Restoring Livelihoods After Floods: Gender-sensitive response and community-owned recovery in Pakistan | Food Security | Gender

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Following unprecedented flooding in 2010, Oxfam and partners launched an early recovery programme in Sindh Province, Pakistan. As well as directly supporting food security, this programme included support for women and men to establish livelihoods and rebuild assets when they began to return to their villages. This also offered some opportunities to promote improved livelihoods.
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  GENDER EQUALITY IN EMERGENCIES OCTOBER 2012 Oxfam Programme Insights   www.oxfam.org.uk/policyandpractice   RESTORING LIVELIHOODS  AFTER FLOODS Gender-sensitive response and community-owned recovery in Pakistan  A group of women from the village of Yosuf Bhatti, Shikarpur, hold up cheques received for 'Cash for Work' activities in their village. © Timothy Allen. Following unprecedented flooding in 2010, Oxfam and partners launched an early recovery programme in Sindh Province, Pakistan. As well as directly supporting food security, this programme included support for women and men to establish livelihoods and rebuild assets when they began to return to their villages. This offered some opportunities to promote improved livelihoods. More than 25,000 househoods were targeted, and 25 per cent of direct beneficiaries were women.    2 Restoring Livelihoods after Floods: Gender-sensitive response and community-owned recovery in Pakistan INTRODUCTION With over 176 million inhabitants, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. 1 Pakistan’s patriarchal society means that women face multiple inequalities. In 2010 for every 100 boys in primary school there were 82 girls, and for every 100 boys in secondary school there were 76 girls. In 2008 the literacy rate for females aged 15–24 was 61 per cent, compared with a male literacy rate of 70 per cent. .It ranks 145 out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 Human Development Index and continues to struggle with high rates of unemployment, inflation, and insecurity. Adding to the instability is the ongoing conflict within the country and recurrent natural disasters, including earthquakes in 2005 and 2008, a cyclone in 2007, and most recently the devastating floods of 2010 and 2011. 2 Oxfam has been working in Pakistan since 1973. We support local partners and work with government authorities to improve the livelihoods of those living in poverty, and we provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by disasters and conflict. Oxfam’s focus in Pakistan is on ensuring poor women’s access to land and economic opportunity; ending violence against women; ensuring that all girls have the right to a good education; increasing resilience to disasters and climate change; and improving access to effective humanitarian assistance during emergencies. Cultural constraints restrict women’s mobility and although they contribute the majority of unpaid household labour as well as other forms of work, this is often unrecognised. Traditionally, women own little land, lack decision-making power, and have low levels of literacy. Violence against women is endemic throughout the country, and they have limited legal protection in such matters. Summary Heavy monsoon rains beginning in late July 2010 triggered unprecedented flooding in Pakistan which ploughed a swathe of destruction more than 1,000 kilometres long over the course of three weeks and destroyed more than two million hectares of crops. By November 2010, 7.2 million people were still receiving food aid, and restoration of livelihoods was seen as a key priority. Oxfam, as part of the Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies (CBHA), 3 ã  an Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods (ESFL) programme to kick-start livelihood regeneration, targeting more than 25,000 households (150,000 individuals); and with funding from ECHO in association with local partners, launched an early recovery programme in Sindh, targeting approximately 53,000 households (318,000 people) and featuring two sectors of intervention: ã  Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene projects, which in total served 48,000 households (288,000 individuals). Where possible, activities targeted the same communities in order to achieve a more holistic impact. At the outset of the Oxfam intervention, households were asked to register one household member to receive cheques or inputs. They were encouraged to put women forward, but this was not mandatory. As a result, 25 per cent of direct beneficiaries were women, totalling approximately 6,500 households (39,000 individuals). Of households where women were directly targeted, approximately 60 per cent were female-headed, while the remaining households put forward a woman for direct participation or receipt of inputs. However, regardless of the sex of the household member directly participating or receiving inputs, it was intended that interventions should benefit the entire household, including women. This paper will examine the extent to which this was achieved. In particular it will consider and evaluate (a) the involvement of women in programme planning and implementation; (b)  Restoring Livelihoods After Floods: Gender-sensitive response and community-owned recovery 3 constraints that limited their involvement; and (c) programme outputs and outcomes, and the views of women on these. What happened? In the summer of 2010, Pakistan was hit by unprecedented flooding. The scale was hard to conceive. An area the size of England was under water, and approximately 12 per cent of Pakistan’s population, 20 million people, close to the population of Australia, were affected. The north experienced flash flooding, which, although devastating, enabled the early start of recovery and rehabilitation, but the south experienced a different fate. Here the bloated Indus River breached protection bunds and flooded densely inhabited plains, destroying agricultural land, homes, and household assets. Due to poor early-warning systems, communities had to flee to temporary camps on higher land as the waters filled their homes, leaving behind livestock, businesses, and other household assets. The flood waters remained for three–four months, and some areas remained under water even as the end of the emergency was signalled by the government of Pakistan in January 2011. Emergency provision of food, clean water, and non-food items (NFIs) made up the bulk of the emergency response while people remained in camps, but an even greater challenge was faced when they began to return to their villages, particularly in Sindh, where loss of land, assets, and homes was most prevalent. The top priority on returning home was to re-establish livelihoods – no small task, as damage to the value of US$10 billion was recorded, half of which affected the agricultural sector alone. 4  In particular, Sindh in the South registered 46 per cent of the total damages within its area. 5  Before the floods more than 80 per cent of households depended on agriculture for their livelihood. With the harvest now lost, many poor households that had bought agricultural inputs on credit were left with no way to repay the debt or to re-start their lives. In fact, only 23 per cent of households reported feeling confident that they could continue to earn a living from agriculture following the floods; the majority turned to scarce casual labour and handouts from aid agencies or richer community members. 6  Losses consisted not only of crops, but also infrastructure and livestock such as buffaloes and goats (see Figure 1), which are the primary household assets and often the only asset for Sindh’s landless sharecroppers.  4 Restoring Livelihoods after Floods: Gender-sensitive response and community-owned recovery in Pakistan Figure 1: Losses of Livestock/Poultry While frequent disasters in the north of Pakistan had encouraged the growth of strong local humanitarian organizations and a historical presence for many INGOs, the same was not true in the south. However, due to chronic problems in the province, including sustained high malnutrition rates (>16 per cent Global Acute Malnutrition), 7 0 20 40 60 80 100 PoultryGoatsSheepCowsBuffalosDonkeys % Households LostHad Before  low literacy rates, and limited land ownership for women, Oxfam was already operating long-term development programmes in Sindh, focusing on women’s economic rights. As such, Oxfam aimed to utilize its long-term understanding of the province by working within already established partnerships to address the evolving situation in some of the worst- affected Districts. Long-term programmes were halted, and partners were supported to expand or establish their presence in the targeted Districts of Dadu, Qambar Shahdad-kot, Jacobabad, Thatta, and Jamshoro.
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