Non-food items (NFIs) and the needs of women and girls in emergencies (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1107)

Abstract

Query

What non-food items (NFIs) best meet the (basic and protection) needs of women and girls in emergency situations? Include beneficiary and expert feedback where available.

Key findings

The NFIs which best meet the basic needs of women and girls in emergencies include:

  • Hygiene/dignity kits: women and adolescent girls require locally appropriate sanitary items to manage their menstrual hygiene. These may be reusable cloth or disposable sanitary pads. The opportunities for privately washing, drying, and disposing of sanitary cloths or reusable pads need to be considered.
  • Suitable clothing: women and girls require culturally appropriate underwear and clothing.
  • Household items: items for cooking and bedding are important for meeting basic needs.
  • Contraception: the need for contraception does not go away in emergencies, especially as the risks surrounding pregnancy and child birth increase due to the collapse of natal and neo-natal care.

The NFIs which best meet the protection needs of women and girls in emergencies include:

  • Torches, radios and whistles: torches help light up areas where women are at risk of attack; radios help keep them informed of developments in the crisis; and whistles can attract attention if they need help.
  • Firewood/energy saving stoves: women risk attack when collecting firewood, so energy saving stoves would lessen their exposure to risk.
  • Gender-sensitive logisticians are more aware of the importance of the needs of women and girls and thus are more likely to procure and provide appropriate NFIs. NFIs need to be distributed in ways that ensure they are safely received by all the women and girls who need them.

Citation

Rohwerder, B. Non-food items (NFIs) and the needs of women and girls in emergencies (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1107). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 11 pp.

Non-food items (NFIs) and the needs of women and girls in emergencies (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1107)

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