Rapid Gender Analysis

IPC & Rapid Gender Analysis Pilot – Somalia: Gender, Food Insecurity & Drought

Acute food insecurity (AFI) in Somalia has deepened amidst a prolonged humanitarian crisis that is further amplified by the climate crisis, conflict, disease outbreaks, and the ripple effect of government instability. The interconnection between gender equality and food security on the local, national, and global level is well established; wider gaps in gender inequality in the public and private sphere heighten the likelihood of food insecurity within a country.1 Yet most global data sets on food insecurity are not disaggregated by sex. Primarily, gender-disaggregated approaches have been applied most consistently regarding indicators related to women’s reproductive role – such as anemia in women of childbearing age – and overlook key questions around women’s access to resources, safety,mobility,andparticipation. Thesespheresbroadenthelensofdatatoprovideamoreholistic understanding of the experience of food insecurity, and most importantly, can inform strategic responses that target the needs of the most vulnerable. Thus, this objective Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) is to strengthen and operationalize mixed methodologies that integrate gender analysis into global food security measurement systems, such as the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Phase Classification (IPC), to account for the differential vulnerabilities of men and women and provide concrete and actionable recommendations that inform both the process of data collection and the implementation of more effective humanitarian programming. This study was conducted from February 25 to March 11, 2023 and focused on four districts in Somalia, each situated within two distinct pastoralist Livelihood Zones.

The Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Phase Classification (IPC) serves as a pivotal analytical instrument, guiding decision-makers in understanding the magnitude and extent of both acute and chronic food insecurity as well as acute malnutrition.2 This assessment, which aligns with international standards, demonstrates a shortfall in the absence of consistently incorporating gender- disaggregated data and analysis, an aspect that is crucial for fostering a more inclusive approach to addressing food and nutrition insecurities globally. The IPC analytical approach comprises of data from governments, UN agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders that have applied the most rigorous and technical methodologies aligned with the IPC Technical Manual 3.1.3 Recognizing the profound impact of gender dynamics on the escalating global acute food and nutrition crises, CARE implemented an adapted strategy that combined both quantitative and qualitative instruments and disaggregated by sex as well as individual and household level data. This pilot study engaged 1,708 respondents, encompassing both women and men, and incorporated quantitative surveys and qualitative data gathering techniques such as key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and individual stories. This synergistic fusion of methods illuminated the complex and diverse experiences of men and women, as well as the underlying themes associated with acute food insecurity in the specified two Livelihood Zones (LZs) and the subsequent four districts. The quantitative component incorporated IPC-approved indicators such as the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), the Household Hunger Scale (HHS), and the reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI), complemented by the WFP's adapted Gender Equality for Food Security (GE4FS) questions. Meanwhile, the qualitative analysis primarily utilized CARE's proven Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) toolkit. Triangulation across quantitative and qualitative data sources underscores the importance of mixed method approaches and enables a more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of the prolonged drought on men and women and the development of more targeted programming that meets the needs of the most vulnerable crisis-affected populations.

Gender inequalities are both a cause of and the result of the differentiated experiences of acute food insecurity. Gender norms and dynamics impact men and women’s social, economic, and political participation, as well as their access to resources and services. When shocks hit, they can both reinforce and exacerbate existing barriers and discriminatory practices and/or create new opportunities and pathways for resilience, adaptation, and recovery. This report notes multiple shifts in gender dynamics that have occurred since the start of the drought that have shaped the capacity of men and women to participate in the drought response and recovery.

Structural inequalities in Somalia are based on the patriarchal clan-based system that is the foundation of social systems. Numerous indicators demonstrate how - from an early age - women are socially positioned to face risks and barriers that significantly reduced their agency in accessing opportunities, participating in household and community decision making and improving living conditions. Simultaneously, men’s roles towards their family defined by customary law and clan systems has been challenged due to the loss of livelihoods that has created increased vulnerability in accessing food and asserting their traditional roles.

The study explores nuanced gender disparities in acute food insecurity experiences within these LZs, highlighting the vulnerabilities exacerbated by the recent drought. The following highlight key findings:

• Gender Disparities in Acute Food Insecurity: There were distinct gender-based discrepancies, particularly in the Hawd LZ. In this LZ, the data indicated that men are facing a higher degree of acute food insecurity compared to women; the majority of women are grappling with conditions corresponding to IPC phase 3 (Crisis) or worse, whereas men are predominantly experiencing hardships consistent with indicative IPC phase 4 (Emergency). Conversely, in the Addun , both groups are contending with similar levels of acute food insecurity, at indicative IPC phase 4 (Emergency).
• Gender Analysis and Cultural Factors: Remarkably, the gender disparity observed in Hawd contradicts the traditional, cultural, and social norms that are prevalent in Somalia, which typically favor men. Thus, gender analysis of qualitative and secondary data provides critical nuance, with qualitative interviews indicating that men and women both generally perceive women as more vulnerable to acute food insecurity. Likewise, interviewees surfaced trends and cultural factors that may have influenced how men and women experienced or perceived acute food insecurity, such as customary eating habits, khat consumption, and humanitarian assistance. Further study is warranted to determine to what extent these factors are shaping IPC analysis in Somalia writ large.
• Severe Acute Food Insecurity: The findings from the study confirm a dire scenario, where over 70% of the population in the surveyed LZs are facing IPC phase 3+ (Crisis) or worse conditions, as confirmed by FIES, HHS, and rCSI outcome indicators. Disturbingly, there are households and individuals within these LZs confronting even more dire acute food insecurity circumstances consistent with IPC phase 5 (Catastrophe) levels.
• Collapse of Livelihoods Impacts Gender Roles: Drought conditions and the associated collapse of core livelihood pathways due to the loss of livestock has severely impacted traditional roles. The near total collapse of pastoralist livelihoods associated with the drought has threatened men’s traditional role of “provider” and has led some men to report strong feelings of mental health distress. Women have increasingly expanded outside of their traditional roles in the home to seek income opportunities, however, disparities remain that continue to limit their decision-making power at the household and community levels.
• Health Access: Respondents frequently drew connections between the food insecurity and malnutrition situation in their area to the lack of access to basic and life-saving health services. Health services, particularly for pregnant women, were noted by many to be dire, as was the need for better access to clean water to mitigate risks of increased diseases from contaminated sources.
• Protection: Increased tensions within the household due to growing limitations around access to resources heightens risks for gender-based violence within the household, especially as the scope of women’s roles expand around income generation and increased access to humanitarian aid. Culturally accepted practices around early and forced child marriage, as a coping method, also creates added stressors for women and families. Read More...

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