Women and girls’ rights in emergencies
Ensuring that we work with women means that we do not overlook needs or vulnerabilities that are specific to women and girls in emergencies. We provide women safe spaces, where women can get access to information and support, and distribute sanitary towels in our emergency response work.
We provided safe spaces in Greece at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe. ActionAid’s women’s centres on the island of Lesvos and in Athens provided vital support to traumatized mothers and children fleeing violent conflict in other countries. For new arrivals we provided hygiene kits with wipes, soap and nappies, and places to breastfeed in private. They gave women a space to talk and grieve with those who survived a long and dangerous journey.
Rapid response and recovery led by women
We know from our emergency response work, most recently in Gaza, Haiti, Kenya, Somaliland, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Vanuatu, that women bring vital skills, resources and experience to humanitarian response.
Women’s participation in decision-making is not only a fundamental human right. It has been proven to contribute to better disaster preparedness and risk reduction, as well as peace building and conflict resolution in communities.1
Building resilience for the future
In the months and years following an emergency we work with local women to give them the support they need face the future with renewed hope, whether it’s raising houses above floods levels, or helping them get back to work with loans or buying cows or fishing boats. We listen to what they really need.
In Sierra Leone, our commitment to long term support means we continue to work with grieving communities who were affected by the Ebola crisis, to help them recover from the physical, psychological and financial losses caused by the outbreak.
In areas that face a lot of natural disasters, we train women to respond to the next disaster when it hits. In Nepal, ActionAid teaches schoolchildren how to protect themselves when earthquakes strike. In Bangladesh we train women to lead people to shelters during cyclones. The results are astonishing: in Bangladesh in 2013, Cyclone Mahasen killed 17 people, compared to 3,500 deaths during Cyclone Sidr in 2000.
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Read our latest blog posts about our emergency and humanitarian response work.
Learn more about our policy and research on protecting women's rights in emergencies.
We work in rural and urban communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.