On 14 March 2019, Tropical Cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira City, leaving devastating loss of life and large-scale destruction of assets and infrastructure. In the days that followed, entire villages were submerged as floodwaters rose causing mass displacement. From early on in the response it was clear that certain groups such as female headed-households (FHH), persons with disabilities (PwD), the elderly and children (boys and girls) were some of the most at-risk, both in the immediate response and in recovery. This was further confirmed during this Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA).
CARE had identified four main districts in Sofala province in which to focus its assessment based on planned operational locations: Beira, Dondo (with a focus on Samora Machel), Nhamatanda (with a focus on Mutechira) and Buzi (with a focus on Guara Guara).
The RGA was built up progressively over the data collection period, using 30 focus group discussions (FGDs), 14 key informant interviews (KII), 55 household surveys, and observations, in both rural and urban areas, transit, accommodation centres and with communities. Data collection took place between the 6 and 15 April 2019.
Summary of key findings:
• Livelihoods: For men, women, boys, girls, elderly men and women, their whole lives have changed since the crisis; for example, almost all men and women were previously leading productive lives as caregivers, farmers, informal labour and taking care of the home, while now, 67% of women and 88% of men reported not engaging in any paid activities. Some women and men have restarted small livelihood activities in the transit / accommodation centres, and in their communities however, others are far from their networks and the land they own.
• Shelter and land: Not knowing when they may return, if they will be able to, or would like to return to the same place creates compounding barriers for restarting their lives, particularly in terms of starting up livelihoods, restarting children in schools and creating social networks. For FHHs, the lack of access to land and property is the most significant barrier. In addition, FHHs, including widows, are both the income provider and main caregiver, which bring additional difficulties when it comes to re-constructing their homes on their own.
• Food insecurity and coping strategies: Food insecurity is high in the transit and accommodation centres as well as in the communities. It was clear from the HH survey that men and women are resorting to negative coping strategies to provide for their families, such as limiting portion sizes and reducing their number of meals per days. The quantity and quality of the food at distributions was raised during discussions; with the need to adjust for family size, as well as specific nutritional needs, for example for young children, babies and pregnant and lactating women.
• Access to education: For adolescent girls and boys returning to school is their biggest priority.
Many schools are closed and being used as collective transit centres. Even for those that have reopened, there are still barriers for girls and boys attending, for example, access routes being damaged as a result of the cyclone/floods, a loss of school material, uniform and identification (ID) documents. The recovery of documentation is critical for the registration and re-registration of students, especially if they have been displaced or have moved to different districts. Attendance of girls and boys both dropped since the cyclone/floods. In addition to schools being closed, financial concerns are contributing to children not attending; staying back to support with paid labour.
• Access to safe and dignified WASH facilities: Safe and accessible latrines and bathing facilities were needed across the assessment sites, and the need for appropriate menstrual hygiene management (MHM) materials; and washing, drying or disposal areas was expressed in both communities and centres. A lack of lighting in the communities, accommodation and transit centres (which were largely schools) was a concern, particularly for women and adolescent girls, who requested individual solar lights and neighbourhood lighting. This will improve their overall feelings of safety and access.
• Access to health care: The need for consistent and accessible health services, including maternal care and family planning was clear; either services do not exist or they operate sporadically and are stretched in terms of staff, capacity and consumables.
• Access to information: Face-to-face communication was the far preferred method, as well as mobile phones and radio, for receiving information, providing feedback and reporting complaints.
For the elderly (particularly elderly women) and PwD, barriers in accessing to information and key services is a concern, calling for more inclusive approaches to programming and distributions.
• Safety and protection: Some of the main safety concerns expressed by communities included: safety related to the physical location (e.g. the transit/accommodation centre or community neighbourhood), the environmental hazards (e.g. expecting another cyclone or heavy rain and not having the right protection), theft/robbery, vandalism, harassment, and risk of violence. The lack of clear, trusted and safe reporting channels creates a challenge for women, in particular, to raise issues or concerns.
• Social and cultural support networks/spaces: The need for positive coping outlets was identified in the centres and in communities, through restarting and strengthening existing community groups, particularly for women, as well as creating safe spaces in the centres and communities for women, men, adolescent boys and girls, so they can connect and rebuild, or create new social support systems.
Recommendations (see page 28) have been provided for overall programming, as well as sectors-specific recommendations. The situation is fluid and further RGA’s and more in-depth gender-based violence (GBV) risk assessments will need to be conducted, especially once multi-sectoral programming is operational across the sites, and people continue to return or relocate.