, the government made the ambitious announcement that medicine could be purchased online from state-run pharmacies. Within a matter of days, this initiative proved to be a failure not only due to technical issues but also widespread unfamiliarity with e-commerce. As nearly half of Sri Lanka’s population don’t use smart phones (according to a 2019 study published by LIRNEasia) shifting to e-payments might not be an inclusive solution.  
  7. Given the current situation, women as well as members of their household are mostly confined to the domestic sphere. Even in the case of two-parent households, women are usually compelled to engage in household chores. In addition, they are required to look after the elderly people. The ‘work from home’ concept might not be realistic for most women as they are expected to look after the families, especially during difficult times. A number of male Sri Lankan celebrities have posted videos on social media platforms as to how they share responsibilities at home which must be seen as a reassuring development.      
Ms. Anne Marie Goetz

HI Dishani -- your post is very thought-provoking, many thanks for your careful observations.

The microfinance systems that you mention as being largely run by private organizations -- and aimed at reaching the Tamil female population -- are there any reports on this that you could recommend?  I was very struck by the mention that these systems have been observed to contribute to the financial exploitation of women.  In the context of the COVID-19 emergency, any pre-existing system for ensuring that cash gets into the hands of the poorest women is useful, but it sounds like microfinance systems woudl not be appropriate under these conditions.  If you could recommend any reports on this, I woudl be grateful!

Kenna Williams

Would this be the time that Universal Healthcare was afforded to everyone? Perhaps that would have solved some of the disparities that are happening in different socio-economic structures. Women are at the forefront of everything. Here in South Africa, I've seen them leading parcels/food items to those who are hungry and not earning income during these COVID-19 lockdown periods. Many are serving in Healthcare as nurses, doctors, health aids, housekeeping and more. The future is really women.

Dishani

You are absolutely right, Kenna. We can tap Covid -19 as an opportunity to promote the idea that the futue is female. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Nyasha Phanisa Sithole

Inorder for women and girls leadership to work we need to address underlying intersectional issues including economic inequalities, gender inequalities as well. Covid19 has opened the can of worms which means the can was always there just that it was not open so all the challenges we are seeing and the increased exclusion of girls and women has always been here but shadowed in a world where we pretend its normal. So the new normal requires ,deliberate efforts and investments to suppprt girls and women to engage in decision making platforms.In the event of exclusion this is the time where one shpuld question whether in their initiatives are girls and women beneficiaries or they are partners.

Eleanor Khupe

How can technology help? What can be learnt from the use of e-payments to reach the most vulnerable? 

Ecocash is a Zimbabwean mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service (there are a few others here) that has about 6.5 million customers who use it on a daily basis for payments to transfer money etc. That's close to half of Zimbabwe's population. The service does not require the use of a smartphone and it makes sending money to the most vulnerable quick and easy. It can be done in a matter of seconds. Most shops, banks, hospitals etc accept Ecocash, once someone receives money, they are able to make payments with it. 

This is just an example of how HUGE an impact technology can help. There is no need to collect physical cash and payments can be made from a cellphone that's as cheap as $20. 

Ms. Anne Marie Goetz

HI Eleanor please can you say a bit more about how Ecocash works?  You mention that it does not require that the recipient has a smartphone  -- but how exactly are the payments made to hospitals, shops etc, without a phone? Sorry if I have misunderstood -- i am genuinely curious!

Eleanor Khupe

Hi Anne Marie 

You don't need a smartphone to use Ecocash by that I mean - the cellphones that are internet enabled, have whatsapp etc. Ecocash works on the older feature phones (the ones that didn't have internet and were used exclusively for calls and text messages). So you do need a phone, but it doesn't need to be an expensive one. 

Titilola

COVID, COVID, COVID like everyone is disappointed that it has not taken hold in Africa! We always have bore the worst of the diseases in the world. Polio, Ebola, malaria. We are used to this pain. So our way of helping women is not just COVID, it’s just support as usual. We need support for what we are doing with money, but we don’t need another program. Not from UN. We are doing this through faith and family. Most of us do not have good internet access but we have mobile banking and microloans sometimes that helps with school fees and things.  Women have always been the ones who care for others. COVID or no COVID, we are born to serve and take care of the young, the old and the sick. The only thing we need is more resources, not more programs.

Valerie Cliff

A recurring question during this time of COVID-19 has been how do we build back better? In a recent publication, UNDP in Asia and the Pacific noted that women are likely to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In conflict-affected regions, the impact of COVID-19  is further magnified, with women in these contexts facing the intersection of complex-crises – migration, the rise of violent extremism, climate-induced conflict and gender discrimination. The lack of social safety net options available to women in these contexts, is also of great concern. Hence the ever-present need to ensure that women are actively and meaningfully a part of making decisions that affect them. As we navigate how to build back better, it is important that we understand gender-differentiated impacts of COVID-19. A glaring example, often referred to as the invisible war, is the increase in gender-based violence during the implementation of stay-in-place measures. Many governments and women civil society organizations are working to understand and respond to this rise. In the Philippines, there has been the institution of helplines to respond to GBV calls. In Pakistan, women’s civil society, originally mobilized to help stop the spread of violent extremism, is now working on curbing misinformation, spreading health safety information, and provide support to SGBV survivors.  All these different variables need to be assessed and evaluated, and programming developed to support policy interventions that ensure that women meaningfully engaged as decision-makers in health and security response.

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza

Hi Pablo and all, thanks for organizing this critical conversation. I would like to discuss the shift from in-person discussion to virtual platforms as part of our adaptation to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

I've heard remarks in various discussions I participate in since the beginning of the quarantine that COVID-19 is an equalizer because it is now easier to participate in discussions and decision-making on peacebuilding, peace negotiations or peace processes. This may be true to a certain extent because there is no huge travel budget needed, no visa required. However, to generalize that the pandemic is an equalizer  is simply inaccurate because globally, only just over half of households (55%) have  internet connection. In developed countries, 87% are connected compared with 47% in developing nations, and in the least developed countries [including conflict-affected countries], only 19% have internet access. This data was cited by the World Economic Forum  https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-digital-divide-internet-data-broadband-mobbile/  based on a paper published by UNESCO. 

We should also note that there is a gender divide within the digital divide. Globally, women are 23% less likely than men to use mobile internet,as this data shows:  https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/GSMA-The-Mobile-Gender-Gap-Report-2019.pdf GNWP works in many local communities directly affected by conflicts. In most of them, electricity is not always available--let alone internet. 

How could we overcome the challenge posed by the digital divide? Governments and the UN through the International Telecommunication Union, should forge partnership with the private sector to make teleconferencing platforms affordable,  accessible, relevant,  and culturally-sensitive --including easy, simultaneous interpretation. These platforms should be safe, user-empowering, and lead to positive impacts. Governments, private sector,  UN, regional organizations, donors and other stakeholders should invest in convergence between internet and community radio because in conflict-affected communities, community radios that broadcast in the local languages are the most accessible and affordable medium.

Governments and media corporations should allow people to access COVID-19 websites or portals free of charge, with no data or airtime required. (E.g., South Africa is doing this.)

Donors should give their civil society partners some flexibility to modify their implementation plans and budget to integrate rapid response to the pandemic including unforeseen telecommunication expenses. 

Most importantly, women and girls must be trained to use information and communication technologies (ICT) and create opportunities for them to have access to and control of the ICT so they can use them for their own empowerment, and to promote inclusive and sustainable peace; as well as participation in decision-making, design, and implementation of humanitarian response. 

Roosevelt Y. Weah

Wouldn't then be wise to include the men? For example in Liberia some men suspicious of their wives using the internet for fear of "looking for men". We need to teach the men. We cannot leave them out. 

Roosevelt Y. Weah

We the Men Empowerment appreciate the empowering of women ( even if that be some women). We also emphasize based on Liberian cultural context that one cannot empower and leave out the man. This has been one of the causes of domestic violence over the past few years as we notice. In empowering the women, please include the men by educating them of the benefit to family when the woman is empowered.

Dishani

I totally agree with you Roosevelt. Men and boys should be allies in gender equity debates, dialogues and interventions.

Tamah Shamangende

Yes...I totally agree with Roosevelt Y.Weah men shouldn't be left out when decided to empower a woman. Man should be educated more on how to support their wife if their are empowered because at the end of day their will also benefit. So let as try more to even engage men

Roosevelt Y. Weah

Tamah Shamangende, thank you. I will inform our men tomorrow that somehow people somewhere are beginning to listen to us. We the "oppressors, abusers, powerful" e now on the receiving end and need to be liberated again. This is not no way playing down the abuse of women especially in Liberia but also the demonization of all men in Liberia by international organizations and the former government went too far. 

Roosevelt Y. Weah

Hopefully the discussion on GBV and other gender issues will be evaluated and elevated to another. Men are the fathers, brothers, uncles and husbands. If we look it that way the better. Men Empowerment Network of Liberia is working with our women wing the Progressive African Women 

Agnieszka

Thank you for inviting me to this discussion, Pablo! And thank you to everyone for your thoughtful comments.

I echo what has already been said about the importance of "building back better", challenging the digital divide, and engaging men as allies.

An aspect of the response to COVID-19 that I wanted to highlight are the links between the COVID-19 pandemic and peacebuilding.

Around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures taken to contain it, have impacted peace and peacebuilding, and these impacts are visibly gendered.

At GNWP, our partners from around the world have noted that the pandemic has had impacts on the levels of peace and conflict in their communities. For example, in South Sudan, our partners reported increased levels of violence in Jonglei, Warap and Lake States, due to reduced State and UN presence. Similarly, in parts of Uganda, the lockdown has created conditions that led to increases in cattle raiding and inter-communal violence. On the other hand, militarized responses to the crisis - for example in the Philippines - have also been perceived as a threat. We also know that the crisis has contributed to the stalling of the implementation of peace agreements across the world - from Colombia, to South Sudan, to the Philippines - including their gendered provisions. 

(For more information and resources on the impacts of COVID-19 on peace and security, and their gendered nature, please see: https://gnwp.org/covid19-strategy/)

Women peacebuilding efforts have also been affected because of increased violations of human rights including suppression of freedom of speech and of the press, attacks on women human rights defenders, increased surveillance by the government and heavily militarized responses to the crisis. The situation is further aggravated by dwindling resources, which have disrupted the work of many women’s rights organization and civil society groups who work to promote and protect women’s rights and build inclusive and sustainable peace.

Despite this, Women and youth peacebuilders are at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis response in local communities. While advocating for the implementation of peace accords or monitoring the implementation of ceasefire agreements, they make face masks and distribute them along with food packages and hygiene products, to women and girls, elderly, people with disabilities, refugees and internally displaced persons. 

The key messages that I think we have to take away as we work to recover from the crisis and "build back better" are:

  • The distinction between emergency response and peacebuilding is often not reflected in the lived reality of women and youth peacebuilders. *All emergency response has to include a strong gender lens and peace lens* and there is a need to *recognize and strengthen the links between humanitarian action, peacebuilding and development* since these are interlinked and interwoven in the lives of local women and men.
  • *Women peacebuilders are at the forefront of emergency response* - and therefore need to be included in emergency planning, as experts and first responses.
  • As States recover from COVID-19, the *crisis response and recovery plans have to have a strong peacebuilding component - peace cannot wait*, it has to be a key element of the urgent emergency response action
swedi bilombele
Dear Colleagues Greetings! While useful, the reality is that Covid-19 is a global disaster of unprecedented scale. As Africa turns to the wealthiest countries for help, most of these countries are exhausted in using their resources for their own national responses. At the start of the pandemic, many African governments responded quickly by closing their borders and shutting down the airlines. With most countries that have implemented lock-in measures, the impact of Covid-19 will be catastrophic for small businesses, those in the informal sector and those at the bottom of the pyramid. Undoubtedly, those who suffer the most from these consequences in these times of crisis are women. They are the ones who plow the land to feed the families, who perform unpaid care work during the foreclosure while already taking care of the household. At the same time, the girl does not have time to read and continue learning at home during this period. Young girls and boys had to miss school. With limited internet facilities and technological options for most schools, young Africans lack precious time to improve their education, prepare for and take exams, and move towards their future. This will have a significant impact on the objectives set to fight poverty by 2030. Farmers are also facing losses, with difficulties in harvesting and linking to markets, with demand for goods and services now low. Non-essential services such as commuters and hotels, restaurants and breweries are now closed. If the crisis persists, one of the major challenges is the loss of jobs, as companies are laying off staff. This ripple effect is enormous, since the loss of employment will lead to a loss of income for women, a reduction in overall demand and in household livelihoods. Hopes of limited progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 could be dashed. It is important to reflect on lessons and policy actions for governments, particularly in Africa based on the lessons learned that are important for how we respond to the challenges of COVID-19: 1. The crucial importance of building robust health systems with sufficient resources for empowerment, including infrastructure, medical supply chains and health personnel This is essential to ensure that countries are in able to respond. 2. Collection of information on the covid-19 pandemic in order to disseminate it through local communities; 3. Collaboration with communities through training and information, as well as carrying out certain field actions aimed at raising awareness of the covid-19 pandemic. 4 Empowerment of women’s groups and NGOs to struggles for pandemic in their diverse context around the world. 5.To promote the advancement of women in society, to provide training programs to enable rural women to gain the skills to assume leadership roles within their communities. Hoping to hearing from you Regards M. Crispin
Edna Dela Cruz

Greetings to all from Migrant Forum in Asia. Hope you are all well and safe.

 

1. What examples are there of local women’s groups participating directly in the response to Covid-19? What difference has that made?

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) is following closely the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, our partners in Bangladesh such as the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (BNSK) is providing shelters and other assistance for distress migrant women. BNSK has conducted a survey among 164 women domestic migrant workers of Bangladesh, where 94% of the women workers reported that they are facing physical violation, as economic lock-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic has created mental stress resulting into physical violence by their male partners. They have also been providing relief aid in the form of food and medical supplies for women migrants whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19. Partners from Nepal such as Women's Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), AMKAS, and POURAKHI provide shelters to women migrants in distress.  Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) an NGO in Singapore assists domestic workers who are in crisis, provides helpline for domestic workers, and run a shelter for domestic workers in distress.

These different local women’s groups  facilitating direct response and relief/assistance to women migrant workers during the pandemic makes a significant difference as given the scope of their organization’s work, they are more likely to understand and accurately target and identify the issues that women face during the pandemic and come up with the appropriate, gender-sensitive and gender-responsive approach.

3. What lessons can we take from how women’s participation in post-conflict recovery has changed local economies to help formulate future economic responses?

The pandemic has provided many examples of effective women’s leadership and ingenuity in responding to the crisis. There are many indications that female leaders are responding better to the current crisis, thus it is important to put women leaders at the forefront to participate in post-conflict recovery and to help formulate future economic responses. The unequal participation of women and men in post-conflict recovery may further differentiate their vulnerability during the crisis and in its aftermath. To advance gender equality there should be an equal opportunity to economic participation to ensure that everyone equally benefits, participates in, and guides the economy in the recovery phase.

5. Could a global focus on the vulnerability of workers in the informal sector, especially women, help improve their situation? What decision-making processes might make a difference?

Women working in the informal sector are more often disproportionately affected and are more vulnerable to situations of abuse may it be situations of physical abuse and violence or structural abuse such as, in the situation of COVID-19, longer working hours, non-entitlement to day offs or leaves due to lockdowns. Much of these vulnerabilities are deeply rooted in systemic inequalities, which can be improved with a global focus, but will definitely require a grassroots approach. Decision making processes must be shaped by such an approach given that much of these issues are a product of factors such as long existing patriarchal system and unethical recruitment processes which women are succumb to and which requires a major shift in policy-making in this regard.

 

6. How can technology help? What can be learnt from the use of e-payments to reach the most vulnerable?

The influence of technology on the day to day affairs in the world is fast expanding. Technological innovations, especially digital technology platforms can bring together the world in various capacities.  The development of digital platforms supports not only the entrepreneurs or capital, but it could also facilitate and support various actors such as labour, state, non-state actors, etc. The various stakeholders such as states, recruitment agencies, etc are increasingly experimenting with technology in migration management.

Addressing the cost of remittance using easier and low-cost e-payment services will be highly beneficial for migrant workers. Since only a few countries in the Asian region are providing incentives for the remittances to the country, the non-state stakeholders such as CSOs should make attempts to develop online applications in association with private actors by providing the latest information on exchange rates and available money transfer services.

7. Initial surveys suggest that women’s unpaid care burden has increased globally and across socio-economic divides under the response to the pandemic. Are there any good practices that demonstrate a more egalitarian response?

For unpaid care burden that can be constituted under wage theft, MFA launches an Urgent Appeal for Justice Mechanism on the first of June, together with Lawyers Beyond Borders (LBB) Network, Cross-Regional Centre for Migrants and Refugees (CCRM), South Asia Trade Union Council (SARTUC), and Solidarity Center (SC) to call upon countries of origin and destination to urgently put in place a transitional justice mechanism to address grievances, unpaid wages, claims and labour disputes of repatriated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. And that the mechanism needs to be expedited, accessible, affordable, and efficient.

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Dearest Colleagues, 

Welcome to the fourth week of this important discussion as we prepare to review and celebrate twenty years since the historic UN SC 1325 resolution. I am happy to be the moderator this week and to continue the vibrant and enriching discussions that have started over the last few weeks. As I work on Civil Society engagement and movement building,  I am particularly interested to hear your thoughts, experiences and lessons learnt  especially those related to  local women organizations and grassroots initiatives in COVID-19 Response and Recovery.

In a post COVID-19 world, there may be some similarities and lessons learnt across the globe, as the world tries to get back on its feet and "build back better”. So, this discussion is about the empowerment of women and their equal participation in post crisis recovery on the path to stability, sustainability, peacebuilding, and development. What lessons can we take from local peace-building processes to help ensure an inclusive response to COVID-19?The discussion should also look back and reflect on progress made since the Beijing Conference on these issues, or lack thereof.  What went well and What can be improved?  I look forward to our interaction and exchange of views, ideas, recommendations, and forward-looking thinking.

Kim McClure

Regarding question #5 on the vulnerability of women working in the informal sector: Women-led organizations like the National Domestic Workers Alliance in the U.S. are advocating for care workers who have faced a suddenly loss of income due to COVID or are disproportionately exposed to it because some employers still require their care but give them little choice in the matter and do not provide adequate protection to reduce their exposure risk. They are also raising attention to the reality that Black and Latinx women are more affected by these conundrums. The organization is also fundraising to help domestic and care workers affected by COVID in a number of ways.  They have advocated for private employers to pay their domestic workers even if they do not wish for them to show up for work during their city's lockdown status, as the workers will otherwise have no income.  They are also advocating for key protections and legislations for domestic workers in this health pandemic.

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Thank you Kim for highlighting the special vulnerabilities that face women working in informal sector. Indeed the advocacy around domestic workers should be prioritized. From the health perspective, a majority of female domestic workers are migrant women who have no insurance coverage, no access to medical services, and some cannot access masks to protect themselves from infection. This lack of access to protective equipment may expose other family members to the virus. While they may be the least protected person in a home, their health is equal to the health of their employer because COVID–19 does not discriminate. The example of the National Domestic Workers Alliance in the U.S is very relevant in that context. From a rights' perspective, we are now hearing more voices calling for women domestic workers to have access to a domestic labor platform through domestic Worker’s Unions to amplify their challenges, educate them about their rights during the COVID-19 crisis, and provide resources and information on how to protect themselves and their families along with information on how to access treatment .  Thank you for raising our attention to the reality that Black and Latinx women are more affected in these circumstances. Indeed, the intersection of different aspects(such as gender, race, class etc.) often result in exacerbating vulnerability of women. It also affects their  different needs  as well as their different levels of access to resources, status, and power in their communities. 

Roosevelt Y. Weah

Thanks. Domestic workers, especially females are some of the most neglected. They are not usually mentioned even here in Liberia. What we have observed is that  usually when the government or other organizations talk about empowering women they mostly focused on educated urban women who are vocal and not silent the other women. Men Empowerment Network therefore advocates for women "behind the house or the kitchen" in our Progressive African Women advocacy. 

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Thank you Roosevelt for raising that issue from the Liberian context.  It is unfortunate that advocacy campaigns may continue to reinforce existing inequalities and leaving " silent women" behind. It is also very inspiring to see that women led organizations are the ones highlighting and showcasing examples from the “ less vocal women”. As in many countries of Africa, Women and girls often start from the place of gross disadvantages, because of the long-standing local traditions and cultural norms that reinforces inequality.  As we try to build back, better, What decision-making processes might make a difference? can we also link that to the digital divide? and campaigns reinforcing that the educated vocal urban model as the model that is worth celebrating ? 

Shawana Shah

 

  1. I am Shawana Shah, Beijing +25 UN Women Youth Task Force Member from Pakistan and Program Manager Da Hawwa Lur(A women-led Feminist organization). Da Hawwa Lur during COVID-19 and lockdown, responded by initiating a free Tele-Counselling services for women, girls and transgender persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a step to counter the stress, anxiety and fear caused during the lockdown because of COVID-19. The services were started from 1st May, 2020.The purpose of the initiative is to provide people with a platform where they can seek support in terms of coping with their mental stress and improve their mental health to better survive the impacts of COVID-19. Along with that Da Hawwa Lur, distributed hygiene kits and sanitary napkins among girls and transgender persons in rural parts of the province to ensure that vulnerable groups have access to SRHR services and kits. Informal workers such as home based workers have longed for their rights in KP of Pakistan. Currently women form 80% of the home based workers group in Pakistan however there is still no provincial policy to ensure the rights of workers in informal economy. Da Hawwa Lur has 400 registered women home based workers who are now in extreme vulnerable position because of COVID-19, the restrictive mobility, closure of local markets, middle man and no inclusion in relief programs. First of all it is important for all countries to recognise informal workers specifically domestic and home based workers as labor and draft, implement the policies at local and national level. Without proper policy it is impossible for the workers to achieve equal rights in the growing economies. The e-payements work only in the areas and regions where women and vulnerable groups have access to accounts, phones and internet services. Majority of the women and girls still don't have access to mobile phones and internet services in rural parts of Pakistan. However it will be feasible only once women and girls have access and knowledge of the use of technology.
Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

 

Thank you so much @Shawana Shah for your intervention and for the initiatives you highlighted from the Pakistani context. You highlighted a couple of important points to this discussion.

1. Access to SRHR services is extremely challenging, especially in a COVID context.

The challenge is also exacerbated when it is coupled with elements of intersectionality such as SRHR services to transgender persons (which you perfectly pointed out). Some feminist movements have highlighted the need to rethink " Sectoral or issue-based approaches" – such as women organizing on  women’s reproductive rights etc. –

For example, In a paper by the Open Society Initiative  for Southern Africa,  feminists argue that issue based approaches in many cases have fallen short of addressing the structural underpinnings responsible for women’s subordination.

Very often, in this approach, groups choose to focus on capacity development, policy and advocacy related strategies and would not make the connection to the root causes – thereby addressing the symptoms rather than the real issues ( particularly the issue of access).

I would like also to thank you for sharing the “counseling initiative”. When I had I look at the flyer you attached I saw that you are also targeting men and not only women or transgender persons. This is so useful. As men also need psychosocial services in times of crises. This brings me to another related question: How can we better engage men as allies to ensure an inclusive COVID response? Possibly through targeting them with some of the interventions as you just did. Are there other means for engaging them? I saw you are also a member of the Beijing+25 global taskforce, and I am really interested to hear your thoughts – from a youth angle – on how to ensure youth engagement in COVID response and whether there are any promising practices in that regards.

2. You highlighted the drawbacks of technology and the reinforcement of the digital divide, indeed , and that’s why there have been some initiatives to use the traditional outreach methods to ensure that we are not leaving anyone behind.

Two weeks ago, @Rehab Al-Sanabani shared the Yemeni experience of using traditional radio messages to raise awareness about gender issues during the COVID-19 including the continuity of the family planning and the reproductive health services. 

Furthermore, @Mavic Cabrera-Balleza suggested that Governments and the UN through the International Telecommunication Union should forge partnership with the private sector to make teleconferencing platforms affordable, accessible, relevant, and culturally-sensitive --including easy, simultaneous interpretation.

 

 

Danielle De La Fuente

Greetings from NY! In our experience distributing a COVID response podcast series that addressed the emotional wellbeing of caregivers, WhatsApp was our primary distribution mechanism. It proved to be a great source of communication within these communities. By using WhatsApp, we were able to receive guidance on what challenges the communities were facing. By gathering the experiences of these women, we were able to tailor our future responses. Collecting these voices can also take the shape of thematic task teams or efforts that create a strong line of communication between women with stakeholders.

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Thank you Danielle, This is extremely inspiring. I am very interested to know how you managed the outreach process through WhatsApp. To capitalize on your experience, some questions could be useful in that context; for example: Was it through local and grassroots organizations? How did you get the list of verified  whatspp numbers of the commuinty members? Was there a two way channel between you as senders of information and caregivers as receivers of the emotional wellbeing support? If that was the case, what was the feedback of the caregivers? Do you have useful materials from your organization that you can share with us?

We have also heard examples of good practice in using technology, from Whatsapp groups and social media campaigns (like Together and Equal in Lebanon or Story Kitchen's Katha Corona in Nepal). Additionally, during the first week of this consultation, @Ana lukatella highlighted the use of WhatsApp groups supported by UN Women in Jordan together with WHO and UNHCR verified data; which have proved very important in communicating risk of COVID-19 among vulnerable women who are responsible for the care of children and the elderly and ill in a pandemic situation. It also allowed women to engage with the community and be recognized as leaders with access to important information in a time of crisis + but as trusted actors in the communication and dissemination of preventative messages and measures. In Nigeria, the Mind Reformers Network used WhatsApp  to fight infodemic ( fake news that can cause community and health crisis).  Some organizations such as Grassroot, a civic technology organization based in South Africa,  developed guidelines to design and deliver messages and interactive training courses through whatsapp. See their attached guidelines as a good example.

Danielle De La Fuente

[~58372] - The outreach process through WhatsApp was facilitated through local and grassroots organizations that we partner with already, as well as others who requested access to the materials. Each organization had various WhatsApp groups already formed with their beneficiaries, and thus a list of community members was not necessary. We had hoped it would be an interactive two way communication channel, as we also included a daily challenge to try and spark engagement; nevertheless, the two way engagement was limited. The feedback we received from caregivers was that the information was practical and easy to implement. They also were happy to have some examples of games and activities they can do that enhanced emotional wellness, and requested more. Organizations told us the topics were timely and well balanced. We have the podcasts, as well as the worksheets, we could share with you. They are on a google drive, so not sure what the easiest method to do so is. Thank you for all these wonderful examples, I will take a look at their good practices!

dr faiza

شكرا للدعوة الكريمة للمشاركة في هذا النقاش التفاعلي الرائع 

 (معكم فائزة الباشا من طرابلس - ليبيا ( أستاذة جامعية وناشطة حقوقية 

مما لاشك فيه أن كوفيد 19 أثر على حياة الناس عامة والنساء بشكل خاص التي تعاني في مجتمعاتنا  بسبب تهميشها واستبعادها من مواقع صنع القرار العليا 

ولكن الملاحظ من خلال العمل المجتمعي والحقوقي بتحالف المساعدة القانونية  في ليبيا  والجمعية الليبية لحقوق الإنسان التي أتشرف برئاستها  أن المراة الليبية كانت متواجدة وبقوة واستجابت  بفاعلية للمشاركة في توعية المجتمع من خلال مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي بمخاطر كوفيد  19 وسبل الوقاية من خلال نشر الفيديوهات ونشر الاعلانات بما فيها المدفوعة بجهود تطوعية 

ومشاركتها في صياغة مقترح لخطة وطنية مجتمعية  لمواجهة مخاطر وتهديدات  كورونا  وسبل الوقاية منه 

 وهو ما دفع بصناع القرار إلى تمكينها من المشاركة في اللجان الرسمية الخاصة بمواجهة  مخاطر الجائحة 

ولقد قمنا بحملات ضغط ليتم الافراج عن النساء المتواجدت بالسجون  وكان لذلك تأثيره حيث تم الافراج على العديد من

الموقوفات والمحكومات اللائي أنهين نصف المدة 

وقامت النساء الفاعلات بحملات توعية للنساء في السجون الرسمية 

ومع ذلك تبقي المرأة الموجود بالسجون الخاضعة شكليا لاحد الحكومات في الشرق أو الغرب خارج السيطرة ولا يمكن الوصول إليها 

 

وهو  من التحديات التي تواجهنا في بناء السلام لمواجهة تحدى كوفيد 19 

كما ,ان استمرار الاقتتال بطرابلس والذي لم ينتهي إلا من 4 ايام كان له نتائج خطيرة على المرأة خلال هذه الجائحة 

لحرمانها كغيرها من الفئات من الحق في الصحة لاقفال المستشفيات وعدم توفر الادوية أو ارتفاع تكلفتها 

وتأثرت الحوامل بصورة أكبر ,ارتفعت تكاليف العمليات 

ولا ننسي تدمير عدد من المستفيات واقفال مراكز الصحة بالاحياء بسبب الجائحة والحرب 

و لاننسي الجنوب الليبي الذي يعاني اضعاف ما تعانيه المناطق الأخرى 

والنزوج والتهجير وتزايد أعداد النساء اللائي تعول أسرهن بسبب الحرب وتضاعفت معاناتهن  لعدم توفر السيولة والدفع

بالأموال للمجهود الحربي  والجائحة التي لم تعلن احصائياتها بشفافية وارتبط الانفاق بالفساد 

شكرا  بابلو لادارة النقاش وسوف اكمل مداخلتي لاحقا 

مودتي ونأمل استمرار  مثل هذا النقاش المفيد لنسهم في وضع خطط وطنية فاعلة ونستفيد من تجارب بعضنا البعض

 

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Many thanks Dr. Faiza for sharing insights from the Libyan context. Indeed, Women are the ones who pay the highest price during conflict and are the most at risk of suffering “devastating losses” from the disease. In addition, health systems in war-ravaged countries have often reached the point of total collapse, while the few health workers who remain are also seen as targets.  This situation highlights the fact that as  States recover from COVID-19, the crisis response and recovery plans need to have a strong peacebuilding component. It also calls for women peacebuilders to be at the forefront of emergency response and recovery. So we are happy to hear your efforts to bring women at the decision making committees of the crises response. The UN Secretary General urgent call for global ceasefire given battle against COVID https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059972 shows that diplomatic action needs to be reinforced to help create conditions for the delivery of lifesaving aid . In other words,  Peace processes can't and must not wait. during the pandemic. It was also very important to see that women’s organizations from the Arab States Region ( the region with the highest number of conflicts)  join UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s call for ceasefire and unity in the face of COVID-19 (with Ninety-one women’s organizations from Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen and other countries) https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/5/press-release-women-organizations-in-the-arab-states-call-for-ceasefire-in-the-face-of-covid19 . However, as the SG reiterates there is a huge distance between declarations and deeds — between translating words into peace on the ground and in the lives of people.  There are enormous difficulties to implementation as conflicts have festered for years and distrust is deep, with many spoilers and many suspicions.   We have seen for example that all Libyan  crisis committees and groups that have been set up to responsd to the crises have very limited participation of women. In Yemen as well,  the emergency management committee set up in Aden consists of 7 members and only one of them is a woman.

So thank you for highlighting these challenges and for bringing example  from the Libyan local women’s groups participating directly in the response to Covid-19. The post-conflict recovery process offers an opportunity to start afresh – to design governance, economic solutions to the benefit of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

 

dr faiza

عزيزي السيدة نسرين 

 

من المفيد استمرار النقاش المفيد وتبادل التجارب وتسليط الضوء عليها 

ومما لاشك فيه أن COVID19.

   أثر بصورة سلبية على حقوق الناس في ليبيا سواء المواطنين أو العمالة الاجنبية والمهاجرين 

وأن المعاناة تزداد  في منطقة الجنوب التي تعاني من التهميش قديما وحديثا ناهيك عن تفشي الفساد الاداري والمالي والذي تسبب في اهدار الأموال وعدم وصول المساعدات إلى مستحقيها  زمن الجائحة 

وحرم الانسان من حقه  في الصحة بسبب الجائحة لاقفال معظم المستشفيات  وتخصيص العام منها لاستقبال الحالات 

وخشية الاطقم الطبية من الاصابة  بسبب التأخر في اتخاذ التدابير اللازمة لتأهليهم على   مواجهة الكوفيد 19 

ناهيك عن التنمر في مواجهة العنصر النسائي من قبل المرضي 

 

 

Fatema Khafagy

Hi Nesreen

I am Fatema Khafagy coordinator of the Arab Women Network for Parity & Solidarity and member of CSAG.  Wanted to give a brief of a successful example  of a large  feminist group in the Arab region

There are tens of thousands of women and feminist CSOs and networks in the Arab countries.  Some are engaged in advocacy work to influence governments’ policies, others in providing services for the needy women and many others are engaged in calling for legal justice.  Since the outbreak of COVID-19 many of these networks and CSOs came together to maximize their efforts in providing services for women who are affected by the pandemic. 

Arab women are over-represented in the unregulated informal sector, primarily in gendered services such as street vendors, agricultural workers and domestic help. Women are  disproportionately affected by the economic impact of Covid-19, due to their engagement in this insecure labour, and due to lack of access to financial resources.

Arab women perform nearly five times as much unpaid care work as men. When health systems are overloaded in responding to Covid-19, a greater burden is placed on women to care for the sick at home. This makes them more exposed to contracting the COVID-19 virus. In addition, overloaded health services in response of COVID-19 often divert resources away from women’s primary health needs, making their access to essential healthcare much harder as well as their access to contraceptives and to reproductive health services.  Front line female health works are facing death every day in trying to attend to the infected population in some Arab hospitals.

Services for domestic violence survivors in the Arab region, such as shelters and hotlines, are few and are strained or de-prioritized during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, some domestic violence shelters  face closures owing to fear of infection or decreases in funding. The police and justice systems sometimes de-prioritize gender-based violence during the pandemic, leading to impunity.

In addition, the Arab  region  is home to more than 17 million refugees and displaced persons forced to leave their homes as a result of  violent armed  conflict, half of them are women. Beside lack of income, resources, work… women refugees and migrants also suffer from many forms of gender based violence including sexual assault, rape, early and forced marriage, trafficking, female genital mutilation, and economic exploitation….etc.  Children also suffer from lack of adequate education.  The pandemic has exacerbated the problems faced by this group. Women are usually looked upon as victims of violence and not as women who have voice that should be listened to by all stakeholders. 

One of the success stories of women/feminist CSOs in the Arab region is the coming together of around forty Arab CSOs from all Arab countries at the onset of  the outbreak of COVID-19 to maximize their efforts in response to the pandemic and to help women most affected by it.  The network meets bi monthly to exchange information, data, studies, documents and good practices. They have also realized  that COVID-19 has uncovered all the gender inequalities and injustice that Arab women have been suffering from.  Hence they have decided to address systems change and  to address gender reforms needed post COVID-19.  At present, the 40 CSOs network work together  in response to mitigating the surmounting effects of the pandemic on Arab women especially on the disadvantaged groups, to create a strong regional voice and agency for Arab women to make use of the pandemic and its effects in advocating the redress of the long endured structural gender inequalities in the Arab region,  to have a voice and synergize their inputs in  the global activities related to Beijing25, the generation equality forums and the Action Coalitions.

They are also working together to provide  Arab governments with suggested policies and to alert them about gaps and loopholes experienced by women using government services designed to mitigate impact of VOCID-19 on women and that need to be addressed during and post COVID-19.

The network is also concerned about the endless conflicts and wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya as well as the decades of Israeli occupation of Palestine and the devastating effects on women in these countries.  The network  is engaged in advocating the need for immediate ceasefire. Around seventy women CSOs from Palestine, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen issued a declaration to join UN Secretary-General’s call for ceasefire and unity in the face of COVID-19

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Thank You Dr. Fatemah for the comprehensive overview that you provided regarding the Arab region. As there are many efforts by women CSOs and grassroots organization, the idea of organizing and coordinating all those efforts becomes very important to avoid reinventing the wheel and to create synergies. The Arab CSOs network provides a great example for that. You raised two important points here that i would like to pick on: 1. exchanging information, data, studies, documents and good practices among the network members. This is very useful indeed. The use of knowledge and evidence based data can act as a mean for engendering early warning systems and desigining effective gender sensitive responses. It also allows local CSOs to be more equipped with the knowledge and tools that  enable these organizations to hold governments accountable. We have been hearing voices calling CSOs to develop " government accountability trackers" to hold them resposible in times of crises and to push for the Inclusion of the diverse voices of women in the policy making, implementation and evaluation of programs in areas such as health, economic recovery, budgeting, among others.  

2. This brings me to the second point; addressing the particular needs of women and girls and more effective recovery after the crisis which requires a solid local approach using local and regional networks and building that from the ground up. In a recent ODI publication " From the ground up It’s about time for local humanitarian action –https://www.odi.org/publications/16991-ground-it-s-about-time-local-humanitarian-action, Proponents argue that a more local approach to crises response enhances flexibility, efficiency and sustainability and above all more responsive to context and needs; which is something a network of CSOs and grassroots organization can certainly do.

 

 

 

Nuha Muhreiz

[~58372] 

Thanks for the invitation to participate in this important dialogue that brings us together in a common view of what is going on and how we reflected and faced the epidemic Covid-19. The inclusion of women in decision-making participation is one of the most important steps that contribute to the success of any national and international response to deal with the epidemic. I am Nuha Muhreiz from Woman Helping Woman Network- Jordan. We had a role in participating in the preparation of the national plan for resolution 1325 under the the umbrella of the Jordanian National Commission for Women and we have contributed to several activities that force women to stand firm in peace and conflict by conducting empowerment program , combat harassment and early marriage.
We also participated in the National Alliance to activate Resolution 1325 under Jordan National NGOs Forum JONAF in cooperation with Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development . We have had a major role in building women's leadership in host communities and in motivating societies to part in the civic engagement. During the epidemic period, civil society institutions were not officially incorporated by the the goverment, but they and women's organizations have undertaken large and varied actions to respond to the pandemic independently, they took the initiatives to the rapid response to provide food and assistance to poor families, widowed women, divorced women and need in cooperation with municipalities and local governers to ensure infection prevention and adhere to health instructions

Likewise, many organizations, including us, conducted surveys to define the impact of the pandemic on families in terms of economic or in terms of exchanging gender roles and cases of domestic violence. Some organizations also continued to receive complaints about domestic violence and to provide protection for these cases in cooperation with the Family Protection Department in addition to providing legal, social and psychological counseling. We, and many women's and civil society organizations, conducted awareness sessions on the importance of combating violence and resilience to confront crises, emphasizing the importance of exchanging roles in all locations and areas, and sending positive messages about family relations, equality and justice.

All of these efforts were being mobilized for their outputs by women’s organizations to guide the decision to consider gender mainstreaming in the planning stages, solutions, and integrated support programs.

 

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Thank you Nuha for sharing the CSOs and local efforts from the Jordanian context. Encouraging women organizations to be part of the Civic engagament. The outbreak of the pandemic taught us that local responses rooted in and implemented by communities were the fastest, most trusted and most effective in stemming the progression of the disease. We hope that by  Identifying women’s active roles in addressing the Covid-19 crisis and the lessons learnt from these experiences - including yours-  would be key for paving the path to an inclusive and gender-aware recovery. Studying the economic impact of the pandemic on women and the generation of evidence around that is very important. It would be great if you can share with us the findings here. @Ana Lukatella shared earlier that UN Women Jordan conducted a rapid survey of vulnerable Syrian refugee and Jordanian women on the impact of COVID-19 on health, economic security, gender-based violence, education access, time use and other issues. The results are available in the link. https://jordan.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/rapid-assessment-of-the-impact-of-covid19-on-vulnerable-women-in-jordan. The findings demonstrated an important and concerning relationship between increased risks of gender-based violence, food insecurity and economic pressures of the COVID-19 crisis. A priority for UN Women thus became cash assistance for vulnerable women. There are also efforts to generate evidence against the gendered impact of the COVID19 at the regional and country levels. For more information on UN Women's work around the world, Here is link with ta comprehensive link of  examples and resources https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/in-focus-gender-equality-in-covid-19-response. For Specific regional and country efforts; you can visit the regional sites:  Africa | Arab States | Asia Pacific | Europe & Central Asia | Latin America and the Caribbean

Roosevelt Y. Weah

Well, some will be surprised seen me man on this forum from Liberia. This is why it is important that we educate women on the use of IT especially in the Liberian context. I am not really about the urban educated elite women but the silence, poor , uneducated and rural women. Does the UN or other major international organizations have any programs to build the capacity of local organizations such as ours to help these women? There are two tasks involved in this process. First we have to teach the men that women having access to the internet is good and is going to harm their marriage and then follow by providing the women with technology and training to use social media and to even know how to access their mobile money accounts.  

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Roosevelt, thank you very much for highlighting the importance of engaging men as partners and allies to women; especially to the less empowered and silent women. On your first recommendation of raising the awareness of men about the fact that women having access to the internet – or even to any other aspect of empowerment – is something useful. Engaging men as allies involves challenging notions of masculinity and traditional perceptions of manhood. It requires men to question power dynamics in their actions or their words. UN Women launched the “HeForShe”  which works with men to  be engaged as gender advocates – speaking out as active agents and stakeholders who can transform social norms, behaviors and gender stereotypes that perpetuate discrimination and inequality. As you said,  in some regions like in Africa or the Arab region, there is still way to go. Yet, there are some good practices; In Rwanda, men work to change attitudes & confront gender-based violence. The Men in the kitchen: cooking up change in Mozambique: is another innovative programme is increasing men’s participation in domestic activities. In the Arab region, UN Women launched the “ Men and Women for Gender Equality Programme” to better understand the root causes of gender inequalities. This programme – working with community-based organizations has also developed a guidance with proposed 10 Strategies that Work to Engage Men (attached). On your second point; providing the women with technology on how to access their mobile money accounts.  Here the partnership between UN Women and WFP  in Jordan to use the blockchain technology demonstrated that it has allowed women increased control over their cash entitlement.https://jordan.unwomen.org/en/news/stories

Ameena Al Rasheed

Thank you for establishing this forum for discussion of very important and timely issues, that relate to women empowerment and economic and political participation in the era of COVID19. Its essential to acknowledge the fact that COVID19 has lift the lid of many aspects of progress and development, that derailed the efforts to empower women. It’s high time to address these aspects, strategies or approaches we followed earlier, and the pandemic has exposed its shortcomings. By all means going back to normal means, preserving old models and approaches we used to advance women’s agendas, while we now know for certain, that women economic empowerment, political and social empowerment of women and youth, are not only issues of rights and justice, but rather these are issues that dictates women’s lives. The pandemic put at grave risk, women in rural areas, women in marginal activities, led to the death of women who have no access to health care, impacted women who were impoverished by the social political and economic structure that’s intrinsically patriarchal. Now more than ever, and as mentioned earlier in this discussion, the role of men should take the forefront if we are to achieve any progress in advancing women’s agenda. Having highlighted these points, it’s significant to recognise women’s role, in fighting COVID19 and disseminating information in rural areas about the pandemic, and gathering support to inform about, social isolation, use of protection, and how to act in case of infection. In a rural area in Western Sudan a retired teacher bought a microphone and toured across the villages, distributing protectives and informing women about the best way to protect themselves and their families from contracting COVID19. There may be many stories that reflect on women’s capacity and understanding of the importance of communities work, nonetheless, COVID19 is an eye opener, on issues of accessibility of health care, education and services, and when it comes to women COVID19 has made inevitable that any economic political and social structure and model, we need to pursue, should include health, education and access to services as publicly owned and made available for all.   

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Dearest Ameena, Thank you very much for all the points you raised. Very relevant indeed. I would like to particularly pick up on the point you perfectly elaborated; the grave risk encountered by women in rural areas; particularly as a result of the lack of  access to health care. This brings me to the global discussion around the basic human rights during crises. In his recent report titled "COVID-19 and Human Rights: We are all in this together" (attached);  the UN that SG highlighted the three human rights that should be at the frontline in the fight against COVID19; access to health care was on top of the list; together with the duty to protect life and the freedom of movement. Indeed, the historic underinvestment in health systems  has weakened the ability to respond to this pandemic as well as provide other essential health services. So as you mentioned, It is high time to revisit the old approaches for crises response and recovery. The example of the teacher who toured across the villages with a microphone to raise  women awareness is very inspiring. Sometimes, all what we need are simple and traditional means of outreach. In this global consultation, we are interested in where women’s leadership has made a difference and why and what lessons we can draw from post-conflict economic recovery to help ensure a more inclusive response. While there is an agreement  that female leadership is a key issue, Voices from women in the frontline, grassroots movements, and in rural areas,..etc. should be emphasized and replicated as good practices that are worth replicating elsewhere.
 

Ameena Al Rasheed

Dearest Nesreen, what you have mentioned is certainly important, and it’s essential that we mark the role played by women and their relentlessness in advancing their agenda, There are many inspiring stories that need to be shared, what women in conflict zones and countries did, in order to be part of the peace processes in their countries? Colombian women and the sub commission they established, they continue to lobby, held meetings, forums, been present throughout the process, despite the fact that they were not given space in the peace process, they were resilient and stubborn fighters for women’s rights, towards the end they managed to contribute in the production of one of the best gender sensitive peace agreement.  Women in Guatemala did the same, never gave up despite the obstacles, women in Sudan after the revolution kept and still keeping pushing for better representation in the civilian government, and they already packed the Chief Justice seat and the minister of sport seat, the foreign minister seat, two seats in the supreme council, seat in the finance, and other top position, their struggle continue. What women should call for is accountability at all levels, they should held governments accountable in implementing and abiding by the SCR 1325, the UN accountable, all institutions and organisations guarding human rights, equality and inclusiveness accountable. 
As for COVID19 it’s clear that we are not all in this together, women, vulnerable groups, working class are all disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, thus a lot need to be done to tackle issues of exclusion, discrimination and vulnerabilities.  

Tamah Shamangende

Well said Ameena.. let as all women fight for what is right and let as all join hands together to conquer this pandemic and against every violention because women suffers the most.

swedi bilombele
Dear Responsible, Greetings, Please, with regard for your request invite to give a comment on How we can we ensure women are engaged in decision-making in the response to COVID-19 see below a comment with regard of our discussion. The leaders at local and national level of civil society organizations have intensified their prevention efforts and mobilized an alliance for COVID-19 in order to raise awareness among the general public through the media and social networks, the mobile phone and the link. Prevention programs have been strengthened in the education of local communities by providing prevention services, in order to increase the preventive barrier measures of the mother-to-child transmission pandemic to keep people alive. A number of sessions have been developed virtually by different partners accredited by women members of associations in the country. In order to demonstrate the differentiations which are linked to the effects of Covid-19 on women, who provide most informal care within families, with the consequence of limiting their work and their economic opportunities, travel restrictions cause difficulties financial and uncertainty for most women. Women were less likely than men to have power in decision-making about the epidemic, and their needs were largely unmet. Given their front-line interaction with communities. Although women should not be further burdened, especially given that much of their work during health crises is underpaid or unpaid, integrating women's voices and knowledge could empower and improve preparedness and response to outbreaks. The local women have engaged on a discussion at the media, on how to promote healthy live and combating COVID-19; the discussion was centered with representatives of civil society (CSO) organizations ways in which they have been focusing on the issue of covid-19. Overall, speakers shared best practices and they have related to the relevant in the impact to which covid-19 has affected their life in the country. The women’s NGOs representatives expressed concerns about the lack of cross generational discussion about covid-19 in many areas in the country between parent and their children need to be educated about covid-19 risks the discussion centered on highlighting lessons learned, remaining challenges and strategies to meet earlier commitments and noted that many program or plans of action are difficile actually to be implement for lack of resources. Most autochthonous women are suffered from social and economic crisis living in extremely poverty is very pervasive. It is lack of income due of COVID-19 leads to so many children not going to school, so many so being malnourished. It is the impact caused by corona crisis due of confinement measures , increased poverty that is at the heart of issues that are confronting society and most with regard for women poor marginalized. The situation has worsened considerably. Although in some parts in the region things have improved. Women are the main victims of covid-19 impact causing the poverty and huge rates malnutrition. She concluded in inviting The civil society to play a role in persuading governments that is an enormously important role that civil society play , in putting moral pressure. We are looking forward to hearing from you With Best regards M. Crispin
Rola al Masri Moderator

Dear M. Crispin, Thank you so much for your input and for sharing your observations and experience. It is very important to learn about examples and experiences of women front-liners and active civil society organizations to respond to the pandemic outbreak, through harnessing all possible mediums to maximize the outreach. Sharing examples of women's voices, and views on the disproportional impact of COVID-19 and the intersectional aspects on health, food-safety and the informal economy is as important. Could it be possible to shed more light on the last part of your intervention, as to how the civil society organizations could still hold the government accountable or to exert 'moral pressure' as you put it? Thank you so much! 

Oumayma Raimi

Dear all,

I am grateful to meet all of you and participate to this forum by reading and learning from your perspectives and maybe sharing also one or two points on my end. The response to the COVID-19 is an opportunity to recall the essential contribution of women at all levels of the economic and social life of Morocco, not only as front-line workers but also health professionals, community volunteers, scientists and doctors. From reading your insights, it does appear that all over the world, women play a disproportionate role in the response to the disease, especially as health workers and caregivers at home and in communities. In Morocco, women represent 57% of medical staff, 66% of paramedical staff and 64% of civil servants in the social sector. We also know that when health systems are overstrained, the burden of home care falls largely on women, who spend on average seven times more time on domestic work than men according to Morocco office of High Commissioner of Plan (HCP), 2014. The learning we have gathered so far shows that: 

  • Health : something as simple as ordering equipment can have a gender aspect to it, more often than not, protective equipment orders and sizes do not reflect the proportion of women in the sector. Not only women are more exposed in the frontline but they also have specific needs that are not always met, among them equipment, psychological safety and working environment condition; they also need more access to information about risks and services available, specifically young women in the country side, for example we have heard that a significant number of women did not attend their pregnancy or postnatal checking appointments during the current COVID crisis;
  • Social protection: On one hand, in the conception of support programmes there might not be enough women in the consultation phases. On the other hand there is a need for quick money transfer notably for women working in the informal sector, a lot of efforts are made to meet these needs already. Eventually, basic services for victims of gender based violence are not always functioning during confinement so we are trying to think of other innovative tools to make sure women and girls are safe at home too and will welcome recommendations;
  • Economic activity: Small enterprises, SMEs, Startups, cooperatives, lead by women need support through capacity building and access to market. The points shared by other participants to this forum about the Money transfer are very interesting and in Morocco we are trying to  take into account the restriction in mobility during crisis even higher for women;
  • Macroeconomy: in the conception of national recovery strategies there are not enough women in the consultation phases to promote gender equality in the budgetary, amortization and recovery measures which will probably have an impact on the decisions being made;
  • Community resilience: in Morocco women have a linking role in their community therefore, constructive social and community dialogue should be reinforced and include women voices in the search for a social and economic response to the crisis. We already saw great example of women in healthy sector, local authorities, social workers and NGO members trying to foster solidarities and compliance with rules.

Thank you again for the opportunity to participate in this forum and I am looking forward to reading more of your thoughts, 

Best, 

Oumayma

Rola al Masri Moderator

Hello Oumayma, nice e-meeting you! 

Thank you for this very structured input, and for sharing key lessons learned with all of us!  

Would be really helpful to hear your insights as to what could be some of the root causes in the Moroccan context, that would make women disproportionately impacted, left out of consultations and sidelined in inclusive response and recovery? 

Thank you!!   

Nesreen K. El Molla Moderator

Dearest Colleagues, 

I would like to extend my appreciation to all the contributions shared over the past week as we prepare to review and celebrate twenty years since the historic UN SC 1325 resolution. Participants continued the vibrant discussions that have started over the last few weeks as the world tries to get back on its feet and "build back better” in a post COVID world. We’ve seen rich experiences and lessons learnt from several contexts (Pakistan, Liberia, USA, Jordan, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and MENA region); particularly  from women civil society and grassroots organizations. Contributions were mainly framed around the empowerment of women and their equal participation in post crisis recovery on the path to stability, sustainability, peacebuilding, and development. The key issues emphasized during the week can be summarized as follows:

  • The vulnerability of women working in the informal Sector: especially with most female domestic workers being migrant women who have no insurance coverage, no access to medical services, and some cannot access masks to protect themselves from infection. The example from the Pakistani context was highlighted here.  Discussions highlighted that the health of women domestic workers is equal to the health of their employer because COVID–19 does not discriminate. From a rights' perspective, activists  are calling for women domestic workers to have access to a domestic labor platform to educate them about their rights during the COVID-19 crisis, and provide resources and information on how to protect themselves and their families along with information on how to access treatment .
  • The prevalent Patriarchal and socio-cultural norms and how these continue to impact women’s role in post-conflict economic decision-making. Participants also highlighted that advocacy campaigns may continue to reinforce existing inequalities and leaving " silent women" behind. In many countries of Africa such as in the Liberian context, Women and girls often start from the place of gross disadvantages, because of the long-standing local traditions and cultural norms that reinforces inequality. 
  • Intersectionality in addressing crises response and recovery; and how the intersection of different aspects (such as gender, race, class etc.) often result in exacerbating vulnerability of women. It also affects their different needs as well as their different levels of access to resources, status, and power in their communities. The discussion highlighted Black and Latinx women as well as transgender persons  as examples of the most affected groups in these circumstances
  • Access to SRHR services has been also discussed; particularly when it is coupled with elements of intersectionality. Some feminist movements have highlighted the need to rethink " Sectoral or issue-based approaches" – such as women organizing on women’s reproductive rights etc. –Very often,  in these approaches, groups choose to focus on capacity development, policy and advocacy related strategies and would not make the connection to the root causes – thereby addressing the symptoms rather than the real issues ( particularly the issue of access).
  • Technology Vis a vis traditional outreach and awareness raising methods; with several participants highlighting that technology can act as an enabler but can sometimes reinforce the digital divide.  Some local initiatives that use the traditional outreach methods were highlighted in that context to ensure no one is left behind. ( Ex: Using traditional radio messages in Yemen to raise awareness about gender issues during the COVID-19 ; as well as experiences from Sudan with women who toured across the villages with a microphone to raise  women awareness) . On the other hand, there have been recommendations for governments to forge partnership with the private sector to make teleconferencing platforms affordable, accessible, relevant, and culturally-sensitive --including easy, simultaneous interpretation
  • The role of women Peace builders during Crises response and recovery in conflict areas as women in conflict areas are the ones who pay the highest price during conflict and are the most at risk of suffering “devastating losses” from the disease.  The Libyan context was provided as an example here. As states recover from COVID-19, the crisis response and recovery plans need to have a strong peacebuilding component. It also calls for women peacebuilders to be at the forefront of emergency response and recovery.  The UN SG call for silencing guns and Ceasing fire in times of COVID was also emphasized. Discussions showed that post-conflict recovery process offers an opportunity to start afresh – to design governance structures and gender sensitive policies for the benefit of women and girls.
  • The role of local Feminist networks and regional movement building initiatives was highlighted as an effective way to maximize and coordinate efforts in providing services for women who are affected by the pandemic. The outbreak of the pandemic showed that local responses rooted in and implemented by communities were the fastest, most trusted, and most effective in stemming the progression of the disease. The Arab Region CSOs network provided a good and practical example for regional movement building in crises response and recovery.  The National Domestic Workers Alliance in the U.S and the National Alliance to activate Resolution 1325 in Jordan are also good examples in joining forces, exchanging experience, and creating effective modalities for civic engagament
  •  The use of knowledge and evidence-based data generated and shared by local and regional networks can act as a mean for engendering early warning systems and designing effective gender sensitive responses. It also allows local CSOs to be more equipped with the knowledge and tools that enable these organizations to hold governments accountable.
  • Engaging men as allies was highlighted by several participants: including through challenging notions of masculinity and traditional perceptions of manhood. Global  Initiatives such as “HeForShe”  , regional programmes such the “ Men and Women for Gender Equality Programme” as well as national networks such as the “ Men Empowerment Network “ in Liberia provided good practices in that context by working with men to  be engaged as gender advocates – speaking out as active agents and stakeholders who can transform social norms, behaviors and gender stereotypes that perpetuate discrimination and inequality.

Contributions were also evidence based and supported by several resources hyperlinked or attached under the relevant comment with examples from different contexts.

Many thanks again for all the contributions received this week and I look forward to following this lively and informative discussion in the coming weeks!

Nesreen K. El Molla

Shirine Jurdi

Hello Nesreen 

Thank you so much for the invitation. This is an excellent platform to exchange ideas and share experiences across different spectrums.  I am Shirine Jurdi a peacebuilder who believes in team work and acts accordingly. I work at the Permanent Peace Movement (PPM) and I am the MENA regional Liaison office at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed conflict (GPPAC).  I volunteer for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Lebanon section since 1994 and I am the elected member at WILPF International board representing the MENA region (2019-2021). I also take active part in international Campaigns like Control Arms, and the Stop Killer Robots Campaign. I try to work holistically along the peace and security agendas along the networks that I belong and help in knowledge dissemination and production as well as coordinating with partners and colleagues along the local, region and global levels.

Our topic is how can we ensure that women are engaged in decision making in the response to COVID19? Let me first start to reflect on how/ and if Corona redefined / was able to redefine the power structures, decision making apparatus, needs and wants of people. How did it put new definitions of the essential and non-essential at the heart of discussions/ engendering the debate? Did it bring those who are entitled with the new definition to participate in decision making spaces?  Or is it that they are able to participate in newly created decision making spaces that will disappear as necessities of the redefinition gives way to the old criteria?  

What we know and are sure of is that Coronavirus came as a crisis not only in MENA but in the whole world. At this point, it’s of greatest importance to refer to WILPF and how it started as a peace movement during the crises, a world crisis, World War One, and to see the impact this movement had and is still having along enhancing the role of women in decisions making levels. Likewise, in the work we do, we concentrate on crisis as a window of opportunity; where we try through conflict resolution, conflict management and nonviolence means to bring in positive and meaningful change. There are lots of projects, studies, advocacy and policy papers to enhance the role of women in MENA in peace processes, decision making levels at the governmental and legislative levels. Yet, at many times we see that a very small percentage of women make it up to these formal political levels. 

Let us first look at women’s position in major new spaces prior and during COVID19.  we have witnessed women’s protests and ‘revolutions’ in the Arab World. Many of these women became icon like Alaa Salah and Eiman Yousif Hassan Madani (the latter is a GPPAC MENA partner) both from Sudan or Malak Alaywe Herz who kicked off the Lebanese revolution ‘The Revolution is a Women’ in other spaces. So where are these women? What role did they play during COVID19? What are their needs and wants as per Maxine Molyneux work. Is there a continuity and sustainability in the activism that women do?  All of these questions need to be taken into consideration in ensuring women are at decision making positions.

My work with GPPAC has many dimensions. As all international networks were rescheduling their priorities in post COVID19, our 2020 MENA plan didn’t change much. As Corona was taking over countries we were able to work on prevention, peacebuilding and human security in 16 countries are and should be happening.  Our emphasis on peacebuilding in its many components;  Early Warning Early Response, Human security, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and gender and youth is mostly what we have been doing in 2020. We were successful in submitting a MENA perspective for the Peacebuilding Architecture Review https://gppac.net/resources/no-sustainable-peace-without-us-local-perspectives-peacebuilding-middle-east-and-north. We raised many issues that lie at the heart of the inability to reach a positive sustaining peace in MENA and offered our best practices and lessons learned. I just hope that our document ‘NO Peace without Us’ will help the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterrres, and the PBS in their review. Not only that, we were able to being forth local action plans for EWER indicators along the R2P.

Why am I giving all these examples? Well, these examples will set a model on the knowledge sharing and capacity building of major issues that can help women have role play and understand exactly how the UN functions, how we need to address the UN what are the major political concepts that we need to utilize in our path and venues to reach the top decision making levels in a very organic forms and ways.

Having said this, I will start with stories from our partners and members; then move to major recommendations that will ensure women ensure that women are engaged in decision making in the response to COVID19, and end with a personal reflection.

GPPAC members experience and recommendations

I will give examples that I have received from some of our partners in MENA in the GPPAC family hoping that they will offer local perspective on the topic under discussion. To be able to sum up and synthesis their responses, I can definitely say they are in a better position to negotiation a ‘newly power balance’ along SDG 1 and 2 which seem to be redefining peacebuilding lately in conflict areas and in MENA.

Syria: in the absence of a governmental approach to COVID19 and in response to the state’s denial, civil society had to take the lead. Work moved from the macro decision making level to the micro/local level. Providing and supporting families with ‘food baskets’ helped women to be in a position where they head families and head the distribution process.  Women were integral part of the humanitarian committees challenging scarcity of food, providing sanitizers, raising awareness about the danger of COVID19.  Women were there at the frontlines, their positions were not questioned. As a matter of fact their presence and participation seemed vital. So what is needed is to build on this ‘positive reputation’ and come up with an updated plan that puts those women at the heart of future aid or to be those who will report the impact of COVID19.

Palestinian refugee in Lebanon: The Lebanese government at the beginning didn’t include refugees in the COVID19 response. Palestinian refugees worked mainly of 3 issues which lies at the core of decision making of the essentials during COVID19; namely, distance learning psychological support via WhatsApp, and health sectors. Due to the inability of social distancing and lack of money to buy sanitizers, Women took leading positions in local committees. Local rescue committees, health committees, nurses, and teachers had women to disseminate information about COVID19, raise awareness about the necessity to wear masks. For that women also made masks and distributed sanitizers. WhatsApp groups were created to work on the psychological support especially of those who were addressed with violence.  TO ensure that women we need to make sure in a survey or through media exposure the role that women played to escape the camps a disaster, and we need to put these women in contact with the UN agencies and the Lebanese government on how to make the camps a better/safer spaces in pandemic and post pandemic.  Shadow committees can help local governments. Given the fact that women play a crucial role in majalis (local committees)  since they know better what are women needs.

Iraq: the awareness campaign that women played and their ability to keep their families at home during lockdown was the major challenge that women faced during COVID19 and this seems to be at the heart of decision making at the household level. At times of COVID19 lockdown this is an indicator of power relations that we need to look at and build on (though we are reinforcing her traditional role but maybe here we can have it participatory in including and allocating family members .. different roles) Ypeer made mask and distributed among people, They had also online awareness sessions.

Major Recommendations and personal reflections

Gender balance economic life and in the public and private sectors, will help MENA shape more efficient policies; develop a gender sensitive knowledge-based communities, acknowledging the presence and meaningful and active participation of women in decision-making, in politics. When we value, with money the work of women and create a stronger and more prosperous democracy then we can put women at better place. As long as the work of women is unrecognized, then they will  this ‘inferiority stigma will be sustained’, However, we should highlight and address COVID19 impact as a non-discriminatory along gender lines where women acted a  ‘gatekeepers’ of humanitarian help. In other words, during COVID19 women’s roles whether as nurse, teachers which in our communities have the highest percentage became essential. Our work on SDGs for women at the grassroots is redefined with basic needs, survival, day to day living. This shifts the whole work from SDG5 and SDG16 and SDG16+ to more of SDG1 and SDG2 where women are at the heart of decision making.   

Recognizing the Arab culture before we talk about ensuring women’s decision making is a must. That is why we need to start on holistic approaches where we have both men and women in the room, men and women receiving information and knowledge. We have to stop this ‘women’s empowering’ and its entire negative connotation that it entails women as incapable of being in decision making levels.  

What is needed:

  • To map these women within professional Expertise pool.
  • Bring linkages along governmental committees, local committees, UN agencies with media at the heart.
  • Women frontline workers (nurses or doctors) should be engaged in the decision making processes during and after the government response to COVID19.
  • The humanitarian response to COVID19 should be gendered where women should be part of the decision making processes in all humanitarian action (planning, executing, monitoring) through engaging women’s groups, networks and grass roots organizations.
  • Women and girls affected by COVID19 should be part of the planning where not only their needs should be addressed but also they should be part of decision making process and developing the plan
  • During developing response to COVID19, it is important to ensure that women are part in all the organizational or administrative structure that have been developed for better and faster response, also it is important not only to include women in these structures but also make sure that all policies developed and intervention are gendered.

 

 

 

Oumayma Raimi

Dear Rola, 

Thank you for your response, I think that the root causes are common to many countries and this forum is the proof that these issue scalls for an integrated global response around the following points: 

  • The economic vulnerability of women is also aggravated by their over-representation among the unemployed population, interestingly enough this is particularly the case for the most educated women;
  • UN Women notes that about 50% of female employment is unpaid and 70% are in low or unskilled employment, compared to 50% of men.
  • Again like many other countries, the gender pay gap for equal positions is in favor of men, leading down the road to less inclusiveness in decision making; 
  • On the bright side, Morocco office of High Commissioner of Plan (HCP) is doing a lot of work to produce gender sensitive statistics and document the situation with a gender lens, which is the first step to more inclusive decision making. Indeed, the more data, the better and the sooner inclusive participation can be reached.
ALFARI

Expériences de l’ONG IDD- KOULOUDJI du Niger

 

Comment pouvons-nous nous assurer que les femmes participent aux prix de décisions en réponse à COVID-1

 

  • Engager les femmes dans le prix de décision économique et politique après un conflit; Leçons pour répondre à COVID-19

Les exclusions et les défis à la participation des femmes aux prises de décision ont été examinés au microscope avec l’avènement de la pandémie mondiale du COVID-19.

L'identification des rôles actifs des femmes dans la lutte contre la crise de Covid-19 et les enseignements tirés de ces expériences sont essentiels pour ouvrir la voie à une reprise inclusive et sensible du genre. Les enseignements tirés d'une reprise inclusive après un conflit réussi peuvent également fournir des clés pour améliorer les réponses socio-économiques et les transitions hors de la crise économique mondiale provoquée par la pandémie. Nous voulons savoir où le leadership des femmes a fait une différence et pourquoi et quelles leçons nous pouvons tirer de la reprise économique après un conflit pour garantir une réponse plus inclusive.

  1. Quels sont les exemples de groupes locaux de femmes participant directement à la réponse à Covid-19 ? Quelle différence cela a-t-il fait ?

Avec l’appui de UNFPA la fédération « Motchi Yahi Labéwa » qui regroupe 10 unions, 46 groupements et 1050 femmes s’est lancée dans une campagne de sensibilisation pour lutter contre de la propagation du covid-19. Il a été choisi 30 femmes adultes « marraines » et 20 relais communautaires filles de 15 à 25 ans qui font du porte à porte dans les ménages au niveau de 20 quartiers de la commune Niamey 4. Chacune d’elle doit toucher 5 ménages par jour pendant 30 jours. Habillées en blouse blanche avec un panier contenant des bavettes, un haut-parleur et des gels hydro-alcoolisés. Au niveau de chaque ménage en plus des sensibilisations, elles doivent distribuer aussi des bavettes en fonction de la taille du ménage. Cette sensibilisation a été efficace du fait de la proximité des femmes de la fédération par rapport à la population et a permis de toucher par femmes 7500 ménages et distribuer 15 000 bavettes.

  1. Un autre exemple sous financement de Plan International l’ONG dans la région de Tillabéry 50 filles âgées de moins de 18 ans ont reçu une formation professionnelle (couture, tricotage etc.) et ont cousus 15000 bavettes qui ont été distribuées dans les villages, aux autorités régionales et communales. Elles font également la sensibilisation tout en expliquant les gestes de barrière à leur camarade et parents.
  2. Toujours par rapport aux exemples de groupes locaux de femmes qui ont participé directement à la réponse de la Covid-19, il faut notifier qu’avec l’appui de Eirene International au Sahel et en collaboration avec l’ONG Initiative pour un développement durable partenaire de mise en œuvre opérationnelle dont je suis la directrice de programme un certain nombre de mesures administratives ont été prises pour assurer la sécurité des agents et des groupes-cibles. Il consiste à préparer et à lancer une Campagne « STOP COVID 19 » dans les régions du sahel notamment Niger et Burkina Faso en général et en particulier, dans les communes de Mokko, Loga et Dori (malgré l’insécurité de la zone). C’est ainsi que des filles ont été identifiées en raison de 5 par villages dans 26 villages soit un total de 130 filles relais communautaires à qui des cartes mémoires (8 Giga) ont été données. Ces cartes contiennent des messages de sensibilisation, des mesures d’hygiène et gestes de barrières. Ces filles se partagent les informations entre elles grâce à la création d’un groupe WhatsApp entre elles, répandent des messages sur la COVID-19 au niveau de leurs pairs, au sein des ménages et des communautés avec des affiches qui leur ont été également fournis,  
  1. À l'échelle mondiale, les femmes représentent plus de 70% des travailleurs de la santé ; qu'est-ce qui a été fait pour soutenir ces travailleurs critiques ? 

La pandémie de la COVID-19 a mis en lumière le rôle important des soignants en particuliers celles des femmes qui occupent une grande partie des effectifs. Cette prise de conscience, même si elle est peu tardive est importante, puisqu’elle met en lumière le rôle essentiel de la femme dans la santé.

Plusieurs chaines de solidarité/synergie se sont formées dans la population pour leur permettre de faire mieux leur travail « sauvé des vies » en gardant leurs enfants, en leur mettant à disposition des appartements/hôtel, paniers repas et ce à titre gracieux. Certains gouvernements se sont aussi penchés sur la question de la revalorisation de leur salaire ce qui est très important aussi.

  1. Quelles leçons pouvons-nous tirer de la manière dont la participation des femmes au relèvement après un conflit a changé les économies locales pour aider à formuler les réponses économiques futures ?

La crise de la covid-19 a aussi mis en lumière la prise d’initiative et la créativité des femmes qui ont diversifié leurs activités économiques habituelles. Elles se sont notamment tourner vers la fabrication et la vente des masques et savon pour contribuer à endiguer l’épidémie tout en générant un peu de revenu.  Ce qui montre leur capacité impressionnante de s’adapter. Il convient donc que l’état et les partenaires sociaux accompagnent ces femmes dans la réalisation des projets qu’elles portent afin qu’elles acquièrent une certaine autonomie financière, ce qui indirectement contribuera à l’amélioration de l’économie du pays de façon générale.

Il est évident que la participation des femmes doit être renforcée car elle fait la différence en ce sens qu’elle permet d’améliorer les conditions de vie de la frange de la plus vulnérables de la population. Les femmes doivent être consultées pour une réponse plus efficace et un impact plus significatif pour elles.

La prévention et la gestion pacifique des conflits passent incontestablement par l’utilisation de l’approche inter communautaire de gestion non - violente des conflits. A cet effet, les mesures suivantes sont souhaitées :

· une forte implication des autorités traditionnelles dans la résolution des conflits communautaires et dans la promotion de la paix,

· le recours des leaders communautaires au dialogue, à la concertation pour résoudre les conflits communautaires,

· une meilleure implication des responsables administratifs dans la gestion des conflits communautaires,

· la contribution significative des élus locaux et des femmes dans la prévention et gestion des conflits ainsi que dans la lutte contre l’insécurité au sein des localités etc.

  1. Quelles leçons pouvons-nous tirer de la consolidation de la paix locale pour garantir une réponse inclusive à Covid-19 ?

La paix est une condition nécessaire à toute action de développement. Pour combattre la COVID-19, il faudra la participation active de toutes les populations surtout les femmes qui sont plus à la maison, proche des enfants. Ce sont elles qui prennent soin des malades et des personnes âgées. C’est pourquoi, il faudrait renforcer le rôle des communautés, des acteurs de la société civile et particulièrement des femmes dans un processus endogène de réconciliation. Par exemple, des initiatives des animatrices des radios locales dans l’élaboration et la diffusion des messages radiophoniques, l’organisation de débats radiophoniques sur la promotion de la paix et de la résolution paisible des conflits sont recommandées.

  1. Une concentration mondiale sur la vulnérabilité des travailleurs du secteur informel, en particulier des femmes, pourrait-elle contribuer à améliorer leur situation ? Quels processus décisionnels pourraient faire la différence ?

Il est plus que nécessaire que les états viennent en aide aux travailleurs du secteur informel notamment en Afrique car ce secteur est un point important de l'économie. Il faut surtout que tous les moyens soient mis en place pour les protéger.  C’est seulement en faisant cela que le processus va aboutir au mieux.

Pour ce faire ? chaque pays pourrait mettre en place un fond qui permettrait au personne exerçant un métier dit informel de régulariser leur situation professionnelle. Il faudrait également les accompagner dans tout le processus de régularisation.

  1. Comment la technologie peut-elle aider ? Que peut-on apprendre de l'utilisation des paiements électroniques pour atteindre les plus vulnérables ?

Pendant l’épidémie de la Covid-19 où la distanciation sociale est de rigueur, la technologie permet de garder le lien dans une certaine mesure avec ses proches, mais permet également de pouvoir faire certaine transaction. Aujourd’hui, presque tous les foyers ont un téléphone portable en Afrique, le moyen de paiement comme orange ou airtel money ou autres peuvent être des moyens d’atteindre tout le monde à distance puisqu’ils n’ont pas besoin d’internet pour l’utilisation de ces services.

  1. Les premières enquêtes suggèrent que le fardeau des soins non rémunérés pour les femmes a augmenté à l'échelle mondiale et à travers les divisions socio-économiques en réponse à la pandémie. Existe-t-il des bonnes pratiques qui démontrent une réponse plus égalitaire ?

Les femmes ont en charge des soins aux malades mais aussi des charges/tâches de reproduction. Au niveau des structures de jeunes, l’on note que les garçons contribuent à l’implémentation des Tipy Tap ; la sensibilisation, la diffusion des messages de prévention à travers les réseaux sociaux et les radios communautaires en autres.

Il y a également le renforcement des connaissances dans les domaines de citoyenneté, plaidoyer et droits en mettant l’accent sur la responsabilité des détenteurs des droits et la redevabilité des porteurs d’obligation et les hommes modèles pour promouvoir un environnement socio culturel et politique favorable à l’égalité et l’équité de genre.

Par ailleurs l’ONG IDD-Kouloudji a une expérience considérable en matière d’accompagnement des femmes dans la planification et l’exécution des politiques locales pour l’amélioration du bien-être des femmes au Niger. C’est le cas notamment de l’approche « challenge fund», où il faut travailler avec les porteurs d’obligation pour promouvoir un environnement socio culturel et politique favorable à l’égalité et l’équité de genre. Les femmes élues ainsi que les plates-formes genre sont encouragées à influencer les plans de développements communaux ainsi que la promotion de l’égalité de genre dans les partis politiques. C’est ainsi qu’un prix « challenge fund » est lancé chaque année afin d’influencer par ces pratiques positives d’autres communes au-delà des zones d’intervention mais également à mobiliser d’autres partenaires pour soutenir l’égalité de genre et la promotion des droits humains dans les communes.

Les conseils régionaux, l’Association des Municipalités du Niger, le Réseau des Femmes Elues Locales du Niger (REFELON), les réseaux des groupements, les Ministères techniques (décentralisation, promotion de la femme) constitueront le jury pour le prix « challenge fund  » où des critères d’évaluations sont élaboré.  Une capitalisation permet de tirer les leçons et réviser au besoin les outils de prise en compte de l’égalité de genre et des droits humains en général. Ces fonds de défis pourraient aussi prendre en compte les OSC actives qui donnent la preuve d’initiatives novatrices de transformation sociale autour des problématiques majeures comme l’éducation, la lutte contre les violences faites aux femmes et aux filles.

Rola al Masri Moderator

Dear ALFARI,

Allow me please to answer in English. 

Thank you so much for sharing these stories of community-led and women -led initiatives in response to COVID-19. You briefly highlighted some of the reasons  why these initiatives have worked, ( inreased ties with the communities, and  harnessing technological tools for coordination (i.e. WhatsApp groups). Could you think of other reasons as to why these initiatives worked effectively and efficiently that we can further learn from?  

Thank you! 

Nisha Ghosh

Nisha Ghosh

Assistant Programme Director

Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland

 

I write on behalf of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) one of the Federations of Soroptimist International (SI). This women’s organization present in 115 countries and, is accredited by the UN and SIGBI has a Special Status with ECOSOC. This enables Soroptimists to use their voice at different UN fora especially at the annual Commission for the Status of Women. The Soroptimist UN Representatives use their presence effectively at UN Centres.

The mandate SIGBI has from ECOSOC, is to work with women and girls as our focus area. Thus, our mission and vision are to transform the lives of women and girls as we align our work to the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.

SIGBI is spread to 20 countries in the UK, Asia, Malta and the Caribbean. This reflects a diversity of countries, races and cultures, as well as a range of communities from urban, semi urban to rural. Membership therefore reflects the diversity, as well as diversity of women.  As volunteers, our members work with their communities, support, them and advocate for them.

The current pandemic has hit the communities hard, mitigating the progress Soroptimists have made in the social and economic spheres. Women centric matters have it seems, been put on the back burner or even removed off the table. This is so in low income strata groups and vulnerable women and girls. Post the initial shock of COVID-19 and the isolation via the lockdown, communities are beginning to grapple with the new normal. For poor communities it is a matter of keeping their head above the water, larger issues of sustainable economic empowerment and a role in decision making seem distant at the present times. The short-term relief will help till individual government’s aid have long-term sustainable schemes in place.

Soroptimists have striven hard to address the immediate relief that communities need in different ways. In the UK Soroptmists, have collaborated to provide protective equipment and often to health carers and first-time responders. Scrub bags and several items to relieve the loneliness, tedium and anxiety of health care workers staying at hotels. In Madurai the Soroptimists provided medicines and sanitary wear to such essential frontline workers as police and sanitation staff. Soroptimists have also sent aid in kind to other countries as Sierra Leone, and Bangladesh.

Soroptimists in Pune India have a sanitary towel manufacturing unit which had to be closed due to lockdown. This deprived the women workers of their income and thus some of their sustenance. To tide over this situation the women were paid salaries throughout the lockdown. As the manufacturing has resumed sanitary napkin demand is being met.

Some of the worst hit communities are the migrant workers. Venezuelan migrants facing job losses in the Caribbean are being helped by San Fernando Soroptimists with food and essential items.  The Government of India has scheduled special trains to carry thousands of workers in different directions. Food, sanitary needs and often clothing is being given to the hapless travellers- who face an uncertain future. The new scenario is reverse migration which is enabling returnees to organize employment in their native places.

India alone has 6 million migrant workers who face job losses, and being far removed from their native places have found it challenging to return home. Migrant workers belong to the informal sector and lack, social security and job security. Schemes such as the Recognition of Prior Learning certificates has helped in skilling workers. And steps to ensure the minimum Wage Act are on-going. Informal sector women workers connected with the carpet weaving, or artisans with embroidery skills are being helped to re-image their work and channel it through cooperatives rather than middle men. Self Employed Women’s Association(SEWA) is one of the largest small-scale industries to employ women, who have been working from home since SEWA’s formation in 1972.

Using novel ways to beat back dire economic situations, Soroptimists have held an online cookery contest in Mumbai, Kilt walks-in Scotland, played flutes, dance competitions all virtually to raise funds, and divert them to agencies working on relief work at grassroots.

Monetary relief to retired persons, the vulnerable and unemployed is being handed out by governments in the Federation to meet the crisis such as essential grains and cooking fuel.

Women are the mainstays of the health and social care, retail, hospitality, fashion and beauty related industries. This is not taking into account the agricultural and semi- agricultural and other informal sectors where women are employed. With most of these industries impacted during the pandemic job losses for women are huge.

Soroptimists in their volunteering role reach out to women in such situations and are their voice at different fora. They advocate for women’s equal opportunities for employment and advancement helping women and girls be the best they can be in all circumstances.

Rola al Masri Moderator

Dear Nisha,

Thank you for sharing such an in-depth analysis of the intersectional implications of the COVID-19 on disadvantaged communities. The way SIGBI has responded (in an effective, and timely manner, while addressing the root causes) gives hope, especially with being mindful about the shift in needs due to an emergency situation. 

I found the accounts you shared on women migrant domestic workers, and the women in the informal economy very important; could you please share further insights as to what factors have contributed to making SIGBI's response timely, efficient, especially in socio-economic empowerment? Could you share stories of success with us?  Thank you! 

Nisha Ghosh

Thank you Rola for your feed back. I will definitely send you more details of the projects with the migrant womenboth in the Caribbean and India.

swedi bilombele
Dear Responsible, Greetings Please, with regard to your reply received recently inviting me to shed light on the last part of my speech, on how civil society organizations could still hold government accountable or exert "moral pressure" as I have said. See below: The civil society plays a very important role in persuading the government that it serves as a guardian as responsible. Whenever the government makes big promises but does not keep them, civil society is there to say "you are not doing enough", which is an extremely important role that society plays - putting pressure on morale. Civil society is the one which exerts pressure, leading to the evaluation, in the implementation of the execution of the program and project financed in favor of the population and to the initial ratification, of the denunciation of cases of abuse, which has brought significant change for political leaders or policy makers in the interest of the people. Civil society make lobbies for advocacy within the government through political decision-makers and parliament in order to take full advantage of these skills for the improvement of the living conditions of people, disadvantaged extremely poor and hungry who are also the most deprived, oppressed and marginalized to ensure their health of the entire human population so that decision makers can recognize the social role of the population, and efforts to tackle the social determinant and strengthen public management in the framework for promoting full access to social protection with regard to the most vulnerable populations in society. Including, where appropriate, action plans to promote risk pooling and the improvement of basic social protection, and employment opportunities and strategies which must guarantee accessibility to health, education and services to support development. Stronger interaction with civil society would help policy makers and the government to identify ways to turn political solutions into concrete action. Civil society exerts “moral pressure” and raises awareness at the national and local levels to facilitate the voice of vulnerable communities and contribute to the achievement of the MDGs. Hoping to hear some news from you Cordially Mr. Crispin
Ayad Babaa

هنا بعض التعليقات من رمزى محمد صالح الشيبانى

sostw13@gmail.com

ليبيا

ما هي الأمثلة على وجود مجموعات نسائية محلية تشارك بشكل مباشر في الاستجابة لـ Covid-19؟ ما الفرق الذي أحدثه ذلك؟

منظمات المجتمع المدنى والصحة

 

على الصعيد العالمي تشكل النساء أكثر من 70٪ من العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية ؛ ما الذي تم فعله لدعم هؤلاء العمال المهمين؟

توعيتهم بإنتشار الفيروس

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من الكيفية التي غيرت بها مشاركة المرأة في التعافي بعد الصراع الاقتصادات المحلية للمساعدة في صياغة الاستجابات الاقتصادية المستقبلية؟

لا يمكن إقصاء المرأة فى المجتمع

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من بناء السلام المحلي للمساعدة في ضمان استجابة شاملة لـ Covid 19؟

ضرورة تكاثف الجهود لتوعية المواطن والمصالحة الوطنية

 

هل يمكن للتركيز العالمي على ضعف العاملين في القطاع غير الرسمي ، وخاصة النساء ، أن يساعد في تحسين وضعهم؟ ما هي عمليات صنع القرار التي قد تحدث فرقا؟

محاولة توظيفم فى مصالح حكومية أو دعمهم لفتح مشاريع صغرى

 

كيف يمكن للتكنولوجيا أن تساعد؟ ما الذي يمكن تعلمه من استخدام المدفوعات الإلكترونية للوصول إلى الفئات الأكثر ضعفًا؟

عن طريق المنظمات بإجراء بحث إجتماعى

 

تشير الدراسات الاستقصائية الأولية إلى أن عبء الرعاية غير مدفوع الأجر للمرأة قد ازداد على الصعيد العالمي وعبر الفجوات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية في ظل الاستجابة للوباء. هل هناك ممارسات جيدة تظهر استجابة أكثر مساواة؟

إحترامها مشاركتها للرأى

 

 

Ayad Babaa

هنا بعض التعليقات من

خلود حبيب - المنظمة الليبية للنشاط الإجتماعي والثقافي والتنمية

Khulood.mohamed.habib90@gmail.com

ليبيا

 

ما هي الأمثلة على وجود مجموعات نسائية محلية تشارك بشكل مباشر في الاستجابة لـ Covid-19؟ ما الفرق الذي أحدثه ذلك؟

مجموعة من النساء مشاركات بحملات توعيه بخطورة فايروس كورونا ، قيام الدكتورات داخل نطاق البلديات بمحاضرات توعية . قيادة المرأه للجنة مكافحة كورونا داخل نطاق البلدية والمشاركه من بعض النساء بتقديم مقترحات لمكافحة كورونا

 

على الصعيد العالمي تشكل النساء أكثر من 70٪ من العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية ؛ ما الذي تم فعله لدعم هؤلاء العمال المهمين؟

ادراجهم ضمن الإدارات والقيادات الخاصه بمجالات الصحه العامه

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من الكيفية التي غيرت بها مشاركة المرأة في التعافي بعد الصراع الاقتصادات المحلية للمساعدة في صياغة الاستجابات الاقتصادية المستقبلية؟

يمكن للمرأه تقديم المساعده وتقديم محاضرات وبرامج توعيه هادفه وقليلة التكاليف ولها فائده مجتمعيه كبيره لجميع فئات المجتمع

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من بناء السلام المحلي للمساعدة في ضمان استجابة شاملة لـ Covid 19؟

التوعيه بأهمية نبذ خطاب الكراهيه سواء ان كان يخص المواضيع السياسيه او القبليه والعنصريه داخل المنطقه والتشجيع على التعاون والتحدث عن تأثير التعاون المفيد مستقبلاً

 

هل يمكن للتركيز العالمي على ضعف العاملين في القطاع غير الرسمي ، وخاصة النساء ، أن يساعد في تحسين وضعهم؟ ما هي عمليات صنع القرار التي قد تحدث فرقا؟

السعي على القيام بالبرامج التدريبيه في كافة مجالات الصحه الخاصه بالنساء وكذالك المجالات الاخرى للحصول على فرص عمل وايجاد حلول للحصول على الدخل الشهري للنساء الغير عاملات

 

كيف يمكن للتكنولوجيا أن تساعد؟ ما الذي يمكن تعلمه من استخدام المدفوعات الإلكترونية للوصول إلى الفئات الأكثر ضعفًا؟

عن طريق الإعلانات الاخبارية داخل منصات التواصل الاجتماعي والاستبيان الخاص بهذه البرامج

 

تشير الدراسات الاستقصائية الأولية إلى أن عبء الرعاية غير مدفوع الأجر للمرأة قد ازداد على الصعيد العالمي وعبر الفجوات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية في ظل الاستجابة للوباء. هل هناك ممارسات جيدة تظهر استجابة أكثر مساواة؟

الى الأن لا توجد استجابه اكثر مساواه

 

Ayad Babaa

هنا بعض التعليقات من

Rana Elosta - Lybotics Girls Team

Girls@Lybotics.com

ليبيا

 

ما هي الأمثلة على وجود مجموعات نسائية محلية تشارك بشكل مباشر في الاستجابة لـ Covid-19؟ ما الفرق الذي أحدثه ذلك؟

ساهم فريق LYBOTICS Girls المتكون من إناث فقط في وقاية وحماية الأطقم الطبية وذلك بصناعتهم لأكثر من 490 قطعة من أقنعة الوجه الكاملة بالإضافة لأكثر من 150 حامية للأذن بتقنية ثلاثية الأبعاد، وتم توزيعهم على مراكز إيواء مرضى كورونا ومستشفيات مختلفة في طرابلس. كما ساهم مشروع "زمني جديد" المتكون أيضا من نساء فقط في خياطة الزي الطبي الكامل، وخياطة الكمامات الطبية وتوزيعها بأعداد كبيرة على مراكز صحية مختلفة. ساهم مشروع SPAR بمشاركة طبيبة ورائدة أعمال ليبية في تدريب العديد من الأطباء والمتطوعين على طرق التوعية والوقاية من فيروس كورونا. كما ساعدت النساء من الكادر الطبي ممرضات وطبيبات بشكل مباشر في التحقق من التحاليل وأخذ العينات من المرضى في عدة مستشفيات والمركز الوطني لمكافحة الأمراض.

 

على الصعيد العالمي تشكل النساء أكثر من 70٪ من العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية ؛ ما الذي تم فعله لدعم هؤلاء العمال المهمين؟

الحاجة إلى وجود الجنسين في أي مجال بشكل متساوي يحفز العنصر المفقود في أي مجال من السعي للحصول على مكانه. أعتقد أنه وبوجود حملات تهدف للمساواة بين الجنسين في فرص العمل وسعي العديد من النساء لإثبات أنفسهن وقدراتهن في المجال الصحي بالذات أدى إلى تقبل وجودهم من قبل مجتمعاتهم، بالإضافة للإحتياج الزائد للنساء في هذا القطاع وخاصة الممرضات نظرًا لطبيعة المرأة وقدرتها على التعاطف بشكل أكبر ساعدها في الوصول وإثبات نفسها بل تفوقها على الجنس الآخر في هذا القطاع.

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من الكيفية التي غيرت بها مشاركة المرأة في التعافي بعد الصراع الاقتصادات المحلية للمساعدة في صياغة الاستجابات الاقتصادية المستقبلية؟

إذا كانت المرأة ساهمت بشكل ملحوظ جدًا وجوهري في الأزمات غير المتوقعة مثل أزمة Covid19 وأزمة الحرب واستمراراها في الإبداع والمساهمة وخاصة في مجال ريادة الأعمال وقدرتها على قيادة المشهد في أكثر من صورة، اذًا يمكننا تخيل مدى قدرتها على القيادة وصنع التغيير في حالة بعد الصراع. والدرس المستفاد هو إثبات قدرات المرأة دائنا هلى التميز والقيام بدور جوهري في الأزمات.

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من بناء السلام المحلي للمساعدة في ضمان استجابة شاملة لـ Covid 19؟

في السلام المحلي تتوفر الفرصة الأكبر للتركيز على حل المشاكل والتركيز على إدارة الأزمات بشكل احترافي أكثر، ولنا في هذا عدة أمثلة من الدول المستقرة والتي تحظى بسلا محلي في قدرتها على التعاون بين أقاليمها ووضع خطة كاملة شانلة للدولة ككل مما أدى إلى سيطرة على الأزمة.

 

هل يمكن للتركيز العالمي على ضعف العاملين في القطاع غير الرسمي ، وخاصة النساء ، أن يساعد في تحسين وضعهم؟ ما هي عمليات صنع القرار التي قد تحدث فرقا؟

بالتأكيد، توفير الفرص وتشجيع العاملين في القطاعات غير الرسمية لتسويق منتجاتهم وأعمالهم بين المجتمع يساهم في تحسين وضعهم. من القرارات التي قد تحدث فرقا هي إعطاء وتوفير الفرص والأماكن للنساء من العاملين في قطاعات غير رسمية للتحدث وإبداء آرائهم وتوصيل أصواتهم للتعبير عن ما هو أفضل لهم وإختيار الطرق الأنسب لمساعدتهم والنهوض بهم.

 

كيف يمكن للتكنولوجيا أن تساعد؟ ما الذي يمكن تعلمه من استخدام المدفوعات الإلكترونية للوصول إلى الفئات الأكثر ضعفًا؟

تساعد التكنولوجيا بشكل أساسي جدا في تطوير دور المرأة وإحالتها من مكان "الضعف" حيث أصبح الإنترنت هو الفرصة الأكبر للعديد في الحصول على تعليمهم وعملهم وإيصال صوت العديد منهم للتحدث عن أحوال و وضع الفئة التي لا تستطيع أن تستخدم التكنولوجيا بسبب سوء الأحوال في المنطقة، ويستطيع الأغلب حاليا بسبب التكنولوجيا العمل عن بعد وتلقّي رواتبهم عن طريق المدفوعات الإلكترونية المستخدمة من قبل المصارف وخدمات العملاء الحديثة.

 

تشير الدراسات الاستقصائية الأولية إلى أن عبء الرعاية غير مدفوع الأجر للمرأة قد ازداد على الصعيد العالمي وعبر الفجوات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية في ظل الاستجابة للوباء. هل هناك ممارسات جيدة تظهر استجابة أكثر مساواة؟

نعم، توجد ممارسات جيدة في هذا النسق، فنلاقي أجرًا مدفوعا متساويًا للجنسين وخاصة في هذه الفترة حيث ازدادت فرص العمل عبر الأنترنت مما ساعد في توفر الفرص للجنسين للعمل من منازلهم وتلفي رواتبهم بشكل متساوي طبقا للرعاية المقدمة.

 

 

 

Ayad Babaa

هنا بعض التعليقات من

حقوقيون بلا قيود

ليبيا

nsreen.amer@jwc.org.ly

 

ما هي الأمثلة على وجود مجموعات نسائية محلية تشارك بشكل مباشر في الاستجابة لـ Covid-19؟ ما الفرق الذي أحدثه ذلك؟

هناك العديد من الفرق التي تشكلت في ليبيا في اجدابيا وطرابلس وكذلك بنغازي والعديد من المدن وشاركت بفاعلية في التوعية ومساعدة العائلات

 

على الصعيد العالمي تشكل النساء أكثر من 70٪ من العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية ؛ ما الذي تم فعله لدعم هؤلاء العمال المهمين؟

لم يتم فعل شي في ليبيا طابع النكران دائم وهي ثقافة متفشية بالمجتمع

 

 

كيف يمكن للتكنولوجيا أن تساعد؟ ما الذي يمكن تعلمه من استخدام المدفوعات الإلكترونية للوصول إلى الفئات الأكثر ضعفًا؟

التكنولوجيا في بلد مثل ليبيا لديه ضعف الانترنت وقطع الكهرباء المستمر يجعل الامر اكثر سوء

 

تشير الدراسات الاستقصائية الأولية إلى أن عبء الرعاية غير مدفوع الأجر للمرأة قد ازداد على الصعيد العالمي وعبر الفجوات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية في ظل الاستجابة للوباء. هل هناك ممارسات جيدة تظهر استجابة أكثر مساواة؟

لا يوجد في لييسا

 

Rachel Dore-Weeks Moderator

Dear All,

Welcome to the fifth and last week of this important discussion. I am moderating this week from Lebanon, a context where COVID and the ensuing lockdown has dramatically worsened the socio-economic situation. Like elsewhere across the world, we are seeing women being laid off in larger numbers, spikes in domestic violence and both women and men taking up the unpaid care burden - though with women taking on the majority of the work. 

As we reflect on how best women can influence the COVID and post-COVID response what is clear is that the austerity measures that will likely follow COVID-19 in many countries will significantly impact women - cuts in health and spending will increase women's unpaid care burden, and cuts in broader social assistance will make it harder for women to remain in the economy. How do we effectively target institutions like Ministries of Finance, the IMF, the World Bank and others to engage them in discussions around feminist economic policy? @rola al masri, i think this links into your point on how we better protect female informal workers - a workforce that is likely to grow in the context of austerity. 

Speaking from Lebanon, the issue of domestic workers, as raised by a number of people (@nesreen el molla) is also one that can not be ignored. When we speak about women's inclusion we need to ensure we are bringing multiple stakeholders to the table, representing different interests and groups. 

As many countries begin to 'ease' out of COVID -19 restrictions and realign their economies and policies for an expected global recession, all hands must be on deck to try and prevent policies from not understanding gender dynamics in how economies run. @ana lukatela, UN Women in Jordan has some interesting work around taxation and fiscal policy it can share on this?

looking forward to the discussion!

Tamah Shamangende

Following the discussion its interest me to know that in every situation or in everything we do women are not left out. But why is it so hard to have a 50:50 percent in decision making..In  Zambia where i come from  specific in Kanyama compound it amaza me to even up to now women are lacking representative who can speak for their before, More effort has to be done.

Rachel Dore-Weeks Moderator

hi Tamah, thanks for your input and i agree, there are still too many spaces where women do not have adequate representation in decision making. Are there spaces in Zambia where women have been engaged in recovery work, and what did they do to get there? 

swedi bilombele
Dear Colleagues greetings Please, with regards of this conversation on how can we ensure women are engaged in decision-making in the response to COVID-19. We think that also the women's leaders or representative of CSO must be involved part of program and activities covid-19 as a stakeholders regarding the activities or project financed through the evaluation and monitoring in favor oc cimmunities affected . hoping to hearing from you warmly.
Rachel Dore-Weeks Moderator

hi Swedi, women's leaders and CSO reps need to be part of shaping responses. do you know of examples from where you are working where this has been the case?

Nisha Ghosh

Migration is as old as the history of human kind. Today in growing economies people move from the rural settings to cities and midsized down to earn better or simply to fill the need. The pandemic has come as a tsunami for migrant workers. I share some success stories in which Soroptimists have played a part.

To escape political and social uncertainty the migrants from Venezuela, throng the shores of Trinidad and Tobago. Most end up doing menial jobs, and thus lack social security and are devoid of any support from the local government. Women get by as domestic helps but the insecurity and uncertainty is huge. The pandemic crisis has made them even more vulnerable with job loss and lack of basics. The Soroptimist chapter in San Fernando have partnered with the La Romaine Migrant Support group (LARMS) because they are a well organised group who know the migrants well and run a school for them.

Soroptimists collected funds and provided them with food hampers, through a meaningful partnership with a local supermarket. These small relief measures kept have kept the migrants afloat. Informal partnerships are the most effective way of providing prompt and efficient relief during the pandemic since it minimised the need to help the women in physical contact with persons or products. For long term there are larger issues for migrants that need to be looked at-education, health and sustainable employment. Measures of skilling the women will break through the cycle of being only domestic helps.

Soroptimists in Bangladesh support projects that meet the education needs of the poorest communities in Dhaka. Most of the families are migrants from rural areas that have come to the capital to make a living. The mothers have dreams of seeing their children especially girls receive education and exit the state of poverty. The pandemic crisis has dimmed their hopes as schools are currently shut. Not only are they missing out the education, but the important midday food that the Soroptimists helped with. To supplement the loss of nutrition, Soroptimists have collectively and individually contributed lentils and grains for the families. Some counselling services have been provided for women in dire situations. At the sewing class conducted by Soroptimists the teacher has been encouraged to use her sewing skills to make masks. This keeps her on the payroll and with the fabric the Soroptimists provide masks to meet the pandemic needs are made.

In India, the situation for migrant workers is overwhelming. As in any growing economy the rural population may leave traditional work for quicker and higher earnings, in the cites or midsized towns. This internal migration- leads to issues of displacement and a floating population with no valid papers, no education and only instability. Tara Mobile Creches (TMC) is one of the many organizations that work with migrant construction workers. Its genesis makes an inspiring story

“The idea of a crèche for children of construction workers on site took birth in a housewife’s mind as she saw a baby lying unattended in the harsh heat at a Delhi site. The housewife, Meera Mahadevan, took the idea further by approaching the developer of the site and setting up the Mobile Creches organisation in India. It was termed ‘mobile’ as it catered to the needs of the construction worker who constituted a migrant population. Tara Mobile Creches Pune started out on a table in a garage on a construction site and has grown today to running day care centres at prestigious building sites in and around Pune. It is a registered non-profit organization and taken root in three cities.”

Builders provide basic living quarters to migrant construction workers and contribute to the education of the children. At the community centre TMC provides multiple services, to keep the children safe while both parents are at work. Their child centred programmes were well structured and successful. When Soroptimists of Pune initiated a dialogue with TMC, it was clear that the women needed support. They felt mentally alienated and became aggressive due to dislocation and poor living conditions. Some worked at construction sites, some home bound with small children but worked part time as domestic helps in nearby residential complexes.

Soroptimists took up the challenge. Once a week the Soroptimists visited the centre to only listen, chat and joke with the women. This was a new experience for the women. Very soon they looked forward to the visits. Then began sessions of learning about environment, sanitary napkins and more, teaching them how to write their names telling them about health, and child care- small ways to bring joy and learning to their bleak lives. The important step was helping them get their personal identity cards. On International Women’s Day after a beauty makeover they stepped out with anew found dignity and spent a day with the Soroptimist away from their daily drudgery. During the current crisis the fear of losing jobs and homes was very real. Soroptimists as well as other agencies have contributed rations and essentials to keep the migrant workers in place.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Bhoomika is a Chennai-India based agency that bring relief during disasters and the COVID-19 disaster was the time to come forward. In this heavily industrialized state (Tamil Nadu) the number of migrant workers is huge. The state government organized trains to send thousands home. Bhoomika provided cooked food to migrants heading home, as well as those in hospitals and shelters. Volunteers including Soroptimists of the local chapter in the city helped in the preparation and delivery of over 95000 meals at the worst time of the crisis.

For Soroptimists there is always a window to provide action and advocacy for women and girls.   

Luana Natali

Dear All,

Greetings from Bissau! It is excellent to read so many inspiring initiatives from around the world.

Like in many other places, here in Guinea-Bissau women have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. Despite being among the most affected - women work substantially in the hard-hit informal sector and the burden of domestic care has significantly increase during the crisis, women have proactively developed solutions from the grassroot to avoid a heavy toll on their livelihoods.

For instance, with the support of UNDP, together with UNIOGBIS and UNFPA, the local network of women for peace and security in ECOWAS (REMPSECAO) has supported women's street vendors in adopting measures to limit the spread of the virus in (formal and informal) markets. The effort has been possible through a continuous and active engagement of women in dialogues with local authorities to explain women’s difficulties to comply with the regulations set by the State of Emergency, due to COVID-19, and facilitating simple but very effective measures to ensure a proper functioning of markets in line with health and hygiene regulations.

UNDP has also supported the Association of Women of Economic Activity (AMAE) and the National Association of Tailors for the production of about 50,000 masks in Bissau and in two regions, Gabu and Cacheu. This partnership allowed the support of around 150 tailors, mostly women, providing them with business opportunities in this pandemic period in which social distance and the state of emergency significantly reduced traders' incomes and increased poverty in the most vulnerable groups.

Always with the support of UNDP, the Women’s Political Platform, an association gathering women political and civil society leaders of Guinea-Bissau, has also launched a campaign to encourage social behavioral change to limit the spread of the virus, not only among communities but also among political leaders. This effort is not only encouraging the adoption of preventive and mitigation measures in the COVID-19 response, but it is also further putting women at the core of the political dialogue (despite the prevalent patriarchal society and socio-cultural norms that often limit women’s political participation).

The role of local networks and associations of women is certainly of great importance as it provides the possibility ensure the wide participation of women in a coordinated and effective way. In Guinea-Bissau, though, their capacity remains still very limited, so further support is needed to strengthen those networks and ensure they are equipped with the tools and knowledge needed for an effective response, as well as have the opportunity to engage in dialogues with local and national authorities and promote a more egalitarian response to the crisis.

 

Rachel Dore-Weeks Moderator

Thanks Nisha for the rich information on Soroptimists's work. The Mobile Creches are exactly the type of subsidized social protection support that women need to be able to participate in recovery efforts, at the micro and macro levels. Until there is broader reform and mindset change around issues of paternity leave, the state must invest in issues of child care, affordable transportation, paid maternity leave, etc to facilitate women's continued engagement. and while lobbying is underway for this, it is critical that NGO service providers help fill gaps. 

 

Has Soroptimists partner with different local groups around lobbying for state action on social protection? are there lessons we can learn from your work on how we can effectively do that post-COVID to ensure that women are part of recovery efforts?

The example you give on Soroptimists visiting people and listening is a great one. We do this too infrequently as the international community. Creating these spaces and replicating these practices at the national level is critical if women's voices are to be heard in the COVID response/post COVID recovery work. 

Zenobia Association for Syrian Women

 

1-ما هي الأمثلة على وجود مجموعات نسائية محلية تشارك بشكل مباشر في الاستجابة لـ Covid-19؟ ما الفرق الذي أحدثه ذلك

-عملنا في جمعية زنوبيا على التنسيق مع فريق الميسرات والمؤثرات المجتمعيات العاملات في الجمعية على العمل من المنازل  وذلك من خلال تنفيذ  جلسات توعوية حول الكورونا والوقاية منها عبر الانترنيت التي استهدفت النساء السوريات  في بيوتهن لأنهن أساس الأسر والعامل الرئيسي في حماية أسرهن بالإضافة إلى تقديم جلسات الدعم النفسي في ظل الحجر وتشجيع النساء على الاستفادة من الجلوس في المنازل بسبب الحجر الصحي في ممارسات الهوايات وتنمية بعض المهارات والأعمال اليدوية والاستفادة منها كعائد مادي

 - النساء الطبيبات والممرضات اللواتي كان لهن دور كبير وفعال في مواجهة جائحة الكورونا

 والفرق الذي أحدثه ذلك هو أن للمرأة دور كبير في حماية المجتمع ولا يمكن الاستغناء عنه

2-على الصعيد العالمي تشكل النساء أكثر من 70٪ من العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية؛ ما الذي تم فعله لدعم هؤلاء العمال المهمين؟

في تركيا تم تحديد مستشفيات معينة لاستقبال المصابين مع اتخاذ كافة الاجراءات الوقائية المطلوبة وفقا لمقترحات منظمة الصحة العالمية لحماية العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية أما في الداخل السوري الوضع مأساوي

3-ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من الكيفية التي غيرت بها مشاركة المرأة في التعافي بعد الصراع الاقتصادات المحلية للمساعدة في صياغة الاستجابات الاقتصادية المستقبلية؟

بروز دور كبير للنساء السوريات  القياديات في القدرة على التعامل مع الظروف الطارئة والتأثير بالمجتمع بشكل ايجابي لذلك يجب العمل على تقديم الدعم والمساندة الحقيقية لهن لكي يكن مشاركات أساسيات في صياغة الاستجابات الاقتصادية المستقبلية  

4-ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من بناء السلام المحلي للمساعدة في ضمان استجابة شاملة لـ Covid 19؟

بناء منظومة مجتمعية متكاملة متألفة قادرة على حل المشاكل بتقنية كبيرة فعالة

5- هل يمكن للتركيز العالمي على ضعف العاملين في القطاع غير الرسمي، وخاصة النساء، أن يساعد في تحسين وضعهم؟ ما هي عمليات صنع القرار التي قد تحدث فرقا؟

بالتأكيد سوف يحسن من وضعهم وخاصة عندما يتم اعطائهم حقوقهم وعدم استغلالهم، وكذلك العمل على مساواة المرأة مع الرجل للحصول على فرص عمل مهمة فهي ليس أقل منه

6-كيف يمكن للتكنولوجيا أن تساعد؟ ما الذي يمكن تعلمه من استخدام المدفوعات الإلكترونية للوصول إلى الفئات الأكثر ضعفًا؟

أصبح الانترنيت متاحا لنسبة كبيرة جدا من الناس وهذا بدوره يسهل بشكل كبير عمليات التعلم وتطوير المهارات من خلال الدروس المنتشرة على الانترنيت، ويمكن الوصول للفئات الضعيفة من خلال إطلاق روابط تقديم مساعدات للاجئين أو روابط للهجرة أو البيانات التي تجمعها  منظمات المجتمع المدني 

7-تشير الدراسات الاستقصائية الأولية إلى أن عبء الرعاية غير مدفوع الأجر للمرأة قد ازداد على الصعيد العالمي وعبر الفجوات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية في ظل الاستجابة للوباءهل هناك ممارسات جيدة تظهر استجابة أكثر مساواة؟

لا يوجد

swedi bilombele
Dear Ms. Rachel Dore-Weeks Compliment of the day! Please, as you may know in my area the women's leaders are not largely active at the non-governmental organization level. the actions they perform do not have enough impact to their activities visibility on ground. I kindly suggest whether possible to facilitate to establish of partnership with our organisation in order to sensitization women their involvement for their largely implication and visibility in the field at the national and local arena in favor of communities. hoping to hearing from you yours sincerely M. Crispin
Rola al Masri Moderator

Thanks to all colleagues who shared insights, experiences and lessons learned during the past week. We have learned from colleagues from Congo, Morocco, Nigeria, and Libya on positive and inspiring examples of local women organizing and mobilizing at the community levels in response to COVID-19. Contributions have also highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable and marginalized groups at social and economic levels. Key discussed issues discussed could be clustered as follows:   

Adaptive and Responsive civil society sector and women groups: Examples and experiences of women and girls front-liners as part of active civil society organizations were shared in response to the pandemic outbreak. Very creative and inspiring organic initiatives were shared from Nigeria, Congo and Libya on community response plans that opted to harnessing all possible mediums and technological tools to maximize the outreach (i.e. capitalizing on existing ties with the communities, harnessing media and social media platforms, radio programs, whatsapp groups, etc..). Collective care was also slightly highlighted from colleagues from Nigeria, where women at the community level formed collective solidarity networks to provide child-care, food packages, housing, etc

Local peace building initiatives: experiences from women in Morocco and Libya in playing bridging roles in their communities to ensure constructive social and community dialogue (especially across conflict lines as the case of Libya, where women have been playing active roles in peace negotiation and reconciliation pre-COVID-19). Great example of women in Morocco and Libya in the health sector, local authorities, social workers and NGO members trying to foster solidarities. Recommendations from Nigeria were shared on the importance of adopting an inclusive approach to engage with all factions of the communities including religious and community leaders, traditional authority figures, local women representatives to ensure stronger ties and peace building.

Inclusive and gender-sensitive policies: women voices should be included in designing social and economic response to the crisis. In Morocco for instance, women groups were not represented or consulted in the designing of support and response programmes or the national recovery strategies in Morocco.

Disproportionate gendered impact of COVID-19 on women: examples of women's voices, and views were shared on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and the intersectional aspects on health, food-safety and the informal economy. Contributors have highlighted the disproportionate toll on children, young women, health workers, pregnant women, women working in the informal economy, women survivors of GBV, and women and communities living under poverty lines.  

Many thanks again for all the contributions!

 

Rachel Dore-Weeks Moderator

@swedi billombele, yes absolutely, i will be in touch seperately!

rita halabi

hello, first of all i would like to thank all of the people working on this program , and i am honored to be part of this fruitful discussion. Covid-19 came in a very critical time for my country Lebanon. It caused the   economic crisis to worsen . A big number of Ngos along with the hospitals ,civil society, and government came up with ideas to help reduce the effect of the situation on the society . For example  the stigma campaign : the campaign #TheRealTest that was initiated and supported by the Ministry of public Health,UNDP,WHO,UNICEF and Abaad . Covid 19 held more than a virus it held discrimination ,fear and stereotypical messages and representations spread faster then the virus itself. This campaign aims first and farmost to break ,fight and prevent the spread of stigma around people who test positive for Covid 19 and protect the most vulnerable among us by creatiing an awarness on the issue itself , encouraging more people to get tested , promoting mental health because it is as a important as fighting the virus itself , and creating a sense of communal support , solidarity and compassion. Along with this campaign UNDP along with Abaad and volunteers from 10 different areas in lebanon worked all together to ensure fighting fake news especially the ones about WRONG numbers and information about the virus . Women all around Lebanon helped and where frontliners in fighting the virus whether directly or indirectly , and it has made a huge difference and it shows the effect of awarness programs on socities during crisis. Unfortunately , health workers in the governmental hospital where most COVID 19 patients are being treated arent getting paid due to the economic crisis being faced in lebanon. As for the lesson learned till now is that women are able of so many things if given the support and tools needed. women in lebanon are trying to help feed all hungry families in addition to supporting them financially as volunteers from a lot of NGOS , which provide peace building after COVID 19 . Technology was a great support during this pandamic it helped us grow and learn within different socities and merge them into 1 just like this discussion room . E-payments arent available in lebanon due to the dollar and bank crisis. 

Sara Ferrer Olivella

Hello everyone. This is Sara and @[~55817]   from UNDP Jordan. It has been inspiring to read and learn from all the shared experiences from across the world. This is really an excellent initiative. Thanks to @Ana Lukatela for sharing the important work of UN Women in Jordan. Speaking about the experience in Jordan, women have not been part of the any decision-making or strategic response committees during the COVID-19 response. Unfortunately, that follows the trend of women’s limited role in high-level decision making which stands in contrast to the extremely active women’s grassroot organizations that have been the very first responders in the local communities.

Looking forward and with the objective of increasing women’s role in strategic decision making, UNDP Jordan has already adjusted activities under a joint program with UN Women on enhancing women’s political leadership so that it now also includes specific outcomes related to women’s participation in strategic decision-making in COVID-19 response as well as other crises responses.

At UNDP, we also initiated a range of other activities to ensure women’s voices were heard in order to impact the post-COVID-19 response and ensuring that women are not left out of decision-making:

In the early stages of the lockdown in Jordan, UNDP conducted a rapid assessment on COVID-19’s impact on households (available here https://www.jo.undp.org/content/jordan/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2020/68-percent-of-households-across-jordan-report-significant-impact.html). The assessment is based on 12,084 citizens from across Jordan complemented by another assessment of 1,648 households focusing on some of the most vulnerable Jordanian households across all governorates. It highlights the significant impact the measures had on the livelihoods of many and especially women and it looks into employment, meeting basic needs and access to internet – which also shows significant gender gaps. As lockdown measures are gradually easing and the economy is opening up, some of the challenges will ease yet many respondents and especially women expressed concern that the COVID-19 crisis will have a long-term impact on their livelihoods. As an example, the rapid assessment shows that more women than men have been affected by unemployment resulting from the lockdown.

UNDP is currently implementing a rapid response together with the public sector and municipalities to counter the digital gap during Covid-19 providing infrastructure, connectivity and business continuity plans to ensure that work can continue despite emergency measures such as lockdowns. Under this response, UNDP is also working to bridge the digital gender gap targeting SGBV survivors and women and adolescent girls at risk. This initiative includes a pilot on how women can seek help through alternative means than mobile phone. During the COVID-19 outbreak national NGOs voiced concern that women were not able to report violence due to reasons such as limited privacy and surveillance of their phone usage. Consequently, there’s a need to ensure that women can seek help through other means than simply hotlines and that’s something UNDP will be piloting.

Finally, UNDP is using online platforms to record podcasts under the name “Takatof” (United We Stand) together with The Center for Strategic Studies in Jordan. This has provided a space for women’s grassroot organizations to discuss their local Covid-19 responses that provided lifesaving support to vulnerable groups. It has also been a space for them to voice concerns about their marginalized position in governmental and national decision-making.

 

Roosevelt Y. Weah

The Men Empowerment Network of Liberia in collaboration with our Progressive African Women is planning a major where the issues and modalities of integrating men programs into women programs and women into men programs for better understanding and cooperation of gender issues. At this summit nongovernmental organizations, government and other stakeholders will be invited to deliberate and discuss.

We need sponsorship for the event to produce the desired results and impact. menliberia2000@gmail.com

Agata Walczak

Dear colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to follow and contribute to this inspiring discussion!

I would like to share with you the experience from UNDP’s project global on Parliaments as Partners in Women, Peace and Security. I hope it can bring an important perspective into the discussion of the parliamentary process as a decision-making process that has made a difference during COVID-19. Elected representatives we have worked with in seven partner countries have stood out as powerful allies working with women-led civil society to ensure that the government-led response and recovery address the needs of women and girls at risk of being left behind.

A few words about the project: since 2018, we have supported Members of Parliament, women and men, to advance the WPS agenda through law, push for its institutionalization beyond the NAPs, and create meaningful opportunities for participation of women peacebuilders and advocates in decision-making processes. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the project has worked with MPs to scrutinize and engender their countries’ responses.

In Sierra Leone, having drawn lessons from the Ebola response, the Parliamentary Female Caucus has engaged local radio stations, state institutions, traditional leaders and border authorities to ensure that local and national CV-19 responses take into account potential gendered security impacts, including those on the particularly vulnerable women trading along border communities. In Kyrgyzstan, the Forum of Women MPs, together with women’s rights networks, have successfully pushed for a swift adoption of an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code requiring the immediate detention of GBV abusers. The so-called GBV sub-cluster, set up in March by a coalition of CSO and a group of women MPs with support from UN agencies, mobilized the provision of first-aid items, medicines and personal protective equipment to those in most need during lockdown. In Sri Lanka, despite the parliament’s dissolution, women MPs in their capacity as public leaders have raised awareness among communities of the impact of COVID-19 on women’s safety; risk factors for GBV; and available support.

In many places, during the current crisis, civil society - from larger NGOs to community-based women’s organizations – has emerged as champions of effective crisis response. Looking ahead, to see the systemic change needed for women to enjoy equal rights to security and participation, we need an across-the-board transformational shift in how we organize, make decisions and act. This necessarily means a change in traditionally delivered democratic governance whose ineffectiveness and lack of accountability have failed to address the worsening multidimensional inequality, exposed by the pandemic.

Parliaments must be a part of this change. There is an urgent need for them to revitalize their ways of working and re-legitimize decision-making processes in the context of sustaining peace and building a more resilient and gender-equal post-COVID future.

What our project has shown across different peace and development contexts is that committed and well-capacitated elected representatives can effectively stand with women peacebuilders in promoting people-centered human security. They can act as an interface between the women-led civil society and state institutions, translating collective visions into legislation; securing fair budget allocations and accountability of government policies and programmes; ensuring legal and political recognition of women peacebuilders; and mobilizing partnerships for greater local awareness and ownership of WPS commitments.

In the coming days, we will be launching a guidance note for peace and development practitioners on engaging parliaments on building back from COVID-19 in a way highlighted by the WPS agenda. In the meantime, I invite you to have a look at the Parliamentary Handbook on Women, Peace and Security which you can find under the following link: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/crisis-prevention-and-recovery/parliament-as-partners-supporting-women-peace-and-security-agend.html

Rachel Dore-Weeks Moderator

thanks for all of the rich responses over the last few days. [~93483] your example of the partnerships needed to combat rich information and rich people is excellent. You also make an important point on the role of women as front line responders and the precarious working conditions these front line responders often find themselves in. Because of the gender wage gap and the social deprioritisation of so-called, 'women's jobs', women in these front line roles are often already working under challenging conditions (under paid, long hours etc) before crisis hits. And crisis exacerbates this.

Thank you [~91704] for your point on the role of NAPs and Parliamentarians. Both do have an incredibly important role to play. The US state of Hawaii has passed a feminist COVID response plan (https://feminist.org/blog/index.php/2020/05/01/hawaii-introduces-covid-19-feminist-economic-recovery-plan/), a plan passed by female leaders within the government, using women specific parts of the state bureaucracy. UN Women in the Arab States has also been working with Aisling Swaine, also in this thread, to highlight the link between NAPs 1325, as crisis recovery tools, and COVID response frameworks - to ensure that national leaders understand that NAPs 1325 must be key tools in guiding countries out of COVID induced crisis.

Sara Ferrer Olivella, are there any interesting tools or practices you found in your work that were successful or hold potetnial in reducing the gender digital divide? 

Mottee Prisheela

Raise Brave Girls association in Mauritius has participated directly in the response to Covid 19 through policies proposal to national government. We came forward with a feminist domestic policy which act as a one stop shop to help women at all levels at the Ministry of Gender Equality. There is a need to centralise all services given to women in order to become more effective .

We have also lobby to address the issue of gender based violence with the introduction of a double electronic bracelet for victim of domestic violence. 

Time is now to restructure economies and to invest in women as well. To do so we must absolutely address the problem of gender based violence which has a negative impact of 2Billion rupees per year in Mauritius GDP.

Danning Wang

During the COVID-19 crisis, Chinese women fully participated in the crisis management as well as the variuos stages of the virus control. Female medical professionals fought with their male counterparts in the hospitals. Female social workers in every community worked diligently from the beginning to make sure residents of the cities received supplies, tests, and protections timely. According to the survey conducted by the National Women's Federation, Chinese women's participation in this round of crisis management received high evaluations and recognitions. Women contributed tremendously in fighting with medical crisis and their contributions are highly appreciated. Now I am going to answer the following questions with China's experience: 

 

1. What examples are there of local women’s groups participating directly in the response to Covid-19? What difference has that made? 

China's National Federation of Women is famous for its local branches in very city and village. As one of the biggest NGOs in China, its female members acted positively in the covid-19 crisis. During the lock-down period, they worked with local residents to set up gates and check points to make sure every neighborhood has check points and services were available 24 hrs a day and 7 days a week. This effective community service gave the local residents confidence in fighting the virus. 

2. Globally women make up more than 70% of health care workers; what has been done to support these critical workers? 

The Chinese experience during the lock-down of Wuhan, the first city experienced the out break of the virus was that medical professionals from various provinces came to Wuhan to join the fight and to make sure the city of Wuhan had enough medical staff and supplies. After the city's lock-down, all of these medical professionals brought back home their experience and knowledge to help the local people in their own areas. Female medical professionals fully participated in this national effort and were the critical members of the effort. The idea that having the national force to support local medical staff worked well and became very effective. 

3. What lessons can we take from how women’s participation in post conflict recovery has changed local economies to help formulate future economic responses? 

Women fully participated in the post-conflict recovery to sustain the local economies. In China, during the quarantine time when all schools shut down and relied on the internet for schooling, the city of Beijing had a very effectively policy to help the school-aged students being supervised by their parents at home. The city government made sure the parents took turns to stay at home with their children and the city allowed these parents to work at home with full payment. It was a local policy with the consideration of gender equality and family value. Meanwhile, also make sure both husband and wife had equal opportunities to work at home and in the public. It was a really effective policy. 

4. What lessons can we take from local peace-building to help ensure an inclusive response to Covid 19?

During the covid 19 crisis, local security in China was emphasized to guarantee a peaceful social environment in crisis management so that the medical professionals and community workers can focus on the critical work they offered to the patients and local residents. 

5. Could a global focus on the vulnerability of workers in the informal sector, especially women, help improve their situation? What decision-making processes might make a difference?

In the post-crisis recovery of the covid 19, Chinese government offered self-employment opportunities for the city residents and migrants. The national government made sure the local governments helped and assisted the local residents in openning their own business and to make sure the paper works in the legal fields can be covered quickly. All of these policies are gender nutural and following equality lines to allow both men and women benefit from them. Openning the self-employment opportunites for both men and women helped the local economies recovered from the crisis. 

6. How can technology help? What can be learnt from the use of e-payments to reach the most vulnerable? 

Absolutely. Chinese experience demonstrated that technology helped tremendously. With the online services available during the whole crisis period, all kinds of supplies, daily necessities, and services were delivered effectively. The quality of life did not experienced sharp decline. Alll schools benefited from online teaching. Businesses also benefit from online seminars and meetings. It is impossible to imagine the society without all of the online services. 

7. Initial surveys suggest that women’s unpaid care burden has increased globally and across socio-economic divides under the response to the pandemic. Are there any good practices that demonstrate a more egalitarian response? 

The Beijing government policy on parenting was a good example on gender sensitive, equality, and effective family-value centered policy. Highly recommended, especially effective in the crisis management time for the school-aged children. 

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Alassane

Bonjour la plateforme, 

Moi c'est ELH ATTAHIROU Alassane, agent d'une organisation appelée Mata et Matassa Investing (2MI) S.A. depuis Niamey au Niger.

Au nom de notre équipe, je vous remercie infiniment pour cette opportunité que vous nous offrez afin de partagez nos réalistions et nos expériences dans ce groupe de discussions. Le thème est très pertient et les échanges sont assez riches. Je remercie particulièrement les différents modérateurs et tous les participants où que vous soyez dans le monde. Et je vous salue pour votre engagement dans cette lutte contre COVID-19 et le combat pour le développement en général, et celui grâce à la femme en particulier. , . 

Nous avons crée un Centre de promotion de l'entreprenariat des femmes et des jeunes "2MInvest", avec une VISION de faire de ces femmes et de ces jeunes de puissants acteurs économiques et sociaux porteurs d'un Niger qui avance et qui gagne. 

Nous formons, encadrons, renforçons, conseillons et orientons nos groupes cibles dans une démarche inclusive. 

En ce qui concerne les femmes; nous les amènons à travailler en des groupements Mata Masu Dubara (MMD), qui veut dire groupements des femmes ingénieuses et intelligentes. 

En ce qui concerne les jeunes nous les organisons en des Matassa Business Club (MBC), ou clubs des jeunes entrepreneurs. 

Le but c"est de leurs permenttre de savoir comment mobiliser les ressources humaines, matériels, techniques et financières afin de pouvoir créer et développer des Activités Génératrices de Revenus (AGR) et des projets d'entreprises innovantes, de façon brève. 

Et en ce qui concerne la lutte contre la maladie à corona virus, nous avions inité un concept de sensibilisation appelé concept "Kurtchia" à travers lequel nous avons touché énormement de personnes grace à l'engagement et le ledership de nos groupements de femmes dans tout le Niger. 

Les femmes ont sensibilisé plus d'un million de personnes par la méthode du bouche à oreille, considérée comme l'une des plus efficaces pour une communication rapide. 

Je vais vous envoyer une vidéo d'un reportage et des liens pour en savoir plus sur notre organisation et toutes les activités menées dans ce cadre. MERCI !!! 

http://www.2mi-sa.com 

http://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=871715646653289&id=555865578… 

 

 

Maha AlRaie

جمعية الثقافة والفكر الحر

The Culture & Free Thought Association

 

كيف يمكننا مشاركة النساء ضمن قرار 1325 في الاستجابة لفايروس كوفيد

كان هناك وجود لخطة طوارئ سربعة مستجيبة لكوفيد ضمن المؤسسة وشاركت النساء في صنع القرار

شاركت النساء في تنفيذ الخطة بشكل كبير

شاركت النساء ضمن 1325 في تحديد الاحتياجات للنساء في الحجر الصحي

شاركت النساء ضمن المؤسسة في مساءلة الجهات الرسمية عن بعض الانتهاكات التي حدثت مع النساء

قدمت المؤسسات الحماية للنساء من العنف ضمن كوفيد وضمن تطبيق قرار 1325

نفذت المؤسسة والنساء في تنفيذ خطة الطوارئ ضمن الممولين والمؤسسات الدولية وكان مراعية للخصوصية والاستفادة ومشاركة النساء

قدمت المؤسسة العديد من الخدمات متعددة القطاعات ومراعاة الحماية والوقاية والالتزام بالتعليمات الصحية

كان هناك استجابة للاحتياجات في الحجر الصحي للنساء ومشاركة الحكومة ولجنة الطوارئ

مواءمة الانشطة والبرامج التي كانت مقرر تنفيذها مع كوفيد وذلك ضمن اليات الحماية

كان هناك عمل تشاركي بين مجموعة من المؤسسات والتي لدينا شراكة معها

شاركت النساء في تعزيز القدرات وزيادة الوعي بتوفير ارقام مجانية للوصول للخدمات ضمن اطار الحماية

تم تنفيذ العديد من البرامج والمواد الاعلامية المواءمة للاشخاص ذوي الاعاقة لتوفير الحماية لحالات العنف

تم تنفيذ تدريب للعاملين في الحجر الصحي للاستجابة للنوع الاجتماعي في كيفية التعامل مع النساء في الحجر الصحي ومراعاة النوع الاجتماعي وذلك ضمن المؤسسات الدولية الشريكة UNFPA

دور مؤسسات المجتمع المدني ضمن قرار 1325 

لم يكن هناك خطة طوارئ دولية لادارة الازمة واشراك النساء في صنع القرار على المستوى المحلي

المؤسسات الدولية

لم يتحمل الاحتلال مسؤولياته الانسانية للمرضى ضمن القرارات الدولية ولم يكن هناك مساءلة

لم يتوفر الفحص وما يلزمه من ادوات فيقطاع رغزة بالقدر الكافي

في ظل الحصار ومنع المساعدات لم يكن هناك مساءلة او اجراءات جدية

على المستوى الرسمي

ضمن لجنة الطوارئ لم تمثل النساء وفق قرار 1325 والذي يتضمن مشاركة المراة في صنع القرار

لم يكن تعزيز اليات الحماية والمساءلة لانتهاك خصوصية النساء في الحجر الصحي ومراعاة الخصوصية في المراحل الاولى

لم يكن وجود المشاركة للنساء ضمن الاطقم الطبية والنفسية

على المستوى الغير رسمي (المؤسسات)

كانت هناك جهود واضحة للمؤسسات وخاصة النسوية في حماية واشراك النساء في تقديم الخدمات وصنع القرار

لم تكن الجهود بجهد جمعي وانما منفردة في كثير من المؤسسات

كان هناك شراكات في عدد من المؤسسات والتي كانت موجودة بشكل مشاريع مشتركة

لم يكن هناك دور فاعل لائتلاف 1325 في العمل ضمن خطة استراتيجية والاهداف المقرة

 

 

توصيات:

من اهم التوصيات توحيد الجهود في كل ما يقدم لمواجهة فايروس كوفيد من خلال ائتلاف 1325

اشراك النساء في لجان الطوارئ الرئيسية والفرعية

مساءلة الجهات الرسمية في مدى اتخاذ الاجراءات في تطبيق القرار وخاصة انه قرار ملزم

محاسبة الاحتلال على انتهاك حقوق الانسان في ظل الطوارئ في المحافل الدولية

رصد وتوثيق قضايا العنف وخاصة انها زادت في ظل كوفيد ووضع الخطط والاستيراتيجيات المنسبة للقضاء على العنف

وضع موازنات موائمة للنوع الاجتماعي في كافة المستويات والهيئات المحلية والدولية.

ما الفرق الذي أحدثه فيروس كرونا 19

تم تنفيذ داخل مركز صحة المرأة التدريب لعدد (22) متدربة بهدف تمكين العاملات في مؤسسات المجتمع المحلى من المهارات والأدوات والمعارف التي من شأنها تعزيز قدراتهن ومهارتهن لتحسين جودة الخدمات المقدمة والمساهمة في لعب دور حقيقي في التنمية المجتمعية

تم اختيار (10) مؤسسات وجمعيات أهلية في المنطقة الوسطى من خلال قاعدة بيانات المؤسسات التي تم انشاؤها في بداية المشروع العام الماضي، وتم ترشيح من الجمعيات عدد (22) متدربة لحضور تدريب تقوية وتعزيز قدرات العاملات في مؤسسات المجتمع المحلي منهم (3) متدربات ذو ي إعاقة سمعية.

تم اتخاذ كافة إجراءات الحماية والوقاية من توزيع معقم ايدي وكمامات وجلفزات على المتدربات وتباعد الأماكن.

تم توفير مترجمة لغة إشارة طوال مدة التدريب لترجمة مواضيع التدريب للمتدربات ذوى الإعاقة السمعية

تم عمل جروب واتس اب لكافة المتدربات للتواصل ما بعد التدريب. وعمل محاضرات توعوية للمؤسسات

تم تدريب فريق العمل لموضوع الإسعاف النفسي الأولى عن طريق تطبيق الزوم

على الصعيد العالمي تشكل النساء أكثر من 70٪ من العاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية؛ ما الذي تم فعله لدعم هؤلاء العمال المهمين؟

تقديم الدعم النفسي لهم عبر الاتصال الهاتفي بهم

ارسال رسائل تحفيز واطمئنان

تقديم الدعم النفسي لا بناء العاملات في القطاع الصحى من خلال الاتصال الهاتفي

تقديم الطرود الصحية للمحجورين داخل مراكز الحجر الصحى

تقديم الدعم النفسي والاجتماعي للمحجورين عبر الاتصال الهاتفي والرسائل

 

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من الكيفية التي غيرت بها مشاركة المرأة في التعافي بعد الصراع الاقتصادات المحلية للمساعدة في صياغة الاستجابات الاقتصادية المستقبلية

تم وضع خطة الطوارئ لتواصل مع النساء

تم عمل مجموعة على الفيس بوك لتضم جميع المستفيدات أو من لديه حساب على الفيس بوك من ابناؤهم للتواصل والتعرف فيما بينهم وتسويق المشاريع لبعضهن البعض

تم التواصل مع السيدات وشرح لهن كيفية الترويج عبر صفحة الفيس بوك الخاصة بالمشروع  وزيادة التفاعل وزيادة عدد المعجبين لكي يتم تغذية صفحة المشروع بالمعلومات والمنتجات من أجل الوصول لاكبر فئة مستهدفة

يتم متابعة الصفحات من خلالي لأي طارئ او خلل في صفحات الفيس بوك الخاصة بالمشاريع.

متابعة صفحات السيدات أسبوعيا مع إضافة تعليمات جديدة من اجل التفاعل وزيادة الفئة المستهدفة

التواصل مع باقي السيدات الاخريات

عمل صفحات على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي لمن ليس لديها صفحة وتدريبها على كيفية إدارة الصفحة ومتابعتها لمن ترغب بذلك

 

ما هي الدروس التي يمكن أن نستخلصها من بناء السلام المحلي للمساعدة في ضمان استجابة شاملة لـ Covid 19؟

أدى الانقسام السياسي وسوء الأوضاع الاقتصادية وعدم انتظام الرواتب الشهرية والحصار المستمر الى تفاهم الازمات داخل قطاع غزة مما أدى الى زيادة في حالات العنف المنزلي  وحالات العنف المبنى على النوع الاجتماعي بشكل كبير جدا مما أدى الى زيادة عدد الحالات المترددة على المركز من اجل الحصول الخدمات النفسية والاجتماعية والقانونية والصحية

 

هل يمكن للتركيز العالمي على ضعف العاملين في القطاع غير الرسمي ، وخاصة النساء ، أن يساعد في تحسين أوضاعهم؟ ما هي عمليات صنع القرار التي قد تحدث فرقا؟

حالة الطوارئ التي تم إعلانها بسبب فيروس كورونا والذي أدت الى تقليص تقديم الخدمات المقدمة  والعمل علي خطة طوارئ والذي تسبب قلة عدد الحالات وصعوبة تنفيذ الأنشطة المخطط لها  وذلك لتنفيذ إجراءات السلامة والحماية والوقاية.

اغلاق المؤسسات وصعوبة التنسيق والتشبيك معهم ادي الي انخفاض تنفيذ المحاضرات والورشات وبالتالي انخفاض في اعداد الفئات المستهدفة، وتم تنفيذ بدبل للمحاضرات والورشات من خلا ل البث الإلكتروني عبر صفحات التواصل الإجتماعي

تم تنفيذ التدريبات في غير الموعد المخطط ولكن ضمن إجراءات الوقاية والسلامة.

تم تنفيذ مبادرة صحية مع الفريق الصحي والميداني لتوزيع عدد (200) باكيج صحي للسيدات الأكثر احتياج والأكثر هشاشة ويحتوي على علاج هرموني ومعقم صحي ومسكن آلام ونشرات توعية حول فايروس كورونا صادرة من منظمة الصحة العالمية.

تم تجهيز خطة طوارئ لمدة 3 شهور بعد اعلان حالة الطوارئ وتفشي فيروس الكورونا والعمل على تنفيذها مع مراعاة جميع إجراءات الوقاية والسلامة.

توزيع الحقائب للنساء

توزيع القسائم الشرائية

توزيع الطرود الصحية

زيادة عدد العاملين في المجال النفسي والاجتماعي داخل المؤسسة

كيف يمكن للتكنولوجيا أن تساعد؟ ما الذي يمكن تعلمه من استخدام المدفوعات الإلكترونية للوصول إلى الفئات الأكثر ضعفًا؟

تشكيل مجموعات على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي والواتس للتواصل مع الفئات وموظفين مع بعضهم لبعض

فيديوهات توعية وتثقيف

مخاطة الجمهور من خلال الاذاعات المحلية

ارسال رسائل نصية

استقبال الاستشارات

تقديم خدمة البث المباشر عبر صفحة الجمعية

تشير الدراسات الاستقصائية الأولية إلى أن عبء الرعاية غير مدفوع الأجر للمرأة قد ازداد على الصعيد العالمي وعبر الفجوات الاجتماعية والاقتصادية في ظل الاستجابة للوباء. هل هناك ممارسات جيدة تظهر استجابة أكثر مساواة؟

العمل على تعزيز المشاركة بين الرجال والنساء في الاعمال المنزلية

تقديم جلسات الارشاد الزواجي

تقديم جلسات الاسرى

التدخل عبر الوساطة المجتمعية

تقديم الاستشارات للأزواج عبر الاتصالات الهاتفية

استخدام اليات الحماية غير الرسمية عبر نشطاء المجتمع المحلي

جمعية الثقافة والفكر الحر

 

Klara Backman

Dear all,

I would like to share some examples and experiences from The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation. We work in partnership with over 150 women’s rights organisations in 20 countries affected by conflict. We have offices in 14 countries and have worked very closely with our partners in the response to the crisis. Here are some examples of how our partners are affected by and are responding to the crisis, and some learnings we have gathered:

In many of the programme countries of Kvinna till Kvinna there has been a lack of information on covid-19, or the information has had poor outreach. One example is Liberia, where there is a general disbelief of the existence of the virus, information and messages circulated by the government are not trusted by the citizens, and the rules under the state of emergency are contradictory and not well understood. To make sure that their target groups and women rights holders are reached by solid, fact-based information, many of Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisations have carried out information campaigns. As women’s rights organisations they also add layers of information needed during the pandemic. The information often includes how and where to get help for victims of GBV. In some countries this is done through radio or educational spots (for instance in DRC), or podcasts (BiH), or other channels that are deemed suited to reach the groups that need it most. Sometimes the information campaigns are just a smart revision of already planned awareness-raising campaigns on for example SRHR. The information disseminated by POs includes a broader gender perspective of the crises, on violence against women, exclusion of women from the decision-making process, and the specific ways the pandemic is affecting women at the frontlines of the fight against covid-19.

Partner organisations in all regions are advocating to ensure a gender perspective in the covid-19 response, through analyses, statements, reports, briefs, recommendations, meetings, etc. Women’s rights organisations have generally not been consulted in emergency response apart from a few initiatives. In Georgia, local authorities have partnered with the Georgian Red Cross and organised volunteers to assist in food and medication delivery to vulnerable citizens. In Azerbaijan, local municipalities have engaged NGOs and GONGOs in the public awareness campaigns. Similar activities have been monitored in North Macedonia. In Rwanda, civil society is a development partner to the government. Action plans or ad hoc actions for covid-19 must be approved by the government. Kvinna till Kvinna partners in Rwanda are trying to navigate how to share their analyses of gendered relief and recovery and have their voices heard. Kvinna till Kvinna is now partnering with a network of women-lead CSOs and gender-focused international organisations to raise urgent and key gender perspectives for recovery plans and budgeting.

In all regions where Kvinna till Kvinna works the need for this advocacy is huge as there is a lack of women participating in almost all of the committees dealing with responses to covid-19, and there have overall been few consultations by national authorities and international actors with women’s rights organisations.

o Cases: AFEM in DRC conducts advocacy work as the covid-19 committees lack women and gender competence. Also in DRC, the movement Rien sans les Femmes has issued recommendations to the government on access to testing, ensure access to food and water to people and ensure correct spread of information through internet free of charge, as well as including a greater number of women participating in the covid-19 response mechanisms. In Western Balkans, Kosovo Women’s Network for instance, is pushing for more women in the different committees set up to work with the response to the pandemic, as well as highlighting the gender gaps in current response. In Serbia, a partner has conducted an analysis of the harsh restrictions in movement by the government and whether the sanction was correct and what the consequences will be. In Jordan, Kvinna till Kvinna is to hold hearings/online consultations with IFIs (first out is EBRD) to ensure gender perspectives are included in response. In South Caucasus, Armenian and Georgian partners stress that the stay-at-home-strategy reveals inequality and marginalisation for many social groups. They have informed about LGBTQI+ persons exposure to additional risk and made public statements around the risks faced by the transgender group.

o In Liberia, partners and other CSOs are lobbying for the government to further involve CSOs and build on their experiences of the Ebola response. A concrete result of this was the creation (by the Min of Gender) of the Women, Girls and Children Pillar, a working group part of the covid- 19 response, where civil society organisations are participating. POs have also pointed towards the risk of increased violence by the security forces in the public sphere.

o In Armenia, Democracy Today, one of Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisations, has initiated a community-based assessment on to what extent state-run covid-19 response programmes are working for local communities. Democracy Today also carry out capacity building measures to assist community members in 50 communities to access state programmes.

o In Georgia and break-out region Abkhazia, Association of Women of Abkhazia and Cultural-Humanitarian Fund Sukhumi use GREW (gender- responsive early warning system) to assess and analyse the situation in conflict affected regions, to be able to provide better input to the authorities and service providers.

 

4 critical issues high-lighted by the crisis:

• Covid-19 has very effectively put the spotlight on the existing inequalities that are built into the current world order. Rich countries with a functioning economy, democracy, social security systems and healthcare will ride out this crisis, while citizens in poor and authoritarian countries are faced with a long row of hard-to-solve problems. Basic conditions such as people not having a home to be isolated in, no soap and water to wash their hands, not having sufficient earnings to be able to stay out of work for some time, nor having a healthcare system equipped for crises, etc. The inequalities are also highly visible within a country, where groups with less access to both resources and power are more at risk than the ones that have resources. On an individual level, the crises (though not the disease in itself) has hit women harder than men, and low- income and marginalised groups have not been able to adjust to curfews, lockdowns and isolation in the same way as someone with stable economic situation. Partner organisations from most regions witness how marginalised groups are carrying a heavy burden during covid-19. Already existing inequalities are being further accentuated. We also see a clear urban and rural divide in all the regions. Women with disabilities in most communities are constrained by limited state services. Ethnic minorities such as Roma people in the Balkans and Bedouin in the MENA region often lack access to electricity, internet and even clean water, which poses challenges for these groups of women to stay safe, access information, and any online services. A concern for the coming years related to this is how the economic regression will hit the countries Kvinna till Kvinna work in and affect women’s rights.

• Early on in the crises, GBV was raised as a major concern, first from women’s rights organisations and shelters reporting rapidly increasing number of cases, then at high political level. Never before has the world so publicly acknowledged that a crisis, be it a disease, a natural disasters or violent conflict, would result in increased levels of GBV due to the fact that women are more or less locked up in their houses together with their perpetrator, in combination with increasing tensions and stress on both individual and societal level. Women rights organisations have also raised concerns that many women lack possibilities to even make the call to an SOS hotline as there is no privacy, or maybe no access to phones. With courts not working properly in many places there is a backlog of cases and a fear that cases of GBV will not be prioritised. After the first wave of attention for GBV, unfortunately less prioritisation is given to the matter now, fewer articles in media, and therefore less pressure on decision makers.

• A third issue, still not widely assessed is what takes place under the radar when the world is focusing on the pandemic? Authoritarian regimes have taken the opportunity, under the protection against covid-19 flag, to further shrink the space for civil society and increase surveillance of its populations – this needs to be closely monitored. How much of these procedures will stay in place after the pandemic is over? Which of the measures were appropriate and which were not? Another example of what goes on while the world deals with covid-19 is in Iraq, where ISIS has taken the opportunity to mobilise and strengthen its forces, while Iraqi military forces are occupied imposing curfews. Covid-19 might not be the sole reason behind this possible resurgence, but a potential game- changer.2 We also see signs of increased backlash on women’s rights. Partners in for example Armenia are warning that women’s movement’s hard work and progress during the recent years will regress, and that current quarantine and isolation rules will strengthen gendered stereotypes and lead to an increasing socio-economic divide.

• Fourthly, one needs to take note of the lack of gender perspective in the covid-19 response, at least in its earlier phase. No emergency funds in any of the regions have been satisfactory in providing relevant gendered support to respond to the wider impact of covid-19. Many of Kvinna till Kvinna’s partners have put a lot of time and efforts into trying to influence this and highlight the gendered aspects of the pandemic. One example worth mentioning is Kvinna till Kvinna’s partner organisation in the Western Balkan that advocated towards the EU Commission on the need for a gender analysis for the extra funds that will come to the region for the recovery due to covid-19. The experience of Ebola in West Africa suggested that funding and resources are likely to be diverted away from other areas, including sexual and reproductive health, in crises like this. The lack of consultation with WRO also goes for international organisations.

Mona Aridi

تحية طيبة من لبنان

حضرات السادة والسيدات 

جميلٌ أن نتلاقى هنا سوياً للبحث تجربة الصراع مع جائحة الوباء العالمي الذي أثر بشكل فعّال بكافة المجتمعات بشكل أو بآخر.

دعوني أشارك حضراتكم ما شاهدناه ضمن المجتمع اللبناني ودور النساء في مواجهة هذه الكارثة تحديداً والتحديات التي واجهتها وكيف تبيّن أن العنصر النسائي أكثر مما توقع العالم أجمع.

من الصين التي ألقت ثقلها على كاهل سيدة برتبة كولونيل التي أسفرت نتائج قيادتها الحكيمة إلى محاصرة الوباء وتخطي الكارثة الإنسانية وصولاً إلى كل سيدة في قسم الرعاية الصحية والطبية والخدمات والعمل الإجتماعي إلى جانب دورها اليومي ضمن أسراها.

على مستوى لبنان لقد أدهشتنا السيدات المتطوعات من كل الجهات التي لم تتوانَ عن تقديم المعونة سواء كان طبياً بقدر معرفتها لا سيما أن بلدنا عاش حروباً وبات على إستعداد باللاوعي لتلقف كل الأزمات

لقد شهدنا حركة رائعة من المبادرات حيث ظهرت جلياً نتائجها من خلال تقديم مساعدات بعد عدد كبير من المتبرعين ولا سيما المغتربين الذين دعموا أهلنا من بعيد

وعلى الصعيد المؤسساتي فقد تسلمت شخصياً ملفات المعونات وتمتوزيع آلالاف الحصص من مقيمين ولاجئين كون مدينتي تستضيف عدد كبير من النازحين السوريين وتميز مجتمعنا بأكثر المجتمعات المُضيفة إنسانياً رغم العجز فقد نظم المجتمع المحلي حملات لمساعدة الأهالي وإمدادهم بكل الإحتياجات الأولية.

لقد عشت تجربة رائعة رغم الخوف والحذر من الإصابة حيث تواجدنا على الأرض بشكل يومي وقمنا بتعقيم الشوارع وتدريب فريق عمل متطوع سميناه خلية الأزمة حيث كان الجميع يعمل تحت قيادة نسائية رائعة ضمن العمل البلدي المرجع الرسمي الوحيد في المدينة كحكومة أثمرت سلسلة تعاون وإطمئنان وارتياح نفسي في المدينة وتخففيف عبء الأزمة إقتصادياً وإستشفائياً 

كما إنهالت الإختراعات من غرف فحص مجاني وأفران على الكهرباء وغرف تعقيم الأمر الذي ضج في الإعلام على أن بلدتنا يمكن إطلاق عليها سمة البلدة النموذجية والإكتفاء ذاتي في ظل غياب الدولة وتقاعسها عن تلبية إحتياجات المواطنين.

كما انتشرت ظاهرة إستصلاح الأراضي الزراعية لمكافحة المجاعة المحتملة والمفاجأة أن من كان يقود هذه الحملات في معظم القُرى كانوا من العنصر النسائي اللواتي قمن بمبادرات فعالة وإستقدام الحبوب ودعم المزراعين والنتيجة جاءت رائعة خلال جولة تفقدية إلى عدد من البلدات الجبلية والساحلية.

إنتشرت خلال أزمة الوباء ظاهرة التنمر بحيث عاش المصابون والمحيط بهم من الأهالي حالة نفسية وذلك بسبب التعامل معهم على أنهم حشرات والتقليل من شأنهم من دون رحمة وتداول أسمائهم عبر وسائل التواصل الإجتماعي.

الأمر الذي لم أتقبله ولا سيما بعد إنهيار أحد الأمهات خلال مواكبتي الصحفية خلال أحد الحملات الفحص المجاني حيث ناشدت الأم بضرورة فعل شيء لوقف هذه المهزلة في ظل وباء عالمي.

فأخذت على عاتقي تنظيم حملة خلال تصوير فيديو لمقاطع أدخلت به زملائي في لجنة التنسيق المنبثقة عن برنامج الأمم المتحدة الUNDP تحت عنوان الإستقرار الإجتماعي ورفض النزاع حيث توجهت خلال النص برسائل مؤثرة وهادفة طلبت من خلالها مشاركة المؤسسات التي تُعنى بالإعاق والثم والبكم ومتلازم داوون حيث قدموا رسالة على طريقتهم .

عنوان الحملة " لا للتنمر بكل أشكاله" التي لاقت تفاعل رائع من قبل المجتمع المحلي ولا زال أصداء العمل الإجتماعي الذي تميز بقيادة نسائية إستجابة ل Covid 19 يلقى تأيداً واسعاً لمناصرة القرارات النسائية التي أثبتت أنها كما تقود عائلة بإستطاعتها قيادة مجتمع برمته بسبب حكمتها وصبرها وقدرة تحملها.

التحديات التي واجهتنا هي التشيكك بقدراتنا ومواكبتنا بهدفالوقوع في الخطأ وكان هذا الأمر جداًمزعج وكأن المرأة التي تخوض كل هذه التجارب بحاجة لمستشار من الجنس الآخر

هذه التحديات سنبقى نواجهها إذا لم يتم العمل على تعزيز ثقة النساء بأنفسهن وإخضاعهم لتدريبات على كل الأصعدة والعمل على ثبيت وجودهم في المؤسسات ولا سيما التنفيذية والتشريعية والبلدية هي موقع القرار.

ختاماً: من خلال تحربتي وموقعي في السلطة الرسمية ضمن العمل البلدي في قسم الإعلام والعلاقات العامة والعمل الإجتماعي أستطيع الجزم أن العمل المؤسساتي إتخذ وجهة جديدة من نمط العمل حيث تغيرت الخطة من عمل مؤسساتي يُعنى فقط بالبنى التحتية والخدمات العادية إلى عمل مؤسساتي إجتماعي ثقافي إنساني إبداعي جديد كسر الصورة النمطية لمجموعة من الرجال في المجلس البلدي لا يرون خلال كل عهد سوى تسجيل نقاط في مشاريع بناء وتعبيد طرقات وكهرباء والتغيير الجذري أنه ومنذ تسلمي هذا القسم أدخلنا الإنسنة ودعم النساء والشباب في مشاريع إنمائية تدريبية توعية تثقيفية مهنية توعوية تطوعية من خلال عرض أفكار الشباب والسعي إلى تمويلها وتنفيذها مما عزز ثقة المواطنين أكثر في العمل المؤسساتي وبات يرى فيها مقصداً للبحث في اللامستحيل وتفعيل دور السيدات وأيضاً الشباب  من خلال إشراكهم في صنع القرار من خلال التشبيك مع الجمعيات والمجتمع المحلي والمؤسسات الإجتماعية والثقافية والرياضية والفنية.

مجدداً تحية طيبة للجميع

ومحبتي

Mona Aridi 

Maria Hantzopoulos

1. What examples are there of local women’s groups participating directly in the response to Covid-19? What difference has that made? Writing form Queens, which was originally the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, and also where women have generally picked up the slack where the US government has failed.  In particular, they have made up the majority of the volunteers in Mutual Aid Networks and similar grassroots initiatives that have provided food, care and needed resources to underserved and neglected people and communities.

2. Globally women make up more than 70% of health care workers; what has been done to support these critical workers?  In NYC, honestly, not much has been done.  It is important to note that majority of female health-workers in NY – RNs and home aides are also Black women and other women of color.  Yet, they lacked PPE during the crisis and risked their lives on the frontlines.  When the Black Lives Matters uprisings erupted, many of these health care workers risked their lives again to fight racism and anti-Blackness in the US. It is important to note the intersections of identities of these workers, as racism and sexism has also led to lack of support frankly.

3.  What lessons can we take from how women’s participation in post conflict recovery has changed local economies to help formulate future economic responses?   Responses should always be formed with the narratives, experiences, and stories first.  Their experiences should inform policy and practice.  This is critical – folks on the frontlines know their communities and their experiences should be centered in decision-making and policy.  This is also the center premise of peace education initiatives as well.

4.  What lessons can we take from local peace-building to help ensure an inclusive response to Covid 19?  Honestly, it is the same as above.  Center the most vulnerable and affected as agents of change and drivers of policy.  This is the premise of peace education.  And then governments and NGOs should fund them without trying to control them.

5.  Could a global focus on the vulnerability of workers in the informal sector, especially women, help improve their situation? What decision-making processes might make a difference?  They should be centered in policy-making based on their knowledges and practice!

6.  How can technology help? What can be learnt from the use of e-payments to reach the most vulnerable?   It helped with easy platforms like paypal and venom frankly in Queens, when grassroots aid efforts (mostly food and housing relief) were forming.

7.  Initial surveys suggest that women’s unpaid care burden has increased globally and across socio-economic divides under the response to the pandemic. Are there any good practices that demonstrate a more egalitarian response?  Well, we need to start by not viewing some human life as more expendable than others, and that all human beings have dignity and worth.  We need to integrate critical and localized peace education into all sectors of society (not just schools) so that we cannot only address direct violence, but also get to the root:  structural violence.   It will not solve everything, but will help create a more informed population around issues of overall wellbeing and human security.

 

نعيمة مبلود الحاسي

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته 

سعيدة جدا للانظمامي الي هذه المجموعة الرائعة ومشاركتها هموم العالم و مساعدة علي نشر الامن و الامان و المحبة و السلام  

أعلن المركز الوطني الليبي لمكافحة الأمراض عن 639 إصابة إجمالية بالفيروس في البلاد، من بينهم 17 حالة وفاة،  وذلك بعد تسجيل 44 إصابة جديدة و4 وفيات الثلاثاء.

ويعتقد الخبراء أن يكون العدد أكبر من ذلك، خصوصا أن الفحوصات التي تجريها ليبيا للكشف عن مرض "كوفيد 19" قليلة.

ويعد المركز الوطني واحدا من مؤسسات الدولة القليلة التي تعمل على سد العجز الصحي في البلاد.
الدول العربية تأثرت أكثر من حيث الوفيات
فيروس كورونا.. العرب الأكثر تأثرا في أفريقيا
وتزايد عدد الحالات في ليبيا إلى أكثر من 4 أضعاف في الأسابيع القليلة الماضية، ويرجع ذلك بشكل كبير إلى عودة المواطنين العالقين من الخارج.

وهناك بقعة ساخنة مثيرة للقلق في مدينة سبها الجنوبية النائية، حيث تعاني المرافق الصحية من نقص كبير في معدات الوقاية.

و علما باننا لا نملك في ليبيا اطباء و اجهزة و معدات مثل الدول المتحضرة و التي تملك زمام امورها مماسيسسب مشكلة في السيطرة علي مرض كورونا لو انتشر ستكون كارثة بكافة المقايسس 

و نحن منظمة الطموح من اول يوم للانتشار الكورنا في العالم و من منطلق تخصصها برعاية حقوق المراة و الطفل شاركت في مناهضة مرض كورنا تحت شعار معل للتظامن ضد جائحة كورونا و حيث قامت المنظمةبتعقيم المدلراس و المساجد و المصايف و رياض الاطفال و القنوات و الشوراع و نشر ثقافة بالتعاون مع المنظمة الدولية اكتد في نشر التوعية و توزيع الملصقات و المنشورات داخل مدينة بنغازي و ضواحيها و تم قامت المنظمة باقامة ندوة بخصوص الكورنا لربات البيوت في شهر رمضان مع اتخاذ كافة الاحتياطات الصحية في المحاضلرة .

و عليه المراة لها دور كبير جدا من اجل تحقيق الامن و الامان و صنع السياسية في ليبيا و مشاركتنا و سعينا الي ذلك و رغم عدم ووجود اي دعم او تعاون من الدولة و اي منظمة دولية اخري 

 

ALFARI

Nous disposons des vidéos qui montrent l'implication et engagement des femmes dans les prises de décisions sur la COVID-19. 

Manal Malaeb


مرحباً جميعاً
لعل ظاهرة الCovid -19 كانت واقع ملموس لقرأه حيثيات الوضع التشاركي المباشر للمجموعات النسائية على الأرض، حيث كان للعديد من الافراد النسائي والجمعيات النسائية دور كبير في إدارة الازمة ان من خلال عملها المباشر او من خلال تقديم خدمات او إرشادات لتخطي المرحلة.

ولعل النسبة القليلة للعاملات في القطاع الصحي اوجب على تقديم بعض الميزات وتسهيل بعض الأمور (كإيجاد منزل قريب من مكان العمل او إعطاء بونس زيادة في الدخل) ولكن هذا لا يكفي او يحل ازمة النساء العاملات او الازمة بشكل عام فالتأثيرات كثيرة وعلى كافة الأصعدة.

ومن هنا لا بد من النظر في الحلول التي اتبعتها معظم النساء ان من ناحية ادارتها للازمة وخلق نوافذ اقتصادية اجتماعية ثقافية لمشاركة العائلة وبمشاركتها من اجل المرور بالمرحلة الى بر الأمان. ومن هذا المنطلق يجب إعادة النظر في تمكين النساء بمهارات تضيف على امكانياتهم ان من خلال برامج online مجانية لتمكينهن من امتلاك مهارات تواصل جديدة تواكب العصر الحديث وينتج عنها لغة اقتصادية تنعكس ايجاباً على نمط المعيشي للعائلة.

Natalya Harutyunyan

Dear colleagues,

Greetings from Armenia and thank you for initiating this insightful discussion!

Armenia is seriously affected by COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. The situation is still not improving, causing multiple challenges and vulnerabilities, which significantly affect women. Number of reported cases on domestic violence increased by approximately 30% (per evidence from civil society organizations), women’s labour rights suffer, the workload of women triples in combining work, household duties and coaching to children during online schooling. Women comprise more than 75% of frontline works in COVID-19 response which additionally affects their psycho-social, physical and economic well-being. Civic space shrinks too in the times of pandemic due to lockdown and other limitations. Government, international organizations and civil society united forces in addressing challenges that the pandemic caused.

UNDP is one of the front-runners in response to COVID-19 pandemic, with multi-faceted response. Gender dimension is also among the topical aspects. Below, please see several respective highlights:

  • With UNDP support  23 women and youth earlier trained within UNDP’s projects on political participation of women, engaged in volunteer activity distributing aid to older people living alone in more than 20 towns and villages of Armenia (supported by SDC, Russian Trust Fund);
  • Currently a bigger group is being trained  to support national and local governments in various local services for COVID19 response. Via small funding scheme women in communities get a chance to lead a local initiative on real-time data collection, building awareness-raising channels and initiate ad-hoc support services – all in context of COVID-19 pandemic (UNDP projects funded by SDC, UK Good Governance Fund).https://www.am.undp.org/content/armenia/en/home/stories/every-obstacle-is-easier-to-overcome-when-there-is-a-helping-han.html
  • UNDP builds an online community of women and youth, who are trained on aspects of local governance, participatory democracy, gender equality, community development, crisis preparedness and response. It will serve as a platform for peer exchange and learning, policy dialogues and joint advocacy on topical aspects (UNDP projects funded by SDC, UK Good Governance Fund).
  • Women and girls are trained on digital skills to adapt to current reality of online communication.
  • Rapid Assessment of Socio-Economic Impact of COVID-19, currently undertaken by UNDP in partnership with UNFPA, UN Women, UNAIDs (and with engagement of other UN Agencies) has strong gender dimension. Data derived from the household survey, assessment undertaken among SMEs and farmers will shine light on gender-differentiated impact of COVID-19 and point to areas where remedy measures will be required.

Interestingly, apart from complexities and challenges, COVID-19 situation also nudges activeness and leadership among women. Here are several examples among many:

  • Shamiram Yeghiazaryan, a female community councilor leads community’s Operative Team to combat the spread of COVID-19 virus. The team ensures that: the community members follow all measures to control the virus; two community stores are constantly disinfected; mayor’s office operates in protective and preventive mode; and masks distributed to all community members.  She also owns a small company operating transport from the village to nearest town and personally inspects the health of drivers and disinfects the buses every day. http://womennet.am/mariam-yechiazaryan-arapi, in Armenian/
  • Gyulnara Avetisyan, another female Community Councilor, distributed informative posters in the community, masks and gloves among community members on her own expenses. As a teacher in community school she made sure that every child was equipped with devices for online distance learning by collecting phones and laptops from friends and other community members. (http://womennet.am/avetisyan-gulnara-erasch/, in Armenian)
  • Women’s enterprise supported within UN Women and UNDP women’s Economic Empowerment project start producing masks, significant part of which is donated (project funded by SDC and ADA, https://www.facebook.com/WomenEmpowermentArmenia/). Also, with UNHCR support Syrian-Armenian women switch to mask production to help stop spread of COVID-19. Before pandemic, the Syrian-Armenian seamstresses of Yerevan-based company were sewing eco bags and clothes for children.  https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/05/22/Syrian-Armenian-Women-Switch-to-Mask-Production-to-Help-Stop-Spread-of-COVID-19/385494
Alassane

Bonsoir la plateforme,

Nous avons des vidéos qui expilque en étail notre méthodologie menée avec les femmes pour combatre le corona virus. Le concept a très bien fonctionné car nous avons épargné énormement de personnes grâce aux efforts des femmes MMD au Niger 

Alassane

Nous avons des groupements de femmes encadrés par 2MInvest dans les huit régions du Niger. 

Nous avons mis en place le concept "Kurtchia" car nous nous sommes rendu compte qu'au Niger ce n'est pas tout le monde qui a accès aux Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication. Et le virus commençait a faire beaucoup de victimes. 

Le concept du Bouche à Oreille "Kurtchia" consistait à : 

Identifier dans chaque groupement de femmes MMD 5 femmes Leaders à qui nous faisons une très bonne sensibilisation sur la COVID-19 (Lavage des mains, utilisation du gel anti microbes, et tous les gestes barrières), ainsi que toutes les nouvelles mesures prises par le gouvernement. 

Les femmes à leur tour vont sensibiliser les membres de leurs groupements, leurs voisins et les gens de leurs quartiers respectifs. Elles sensibuilisent aussi même une fois en ville ou dans leurs courses quotidiennes. 

Nous avons créés des groupes WhatsApp pour communiquer avec ces femmes leaders afin qu'elles nou remontent les informations de leurs statistiques de sensibilisation et tous leurs efforts ainsi que les difficultés rencontrées. 

En l'espace de deux mois, les femmes MMD ont sensibilisé plus de un million de personnes, et cela continue. 

Nous leur avons offert comme outils des masques, des mouchoirs, des savons, des seaux,... Tout un kit pour chaque femme leader dans les groupes kurtchia.

La campagne de sensibilisation par les groupes de 5 femmes kurtchia a enregistré 521 004 personnes touchées directement dans les régions de Dosso, Tillabéry, Niamey, Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder et Agadez.

Les bénéficiaires sont en outre les femmes MMD, leurs ménages, leurs voisinages et leurs entourages respactifs.

L'analyse des données du groupe témoin fait ressortir une moyenne de 3 personnes sensibilisées par une personne touchée directement.

La communication média avec 15 radios communautaires et rurales a facilité la réalisation de plus de 500 diffusions de spots de sensibilisation contre COVID-19 et des  émissions radiophoniques animées par les femmes leaders MMD.

La communication digitale a favorisé quant à elle, la création de 5 groupes WhatsApp, outre les partages d'informations sur la page Facebook, Twitter et le site web de 2MInvest. 

Souligons que ces résultats obtenus sont les performances de 3026 femmes kurtchia ou tourterelles engagées. Ces femmes issues des mouvements Mata Masu Dubara sont des leaders membres de 605 groupements MMD. Plus de 15 000 masques et kits de prévention on été distribués. Plus de 100 smartpones on été distribués aux femmes pour leur faciliter l'accès à l'information. 

Les femmes ont bien répondu à COVID-19 au Niger et nous sommes fiers d'ELLES. 

Notre site : www.2mi-sa.com