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Fijian community organizations leading response

22 February 2017

When Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji a year ago this month, UN Women and other international organizations helped people recover. But it was local organizations that led the way in reaching many of the storm’s less visible victims – the elderly, people with disabilities, and those suffering psychological trauma. The cyclone damaged entire villages and communities, killed 44 people and left 40,000 people in need of immediate assistance, according to... More

In Fiji’s markets, hopes are growing a year after a devastating cyclone

17 February 2017

A year on, Varanisese Maisamoa is still frightened whenever the wind rises. “When I feel the wind blow very strong, I get scared, and I have to remind myself that it’s just the wind,” she said. “But cyclones will come and go, and people learn how to survive. And that’s what we did - that’s how we learn to be resilient." Ms. Maisamoa was among the tens of thousands of Fijians who had to rebuild their... More

Setting the stage to break the cycle of violence: theatre as an advocacy tool for youth in Solomon Islands

07 February 2017

“Dealing with youths, especially students, is very difficult, because when you talk about the issues of violence, domestic violence and sexual abuse, it’s funny to them. They giggle and laugh. But when the drama group actually dramatizes the scene, the mood. Hendrick Barai of Family Support Centre, with UN Women’s toolkit on designing projects... More

Gender and Protection Paving the Road for Humanitarian Response in the Pacific

19 August 2016

“Promoting gender equality and the protection of women, girls, boys and men go hand in hand, it must be at the forefront of humanitarian planning and response otherwise we are failing the people of the Pacific," UN Multi Country Representative, Aleta Miller told attendees at the opening of the Pacific regional Gender and Protection in Humanitarian Action training this week. Protecting people before, during and after a disaster has been at the forefront of discussions among Pacific... More

Disasters: What’s gender got to do with it?

18 August 2016

Even disasters discriminate. More women die in disasters than men. Women face even greater risks of violence in the aftermath and their ability to make an income is often more affected. They end up caring for even more people – other people’s children, the elderly, the injured. Considering this reality, and on World Humanitarian Day, we have to ask ourselves: Where are the women’s voices in disaster planning, response... More

Getting the post-cyclone response right for women in Fiji

25 April 2016

A Category 5 cyclone pulls root crops out of the ground long enough to fill the holes beneath them with water so that whatever hasn’t been scattered rots; it sends flash floods and storm surges roaring through villages, sweeping away people and their belongings; it turns villages into piles of debris and roofing iron into a deadly weapon. Similar to other disasters, a Category 5 cyclone has another legacy. It exacerbates existing inequalities. Not only are women and girls more likely to... More

Preventing and responding to violence against women and girls is crucial in Winston response

04 April 2016

Time and time again, it has been shown that in the aftermath of a disaster, women and girls face even higher risks of violence than they do under ordinary circumstances. The damage – whether it is physical or psychological – is often much harder to see and takes longer to emerge, for many reasons, including the shame and stigma that surrounds reporting such violence. Tropical Cyclone Winston is no exception, with reports of violence and exploitation of survivors beginning to... More

Finding inspiration amid devastation in Fiji

25 March 2016

The first thing that hits you about a country that has felt the full force of a category five cyclone is the trees. It’s like they have been ravaged by a forest fire, one that strips them of their foliage but otherwise leaves no visible scorch marks. Unfortunately, I was seeing this for the second time in less than a year. Surveying the damage, talking to women who are battered and exhausted—but far from broken by Mother Nature’s fury—I have witnessed women’s incredible strength and resilience.... More

Women’s economic empowerment critical for safeguarding food security

21 March 2016

Before the cyclone Rakesh Prakash and his family relied on the income they received from the produce they harvested on their 10-acre farm in Toge, near Ba. Twice a week they would harvest 300-400kg of eggplant, chillies, cow peas and spinach and take it to the local market to sell to market vendors, who would then on-sell it to the public. While Mr Prakash, his wife and parents hid under their bed, flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston destroyed the majority of those crops. The loss has... More

Psycho-social assessments help address needs of women and girls

18 March 2016

“Some of them just wanted to talk and share what they went through. How they survived the night, the nightmares, being trapped under the roof … they were just happy we came to them.” Saral Chand is one of Empower Pacific’s counsellors and was on the ground in Rakiraki and other affected communities in the Western Division within days of Tropical Cyclone Winston hitting Fiji. The organisation has more More

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