Addressing Needs of Women and Children in Protracted Humanitarian Crises

Partnership Objectives

  1. Sierra Leone – protect the health of mothers and children by improving healthcare quality both in their local communities and at healthcare centers.
  2. Northern Uganda – Protect the health of adolescent girls and reduce the risk of infant deaths by increasing communities' awareness of adolescent sexual and reproductive health services and driving demand for those services.
  3. Central African Republic – Provide basic healthcare, education, and GBV services to women with the aim to reduce morbidity and mortality in women and children in the affected areas.

In humanitarian crises, particularly the complex humanitarian crises borne from political unrest and long-standing armed conflict, the most vulnerable are women and children. In humanitarian crises, particularly the complex humanitarian crises borne from political unrest and long-standing armed conflict, the most vulnerable are women and children. Copyright Willie Davis/Johnson & Johnson

What are the health needs and challenges?

There are many complex humanitarian crises around the world resulting from political unrest, civil wars, regional famine, and other events that disrupt countries and societies. Many of these are referred to as “silent emergencies” because they are not on the radar of the media and hence not a focus for most donors and funders. In humanitarian crises, particularly the complex humanitarian crises borne from political unrest and long-standing armed conflict, the most vulnerable are women and children.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Johnson & Johnson committed to work with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide assistance to the women and children that are disproportionately impacted in these situations.

The IRC has been working in very difficult situations addressing the needs of displaced populations in complex humanitarian crises since WWII.

  • Responding to crisis and restoring safety
    Arriving on the scene within 72 hours of an emergency’s onset, the IRC brings urgently needed supplies and expertise to aid people caught in the midst of chaos.
  • Healing the sick and preventing disease
    During a crisis and in its aftermath, the IRC sends teams of doctors and other experts to provide immediate health care, sanitation and clean water.
  • Rebuilding communities and renewing dignity
    The IRC makes the long-term commitment needed to help people to restore their shattered communities and work together toward a peaceful future.
  • Protecting and empowering women and girls
    The IRC provides reproductive health care to mothers, supports survivors of sexual violence, and creates economic opportunities for women and girls who face enormous obstacles.
  • Taking care of children and reuniting families
    The IRC reunifies families separated by conflict and catastrophe, and provides education and recreation programs to help children recover from trauma.

The IRC’s unofficial motto is first in, last out. They respond quickly when humanitarian disasters erupt and continue providing lifesaving assistance as the media spotlights turn elsewhere. As a crisis progresses, different needs emerge.

J&J's support is very flexible and works with the IRC to address the specific needs as they arise. For instance, early on in a crisis, basic needs like food and water, shelter, and basic healthcare are needed. As unrest subsides and peace is restored, other needs around rebuilding civil society needs to be addressed. Subsequently, displaced populations need to be re-integrated into their communities through livelihood and skills training, reducing stigma, and community engagement, etc.

Summary of impact through December 2013 and forward looking information

  • Delivered 14,837 malaria treatments to children in Sierra Leone;
  • Helped 3,999 Sierra Leonean mothers deliver their babies safely;
  • Trained community facilitators in Uganda to lead gender equality discussion groups for 391 women and their spouses;
  • Convened 24 IRC field staff and technical experts from 12 countries for a capacity building conference on reproductive health; and
  • Provided health care to 186,588 people in Central African Republic.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Johnson & Johnson

Partner(s) International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Type of Partner(s) NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Other, Women and Children's Health, Mental and Neurological Disorders

Disease(s) Children's Health, Family Planning, Sexual & Reproductive Health, General Health, Mental Disorders, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Emergency Aid, Health System Infrastructure - Development of Physical Infrastructure, Health System Infrastructure - Training

Targeted Population(s) Children, Women

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 3

Country(ies) Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Uganda

Start Date 2010

More information J&J Worldwide Contributions Program

Completed date 2012