PRESS RELEASE: NOVEMBER 2016
Women and Girls at the forefront of drought and climate change
The sheer desperation to provide for their families causes some women to resort to survival sex or other forms of exploitative behavior in return for money and food. CARE’s research also suggests an increase in child marriage, with families aiming to reduce the number of dependents in the family or cover expenses through the payment of a bride price.
- There is a new trend for women to migrate, leaving behind children in the care of grandparents. Furthermore, many men who traditionally migrate in search of seasonal work on farms and mines in South Africa were unable to return or send remittances to cover household expenses due to the fact that Southern Africa also feels the severe impact of drought. 70% of men and women have stated that their migration is due to lack of food, drought conditions or lack of water.
- Existing and new strategies to cope with the drought have high environmental and social costs. Families are increasingly taking up the production and sale of local beers to generate income. Some add locally brewed beer to the diet of their children to minimize hunger symptoms for their younger children. Prior to the drought families’ coping strategies included seasonal migration, harvesting of wood and production of charcoal.
- Women and girls have reduced access to water for consumption and personal hygiene. Access to sanitary supplies for menstrual hygiene has become a challenge, as traditionally used absorbent plant material is now scarcer. Women and girls are not able to purchase sanitary pads due to lack of resources so many have now resorted to using harsher plant matter or packed sand to keep clean during their period.
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