Peril or Protection: The Link Between Livelihoods and Gender-based Violence in Displacement Settings

Thursday, January 1, 2009
Women's Refugee Commission
Central Africa
Eastern Africa
Western Africa
Northern Africa
Congo (Kinshasa)
Sierra Leone
South Eastern Asia

When women are displaced due to conflict or human rights abuses, they adopt new strategies to provide for themselves and their families. These new strategies often place them at risk for gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual exploitation and abuse, rape and domestic violence. Without safe economic opportunities, displaced women employ strategies such as prostitution, trading sex for food and leaving the relative safety of refugee camps to collect firewood to cook with or to sell. The Women's Refugee Commission undertook research to determine whether programs set up to provide women with safe, alternative livelihoods do in fact reduce their risk of exposure to violence. This report combines findings from three field missions to refugee settings; a pilot project in Burundi providing refugees with increased access to economic resources through village savings and loan associations; and desk research and interviews targeting promising examples of economic empowerment interventions that increase women's safety.

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Link Between Livelihoods and GBV, WRC (2009).