During disasters, affected populations often face challenges that material assistance alone cannot adaquately address. For example, conflicts or natural disasters often separate families, disrupting normal care-giving for children, the elderly, and disabled persons. Displacement, loss of family members, or disruption of livelihoods may increase vulnerability to violence, exploitation, and abuse for men, women, and children. Conflict exposes some people to harmful threats from attacks or landmines. Disaster-affected populations confront protection challenges like these in many countries throughout the world. In response, USAID/OFDA supports stand-alone protection activities aimed at minimizing the risks and addressing the effects of harm, exploitation, and abuse, as well as by working with implementing partners to incorporate protection principles into all other relief activities through protection mainstreaming.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, USAID/OFDA provided more than $30 million to 25 U.N. agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for stand-alone protection activities in 14 countries, addressing child protection, gender-based violence, psychosocial support services, and protection coordination and advocacy. Between October 2009 and May 2010, USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $13.5 million for protection activities in 11 countries, including Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe.