UNFPA Pacific supports drought-affected women and girls in Tuvalu – Tuvalu
Extended La Nina in the South Pacific region has impacted rainfall in Tuvalu, and there are fears that increasing water scarcity within Tuvalu communities will have a disproportionate negative impact on women, girls and children. other vulnerable populations. UNFPA, the UN Agency for Sexual and Reproductive Health, is supporting the Government of Tuvalu in the drought response, including the integration of integrated gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health measures into response, and calling on humanitarian/development partners for concerted action and increased assistance in this regard.
Tuvalu’s islands of Nanumea, Niutao, Nui experienced drought. Naumaga, Nukufetau and Funafuti Islands are on high alert, and three outer islands of Vaitupu, Nukulaelae, Niulatika are also being closely watched. According to Tuvaluan authorities, the rainfall forecast for August and September 2022 is expected to be below normal. Drought, like all other humanitarian emergencies, affects people differently. For women and girls in Tuvalu – who make up 48% of the population – this can mean an increased risk of violence, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and reduced access to resources. The evidence shows that limited access to clean water will indeed increase intimate partner violence and other gender-based violence. The recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2019-2020 indicated that 38.1% of Tuvaluan women served (aged 15-49) have experienced physical violence and 15.7% have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime . In the 2007 Tuvalu Demographic Health Survey, 47% of women surveyed said they had experienced violence.
In response to the drought in Tuvalu, UNFPA Pacific offered technical assistance to address gender-based violence in emergencies (GBViE), including integrating GBV-related assessment questions into tools assessment and development of key advocacy messages on GBViE, as well as providing support to civil society and local organizations to review existing GBV referral pathways to adapt to the drought context . The systematic provision of quality services and information and the strengthening of national mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) capacities to these women and girls who are victims of violence are also crucial.
Furthermore, in order to ensure that gender-based violence is not treated as a separate issue but rather integrated as a cross-cutting concern for all sectors, UNFPA with its technical capacity and as the secretariat of the sub -GBV cluster at regional level, stands ready to provide technical and coordination support to integrate and integrate GBV into multi-sector responses to Tuvalu drought response, including for orientation of front line service providers Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) line.
Further away, with a lack of water, women and girls will face increasing challenges in continuing to meet their sexual and reproductive health, menstrual and hygiene needs as well. Menstrual and hygiene supplies may become more difficult to acquire if more emphasis is placed on the physical water supply of sanitation within households and communities. To help menstruating people manage their periods safely and with dignity, UNFPA stands ready to deploy Dignity Kits, Menstrual Hygiene Management Kits, Dignity Kits for Women with Disabilities, and supplies and interagency reproductive health commodities, in collaboration with UNICEF and other development partners.
UNFPA’s support to the drought response in Tuvalu is part of its Accelerated Pacific initiative to advance humanitarian preparedness and response in the region, with a particular focus on GBV risk mitigation, GBViE coordination and continuity of essential services during emergencies. Much of this area of UNFPA Pacific support has been made possible through the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
UNFPA appreciates the Government of Tuvalu for its strong leadership and management oversight in ensuring timely and effective measures are taken for the drought response, and stands ready to offer its support to minimize risks, building resilience and ensuring the well-being and dignity of vulnerable people. groups, especially women and girls.