Nsanje: A women’s rights grouping in Nsanje, Kuchene Women Forum says women are a vital piece in the planning process of disaster risk mitigation and response (DRR) strategy that can address community needs and those of vulnerable groups.
The forum’s Director, Gertrude Kalosi said Tuesday when her organisation organized training on disaster preparedness and response for women drawn from the district’s disaster prone areas.
Kalosi said women are more affected by disasters than men as they are the ones mostly taking care of children, gardens and food for the family.
She further said due to the district’s socio-economic conditions as well cultural beliefs and traditions, women and girls are likely to be more affected during and in the aftermath of disasters through the loss of livelihoods and productive assets.
Women also understand better the consequences the disasters have on their families, villages and their potential long-term impacts.
However, they have inadequate knowledge on the preparedness, response and even recovery. This is the reason Kuchene Women Forum with funding from Action Aid International thought of providing the necessary knowledge on the same, said Kalosi, adding that they want women to be proactive in all aspects of disaster risk reduction.
She said once women are empowered with knowledge on disaster preparedness, they will be able to slot in their issues in the area’s disaster contingency plans which will then be fed into the district disaster contingency plans.
By doing this, Kalosi said issues concerning women will be included in the plans which will then answer their challenges when disasters occur.
In many cases, women have limited access to formal disaster management mechanisms or to any kind of information and resources related to disaster preparedness and prevention, she said adding that the women’s skills, experiences and capabilities are often not adequately identified in times of natural disasters.
Hence, an effective gender-sensitive DRR strategy should take into account women’s vulnerabilities in specific cultures and highlight women’s potential and capabilities in order to prepare, confront, and recover from disasters, she added.
One of the women participants, Meliya Mose who comes from Traditional Authority Mlolo in the district, said the training had provided them with the much needed knowledge on how best they could participate in disaster risk reduction.
She said most women are vulnerable in times of disasters due to lack of capacity to respond effectively which, she said, can only be attained through trainings.
We appreciate the training that has been given to us. It has really targeted the right people, we women and youths. We are sure that if anything happens, we will be able to know what to do, said Mose.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA