The on-going armed insurgency in Cabo Delgado that started in 2017 and the mass displacement it caused have created a complex humanitarian crisis in one of Mozambique’s poorest regions, Cabo Delgado. Prior to the crisis, Cabo Delgado province already suffered from high levels of poverty and absence of services. This situation has been worsened by the crisis which depleted what little resilience the province’s population had. Host communities find themselves having to share already scarce resources. There are evident signs of solidarity fatigue and tensions between IDPs and host communities result in frequent conflicts.
IDPs in Cabo Delgado are suffering from dire living conditions, extremely limited access to basic services and struggling to meet essential needs.
Widespread lack of access to cash and income generating opportunities are causing negative multi-layered gendered impacts on the lives of IDPs. IDPs living in resettlement centres are among those most vulnerable, women and children making up the majority of residents 2 , where access to resources or income generating opportunities is very limited. Female-headed IDP households have constrained access to land when compared to their male counterparts, making subsistence farming difficult. The combination of these factors has led to the commodification of humanitarian aid with the sale of part of the food received through humanitarian assistance being a prevalent practice.
While humanitarian assistance has been vital in meeting IDPs’ most urgent needs, there are still immense and persistent needs. Life at resettlement centres is difficult and protection risks abound, particularly for women and girls. Water is scarce and fetching it is an arduous and often dangerous task for women and girls. Access to health care is limited, including to maternal and sexual and reproductive health services. Reports of sexual exploitation and abuse were frequent and included cases of community leaders requesting money or sex in exchange for guaranteed access to humanitarian aid.
IDPs have been traumatized by the conflict. Stories of women who had witnessed the killing of their husbands and sons were common. Men reported feelings of uselessness and emotional distress leading to excessive alcohol consumption.
To adequately address the needs of those affected by the conflict and displacement in Cabo Delgado, CARE conducted a conflict sensitive RGA. The RGA contributes to increasing understanding of how women, men, girls and boys have been differently impacted by the crisis.
Ultimately, the findings of the RGA aim to inform humanitarian actors’ programming and provide practical recommendations that can be highly impactful.
• Loss of livelihoods and lack of income generating opportunities are a factor in increasing GBV within the home.
• Sexual exploitation and abuse in the context of food distributions and other humanitarian assistance, especially linked to beneficiary registration, is not uncommon.
• IDPs’ mobility is severely constrained, especially women and girls’, due to safety concerns, resettlement centres’ remoteness and lack of civil identification documents.
• Constrained access to land, especially for women, exposes them to higher levels of dependency on humanitarian aid and protection risks.
• Combination of scarcity of water resources with absence of public lighting in resettlement camps is a major security concern for women and girls.
• Men are usually registered as recipients of food. Reports of men withholding food and other humanitarian assistance from their families to sell/exchange for other goods is not infrequent, thereby affecting women and children’s access to food.
• Community decision-making structures within resettlement centres are dominated by men and noninclusive of women, increasing the likelihood of decisions that are gender insensitive and harmful to the community.