AN ANALYSIS OF THE CHALLENGES AND COPING STRATEGIES OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED WOMEN IN THE BUEA MUNICIPALITY
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The phenomenon of internal displacement has become a topical issue in recent times and is caused by a whole lot of factors among which are; conflict and violence, natural disasters (earthquakes, floods etc.), persecution, militancy etc. this situation comes up with a whole lot of challenges for the displaced persons. The situation is even worse for women who due to gender inequality are extremely vulnerable in displaced situations.
The main objective of the study was to analyse the challenges and coping strategies of internally displaced women in the Buea Municipality. The sample size of this study was 100 (specifically IDP women above 18 years of age) and the respondents were sampled purposively. The questionnaire and interview guide were instruments for data collection. Data was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively using frequency distribution tables and statistical package for social sciences (SPSS).
Making use of the People Oriented Planning framework and the Capacities and Vulnerabilities analysis framework, the findings show that, internal displacement is a problem that has brought about several challenges to women such as; poverty, hunger, low standards of living, frustration, joblessness, school dropout, health complications, low income and household consumption, over population in host communities, increase crime wave, destruction of infrastructure and heavy workload on women because of their gender role. Internal Displacement has also heightened gender issues like male domination and subordination, discrimination and inequality. As coping strategies, IDP women in the Buea Municipality tend to source support from family, engage in farming and other social activities, and receive aid from governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The study thus recommends; sensitising the entire public on the challenges of internal displacement and the engendering of IDP policies to alleviate the challenges of both women and men. The study also recommends that IDPs be granted scholarships, jobs, allowances, training centres, education and health facilities to help them address the challenges that come with the IDP status. Special efforts should be made to reduce the rate of gender inequality which is usually excercibated during crisis situations.