Gender, Cash Assistance, and Conflict: Gendered Protection Implications of Cash and Voucher Assistance in Somalia/Somaliland

Publication Date: 01/09/2019

Protection issues are multi-dimensional in Somalia and Somaliland. Vulnerability is as much about physical violence as it is about drought and chronic food insecurity. The challenges that Somalia, Somaliland, and Puntland face can be roughly categorized into (a) environmental, or climate related, and (b) human-made crises. The recurring droughts of 2016 and 2017 left 5.4 million people in need of assistance and protection. Climate-related emergencies and increased violence with the rise of al-Shabaab and other violent non-state actors has led to migration internally and externally. Conflict shapes gender and protection issues across the region, increasing vulnerability, particularly for already marginalized groups like women, the disabled, and minority clans. The effects of conflict are not homogenous nor evenly distributed. Those living in the central and southern areas of Somalia have been particularly affected by the consequences of war, whereas those in the northeast (Somaliland) have experienced relative peace for almost a decade.

This study followed a five-phase empirical strategy that relied heavily on a multi-method approach. This empirical strategy involved the collection of original qualitative and quantitative data collected in Somaliland, Puntland, and Nairobi. Supplementing this primary data was a rigorous review of project data, ACLED violence datasets, and academic and practitioner literature. Issues which may not have strongly impacted the selected data collection locations— communities in Sool and Mudug—may in fact be some of the most prominent and challenging protection issues throughout Somalia and Somaliland as a whole. A structured review of primary data against the background of secondary data mitigates selection bias, whereby research findings are merely an artifact of the sample chosen to study. In a place like Somalia/land where there are high numbers internally displaced communities, the impact of violence—including gendered violence—is mobile, following survivors as they move from less secure areas to those that are more secure.

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