Gender equality and social inclusion are cross-cutting themes that are central to CARE’s emergency and development programming.
Why Women Lead in Emergencies? Most women affected by crisis have little or no influence over decisions that affect their lives and this matters because participation is a right. Women have a human right to participate in the public and political life of their community and country. But it’s a right that’s not put into practice, and especially in emergencies. In CARE, we believe when women’s voices are not heard, women’s rights and needs are often not adequately met, and emergency response can reinforce gender inequality. Women’s equal voice, leadership, and participation save lives, and challenges and transforms the root causes of poverty and injustice. Through the latest project, Women Lead in the Philippines (WLiE), Gender Equality and Women’s Voice meets Inclusive Governance in CARE’s 2020 Program Strategy as a joint initiative.
The said project is a 9-month action research that pilots a 5-element model built on the objective of women being able to influence decisions about their lives. Globally, this project is part of a larger Women Lead in Emergencies initiative. In the Philippines, Women Lead will be embedded in the programming of three diverse projects and teams working in disaster risk reduction and climate governance (INCREASE), Bangsamoro women’s health (NCD), and rural women’s organizing with a focus on Protection and GBViE/SRHiE (PKKK).
Through WLiE, the organization looks to integrate the projects in its already existing humanitarian and development/resilience projects across 23 municipalities in 7 provinces, including 6 mass evacuation camps in Marawi City. The natural and man-made crises experienced in these sites vary – Eastern Samar, Cebu, and Leyte in the Visayas islands are regularly beset by typhoons; Marawi City is Ground Zero of the 2017 siege in Mindanao, which displaced 350,000 people; Surigao del Surand Northern Samar are incredibly remote, with some communities located eight-hour hikes away from the nearest town center.
The goal is to engage more than 500 women leaders and 2,000 individuals through community-based women’s groups and collectives in 8 months, while working with local DRR organizations AADC and LCDE, and continue to develop relationships with local women’s rights networks PKKK through stand-alone activities to strengthen the voice, leadership and meaningful participation of poor and marginalized women directly affected by crisis in humanitarian action and programs, and in public decision-making, both formal and informal. WLIE adheres to six principles: women acting with women, women deciding, doing no harm, meeting women where they are, increasing quality of participation, and transforming unequal power and decision-making skills.