Violence prevention/reduction

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Cash assistance: ‘Today, I see a brighter future for my daughters’

For several years now, the Far North region of Cameroon has been facing the effects of climate change, characterized by droughts, seasonal disruptions and recurrent flooding, with disastrous consequences for agriculture, livestock farming and even access to supply centres and markets, among other challenges. This situation has led to a further deterioration in the economic situation of local households.In addition to the effects of climate change, there are social tensions marked by inter-community conflicts and grievances, as well as the presence of non-state armed groups. Over the last ten years, these factors have created a situation of insecurity, leading to population movements and, for many, the loss of loved ones."I lost my husband a few years ago,” says Soumaïra, who lives with her children in the village of Ndoukoula, in the Far North region of Cameroon. "I was 13 when we got married. A few years later I gave birth to our first daughter. My husband took good care of us. His job was to rear the herds of important local men, and he was also responsible for selling them.“One day, as he was returning from a village on the border with Nigeria to sell the animals of one of his bosses, he was killed in an attack. I had only just given birth to our second daughter, and I was already a widow with two children to support.”A new lease on life through cash assistanceHaving lost her parents when she was less than 10 years old, and facing a precarious situation, Soumaîra was taken in by the village chief, who tries as hard as he can to look after her and her daughters."One day, as I was going about my daily chores, I was approached by Red Cross volunteers and some members of my community", she recalls. "They told me they wanted to collect information about me to see if I was eligible for any further financial assistance to help me meet my family's immediate needs."It turns out that Soumaïra’s village is one of eight targeted by the programmatic partnership between the IFRC, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the French Red Cross in Cameroon.As part of the second phase of the partnership's operations in the region, 1,000 households in the Far North region have been receiving cash assistance since January 2024. The cash grants were made to respond to the most urgent basic needs of the population in this region, following armed violence, the impacts of climate change and the residual and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic."I told them everything they wanted to know and I was confident of being selected, which I was. Some time later, they explained to me that I would receive 64,000 Central African Francs (around 91 Swiss francs) in three instalments. With this money, I could buy a few important items for the house, have my children looked after if they were ever ill, and with the rest, if I wanted to, start a small business.“Today I received my first financial allowance and I'm so happy. With this money, I'm going to buy millet and other food to feed my children. I'm also going to start raising livestock and trading for a living. It's a process that will continue with the other funds I receive. I will be able to take care of my daughters' school needs and fight to make a difference to their lives.“Today Icansee abrighterfuture for my daughters.”In addition to the cash assistance, the Cameroon Red Cross is sharing community awareness messages on how best to prepare for and respond to epidemics and disasters, as well as on risk communication and community engagement.

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| Press release

“We need to do better” – IFRC report reveals gaps in child protection during climate related disasters

Kingston, Jamaica – November 19, 2021. Adolescents overwhelmingly feel that they do not have the information needed to be safe from potential violence, abuse, and exploitation in climate related disasters. This is one of the main findings of “We Need to Do Better: Climate Related Disasters, Child Protection and Localizing Action in the Caribbean,” a recent study conducted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The report has revealed that even though climate related disasters affect each person in the region, children are particularly at risk. They make up a large portion of the population of the Caribbean and are most vulnerable to encountering violence, abuse, and exploitation in disaster settings, while systems to protect them do not always work. The study also highlights that there are no specific laws in place to protect children from violence, abuse and exploitation when disasters happen. Gurvinder Singh, IFRC’s Child Protection Senior Advisor and one of the authors of the report, said: “While children potentially have great leadership and innovation capabilities, unfortunately, their voices are rarely being sought out or heard. Furthermore, there is a huge deficit in meaningful opportunities for children to be engaged in decisions that affect them. This is especially prominent in the stages of preparing for and responding to disasters. Adolescents believe that even if they do participate, their opinions may not be taken seriously by adults.” By putting the voices, perspectives, and ideas of children at the forefront, the report seeks to understand the generally unexplored relationships between climate related disasters and children’s concerns around violence, abuse, exploitation, and mental health challenges. It also sends a warning to governments and civic organisations to play a more active role in the promotion of and respect for the rights of the child, especially with regards to the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programmes. Ariel Kestens, IFRC’s Head of Delegation for the Dutch-and English-speaking Caribbean, said: “It is critical that governments enhance domestic laws, invest in child protection systems, improve local coordination, train local responders, include protection and climate change in school curriculum, and collect sex-, age- and disability-disaggregated data in disaster responses. The IFRC Network across the Caribbean stands ready to support them to continue striving to meet the best interests of each child affected by more and more frequent, and destructive climate related disasters.” The report also recommends practical actions for the humanitarian sector, such as designing child-friendly communications, implementing community feedback mechanisms, including child protection in anticipatory action, integrating child protection across preparedness, assessments and planning, and creating spaces for children and adults to engage, support one another and find viable solutions to protection risks. The study was based on discussions and an online survey with 198 adolescents ages 14-17 years in the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago; interviews with 30 adults from different disaster and child protection agencies, and background research. It is part of the campaign “We Need to Do Better” by the IFRC to enhance protection of children in climate related disasters. The full report may be accessed here. The adolescent summary of the report is available here. For more information, please contact: In Jamaica: Trevesa DaSilva | +876 818-8575 | [email protected] In Panama: Susana Arroyo Barrantes | + 506 8416 1771 | [email protected]

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