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We are trying to develop this in to a broader and richer discussion. So if you have any experiences in working to strengthen women against the adverse effects of disasters and climate change, or if you have come across with any interesting case studies or stories, please share with us..!
Also feel free to forward this to your collogues who are interested.
Great iniciative. Keep it up….!
yes indeed, I think the involvement of “women” should be expanded in the DRR and Climate change adaptation processes beyond being recognized as “victims” Therefor I think this is a good initiative to go ahead with. Can you explain us what is “HFA” and “Global Platform” and how is it related to gender?
Thank you Tharshini,
Here are answers to your questions in brief.
The letters HFA stand for “hyogo Framework for Action” which is a global alliance on the standards on Disaster Risk Reduction. It is the first plan to explain, describe and detail the work that is required from all different sectors and actors to reduce disaster losses. It was developed and agreed on with the many partners globally which including – governments, international agencies, disaster experts and many others. This was agreed upon in the year of 2005 as a 10 year plan, and currently; discussion are going on, to evaluate the progress made over a decade and take forward the commitments made.
You will find more information in the following link: http://www.unisdr.org/we/coordinate/hfa
The Global Platform is a biennial forum for information exchange, discussion of latest development and knowledge on disaster risk organized by the UNISDR, the UN’s office for disaster risk reduction and secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
Hi Mathi, i think of sharing a strategy we used to increase women participation in DRR activities during our DIPECHO project implementation by Practical Action and OxfamGB…
In Mannar, under the DIPECHO VI we had to work with 44 GN divisions where almost 95% of the population was resettled. The divisions are mostly vulnerable to floods and drought. Male used to go for day to day labor work as most of their original livelihoods were yet to settle. So women had to take care of the children and household most of the time. The project had to conduct all its awareness, planning and all other DRR related actions in the day time due to the security and, other logistical restrictions (electricity etc).
It was clear women are the most important group at these villages and had very limited time to participate in the DRR events. The project employed couple of strategies to increase participation while not disturbing the local requirements and situations.
Strategy 01 ; splitting the programs to smaller time slots; this was effective in calling the village community to participate for 2-3 hr programs specially the afternoons. Normally the programs and assessments takes more than a day to complete but the team worked to shorten the time and conducted the session for 3-4 days in short time spans. This increases the participation of the women and elderly considering the time selection and duration.
Strategy 02; children play and learning space at the place of program; project managed to print big size(10’x10’) DRR games for children, so the children who are coming with their parents for the programme can play the game in the compound while the parents can concentrate on the DRR actions. This activity increased the DRR awareness among the children aswell as increased the participation of women..
these are two small adjustments we made to the program but was very effective in increasing women participation, which is very vital as in that context be believe they are the immediate respondents to hazards and CA..
Thank you Lafir…!
I think this is exactly what we should bring forward and promote on our way to post 2015 framework; the strategies of improving practice. In other words trying to find answers to the “HOW” question. Gender dynamics being so deep rooted in our social systems make it very much challenging for the practitioners even to make a smallest change. It demands a lot of effort and innovativeness base on through understanding on the context to make such an initiative of increasing participation of women in the decision making process.
All these thoughts of women participating in DRR activities and its importance is wonderful and the two strategies pursued – as explained by Lafir makes one feel good and outcomes reflect the commitment of those engaged in projects.
However, there is a need for more concerted efforts to come to the fore to ensure that the vulnerabilities of women, children and other disadvantaged groups are reduced and for this to happen. Firstly, there is a need for institutions to internalize the importance of these groups not as people they are supporting to get out of a crisis but to feel that they are citizens in society who have a right to protection, development, etc. etc..
Let us look at the interventions in the North and East of Sri Lanka during the past four years and the amount of resources spent. How many of the 65000 plus women headed households and the children therein have benefitted from these interventions. Perhaps it will be a good starting point to collate all the information of all the participating institutions in the North and East development as reflected through their annual reports and put the figures together along with the claims made as – “Outcome” or “Impacts” and then see the realities – “especially the benefits to the 65000 plus women headed families” as it stands today and we are in for a lot surprise for sure.
Basically, the question of gender has to be addressed from a human rights perspective and not from a charity perspective. For this to change the gender questions and approaches within development scene itself needs to change and this would mean lot of changes in mindsets across the board. Let us hope that more women are able to engage and participate in development discourses to make their voices heard – meaning how they see development of communities.
Till then groups will talk…. put on paper……the rhetoric will continue ……reality will remain the same…. Let us look at the 65000 plus women headed families and their status in another five years and see the meaning offered to gender by different groups and we will be in for more surprises…..
Looks like the discussion is going great. Good work!! 🙂
Hi Shyam, my question is to you. Can you clarify what do you mean by “the need for the institutions to internilize the importance of the vulnerable groups”? So, when you say internalization that you are referring, which involves a great deal of attitude change or a change in perception. Will you be able to explain it a little further? Thank you.
I am talking about institutions rethinking their commitment to gender based interventions and whether they are relevant and how they could think differently to ensure that the vulnerability which is aggravated through structured practices and values can be confronted and dealt with…… without taking convenient routes and approaches……
Thanks for writing to us.
I really like the way you have phrased the need of taking the gender and vulnerability interests beyond the charity approach. Most of us are still reluctant to accept (or may be haven’t realized yet) that women do have a role to play in decision making in DRR and development. May be starting to collect gender disaggregate data will be an eye opener to the bodies of administration simply because “differentiated facts and figures” will be easier to be explained than an “ abstract theory”, but my concern is whether this will have any disadvantage over the attempt of strengthening of the “rights based approach? ”
If you look at the interventions and the final cumulative figures they will tell you a story which will ensure that the different institutions cannot hide behind the individual figures…..for it will tell you that not much has changed in the life of the vulnerable groups for all that money spent……lot can be done in terms of thinking of approaches and strengthening them but …….things need to change where it matters……..
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