Updated: Nov 25, 2020
MSB pilot deployment for UN Women: supporting in the coordination of the humanitarian response for better inclusion of the needs of women and girls – within a covid-19 context
Meet Alinane Kamlongera MSB’s first deployee to UN Women South Sudan. Alinane is supporting UN Women in their job on coordinating the efforts of improving the position of women and girls within the humanitarian crisis.
- Building the capacity of local actors in gender and humanitarian work is of particular importance. If we do this work well, then the local actors will be the ones to demand gender equity, social inclusion and women’s empowerment because they will continue to experience the importance of it, says Alinane on why she believes her contribution to South Sudan is especially important.
Alinane Kamlongera is MSB’s first deployment to UN Women within the parties new Stand-by Partner collaboration. She was deployed to South Sudan in January 2020 as a Gender and Humanitarian Specialist but due to the outbreak of covid-19 and its consequences on the security setting she had to be repatriated in March and has been working from her home in Malawi since then. This has not stopped her from contributing to UN Women’s work on coordination of the humanitarian response.
The killings and increased violence between rival ethnic groups after the forming of a unity government in South Sudan is once again worsening the living conditions for the people. Since 2013, and long before the formation of the world’s newest state, the country has suffered enormously in the aftermath of continuous conflict, starvation and violence. Women and children makes up 85 % of internally displaced people, and in addition, women and girls are especially vulnerable to food insecurity, child marriages and being subject of sexual violence and abuse as well as being at risk of sexual exploitation. Sexual gender based violence, gender discrimination, ethnic marginalization, disputes over land and resources and unaddressed grievances have continued to drive violence at the local-level. Consequences of extreme socio-economic marginalization and patriarchal structures that have been aggravated by years of conflict. The use of gender based violence as a way of warfare is entrenched and often part of the intercommunal violence that is now increasing in the country.
Within the humanitarian community the knowledge of these circumstances is increasing and there are many contributions to gender mainstreaming, to address gender based violence and the specific needs in protection of women and girls. The vulnerability of women and girls permeate all areas of the humanitarian response and the over-lapping is inevitable. UN Women works towards improving the coordination of addressing these issues within the humanitarian sector, work that they have recently initiated in South Sudan.
How women, girls, men and boys are affected by covid-19
During spring 2020 Alinane and her colleagues at UN Women conducted a Rapid Gender Analysis together with The South Sudan Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Community Empowerment for Progress (CEPO) and Rural Women for Development South Sudan (RWDSS). They developed the analysis in order to understand the specific needs of women, girls, men and boys affected by the spread of covid-19. By understanding the vulnerabilities and needs of these groups humanitarian programming can consider this and implement recommendations in the national response plan on the handling of covid-19. Some of the pragmatic recommendations from the analysis were:
To have information of covid-19 and prevention going out through megaphone messages since the illiteracy amongst women and girl is lower than amongst men and boys.
To inform market traders at local markets, many of them women, on how they can protect themselves and customers from the disease, making it possible for them to keep their daily income.
To target support to households that are financially affected the most by covid-19, in order to mitigate drastic decisions such as forcing girls into early marriages in exchange for bride prices.
Alinane is a much-appreciated support to UN Women South Sudan and MSB hope to be able to continue having her deployed as long as she can contribute working from home. Hopefully the situation will improve in the country, or at least the humanitarian community will find ways to mitigate the consequences of covid-19 in the coming months, so that Alinane can be redeployed. Because even if we see results in the working from home, Alinane concludes:
- The input from our presence in Juba and being in the field directly working with partners or beneficiaries is fundamental to supporting the humanitarian response and without it, so much valuable knowledge is lost.