Many refugees and displaced women do not have enough
food to eat before they flee or during their journey. When
they arrive at a new settlement, there still may not be enough
food. Or there may not be enough different kinds of food to
provide a nutritious diet.
You may be able to improve your diet if you:
• get involved in food distribution. Food should be given
directly to women, because men may not be as familiar
with the family’s needs. Also, women are more likely to
feed their families with the food they receive than trade it
for weapons or alcohol.
Basic Needs 449
➤ Malnutrition is one
of the leading causes
of death for refugee
• demand that women get the same amount of food as men
and eat at the same time.
• fight for extra food for pregnant women, women who are
breastfeeding, and women who are malnourished or sick.
• make sure that women have cooking pots and utensils.
• share cooking tasks with other women. Even if food is
prepared in a central place, women can stay involved. This
will give them some control over their family’s diet.
Emergency Food Distribution
Even in emergency situations, food distribution should involve women. This
honors the important role women have had in food management. In Kenya, for
example, Oxfam has tried to strengthen traditional social roles by distributing
food directly to women. Food is distributed in an open place, overseen by an
elected committee of elders. Women are encouraged to give their opinions
about what is being done. This kind of food distribution will continue until the
local food supply improves.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012