This report draws on the findings of a two-year HPG research project on ‘Dignity in displacement: from rhetoric to reality’. The goal of the project was not to define dignity, but to understand what it meant to affected people in different places, with different cultures and at different times. It explores how refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and returnees in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Lebanon, the Philippines and South Sudan understand dignity, and whether (and how) they feel that their dignity has been upheld in displacement.
It then compares their understanding with that of humanitarian workers in these responses, analysing what this means for humanitarian policy, programme design and implementation more broadly, and the localisation agenda more specifically.
It suggests six recommendations for incorporating dignity into a humanitarian response including:
- Invest time and resources in listening to the affected population from the start of the response, and use this information to inform project design and implementation.
- Use more face-to-face communication, especially in the assessment phase of the humanitarian response, and pay attention to what means of communication are appropriate at each stage.
- To better understand the local culture and language, include anthropologists, sociologists, translators and others in the response, who can help in understanding the affected population and the dynamics of their situation.
- Invest in programmes that promote self-reliance, where possible, and encourage more participation by affected communities in project design and implementation.
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This paper is one of a series of thematic reviews produced by the Fund Manager of the Girls’ Education Challenge, an alliance led by PwC, working with organisations including FHI 360, Nathan Associates and Social Development Direct.
The Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) was set up to support improved attendance and learning for up to one million marginalised girls and has provided the opportunity to develop evidence on what works in girls’ education. Overall across a number of GEC projects, evidence was found of communities’ motivation, investment and commitment to educate their children, for example donating land, raising funds for bursaries and increasing their workload to pay for school fees. In general, GEC projects have not found communities are opposed to the principle of girls’ education, but that their support interacts with other norms that can make it harder for girls to attend school and learn. In particular, there is a perceived (or actual) low return for the family as the investment is sometimes considered to be lost when girls get married.
There are several key considerations for practitioners and policy makers in light of the literature and GEC findings; projects implementing community interventions should target the most prevalent and relevant attitudes and behaviours rather than generic ones, and projects should be prepared to adapt activities where required, recognising that norms are affected by changes in context and power dynamics.
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South Sudan, the newest country in the world, has some of the lowest educational indicators globally. Girls particularly struggle to achieve educational milestones, with very few of those who complete primary school continuing onto secondary education. In 2016, 128,000 girls started primary education, but only 2,700 completed secondary.
The project: The Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) project – funded by the UK’s Department for International Development – aims to change this, so that all girls can go to, stay in, and achieve at school. A consortium-based five-year-long initiative (2013-2018) of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, GESS aims to transform the lives of a generation of children in the country – especially girls – through education.
Midline research found that listeners of the radio programme Our School – which seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of education and tackle associated barriers – had more knowledge of South Sudan’s education system, had been more involved in education, and had budgeted for and discussed education with girls or daughters more than non-listeners.
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Innovation involves applying information, imagination and initiative to get greater or different value from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful processes or products.
These case studies showcase some of the innovative ideas that are being implemented by Oxfam in six countries: Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Each project was selected for its potential to bring greater impact in the future. They include turning ‘excrement into income’ in urban slums in Kenya; giving citizens a voice through empowering them to use their mobile phones to report and share information on justice issues in Rwanda; and using a logistical ‘hub’ in Uganda to enhance service delivery and cost-effectiveness across a region.
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