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Published by: UNHCR_Thailand on Jun 13, 2013
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Research Paper No. 228
After the deluge:gender and early recoveryhousing in Sindh, Pakistan
Shaheen Ashraf Shah
Department of SociologyUniversity of Warwick United KingdomE-mail: shani.ashraf9@gmail.comJanuary 2012
Policy Development and Evaluation Service
Policy Development and Evaluation ServiceUnited Nations High Commissioner for RefugeesP.O. Box 2500, 1211 Geneva 2SwitzerlandE-mail: hqpd00@unhcr.orgWeb Site: www.unhcr.org
These papers provide a means for UNHCR staff, consultants, interns and associates, as wellas external researchers, to publish the preliminary results of their research on refugee-related issues. The papers do not represent the official views of UNHCR. They are also availableonline under ‘publications’ at <www.unhcr.org>.ISSN 1020-7473
Experience shows that understanding gender dynamics in disaster-struck communities is acentral aspect of effective relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation. In a disaster, women, girlsand vulnerable groups potentially experience a higher risk of being excluded frommainstream developmental processes and practices. It is argued that following ‘gender approaches can assist in the understanding and profiling of vulnerable groups, in channellingresources to those most in need, and in the mobilization of the capacities of a significant proportion of the population that is often under-estimated’ (Graham, 2001).During 2010 and 2011, Pakistan experienced a series of catastrophic floods throughout theregion, compounding existing difficulties and causing conditions to go from bad to worse.Sindh was the worst affected province, where people that were already recovering from the2010 mega-floods, chronic poverty and vulnerability, were further marginalised as a result of the 2011 floods. Women, the elderly, minority groups, differently abled people and childrenwere among those hit hardest.This study examines and evaluates the gender aspects of the early recovery housing/one- tworoom shelters provided by humanitarian organizations to replace the destroyed houses of theaffected population in two districts (Dadu and Thatta) of Sindh Province. It draws examplesfrom the field in order to understand the experiences of the vulnerable, especially women, inundergoing gendered housing programs and projects. In doing so, this study empiricallyverifies to what extent gender needs and concerns are taken into account in early recoveryshelters by following Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
The shelter projects/programs were selected for gender analysis, because, in mostcommunities, women bear the primary responsibility for household chores, and therefore, thedesign of the sites and shelters must reflect women’s needs and should be undertaken withthem. Results show that neglecting gender aspects can be problematic, if systematic participatory assessment and analyses are not undertaken with all those involved.gender guidelines as theminimum response benchmark.The assessments and evaluations followed a deductive analysis based on a mixed methodsapproach for data collection, such as a desk review of secondary literature, in-depthqualitative individual and group interviews, direct observation during field visits, as well asthe outcomes of relief and recovery responses. This paper is structured as follows: it firstdiscusses flood contexts and women in disasters in Pakistan. Next, a literature review is provided regarding gender and disaster, with a special focus on engendering humanitarianresponse, women and housing.The paper then goes on to explain the research methodology, detailing profiles of thecommunities and organizations under review. Before concluding, a thorough gender analysisis provided explaining major findings of the study. Finally, this paper concludes bydescribing its conclusions and recommendations in the light of the study findings.
IASC is the primary mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. It is a unique foruminvolving the key UN and non-UN humanitarian partners.

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