“Local women’s leadership including leadership by women with disabilities is vital in all stages of disaster management and humanitarian response.”
That is why on the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction the Shifting the Power Coalition amplified the call for enhanced support for women-led early warning, preparedness, protection and recovery – because good disaster risk governance must be gender and disability inclusive.
According to our focal point in Bougainville, Agnes Titus, as women continue to play a significant role in sustaining peace they are also experiencing the impact of the climate crisis: “We need investment in inclusive and appropriate information and communication systems especially for the outer islands, so communities will be prepared, and at the same time we are also investing in the protection of women’s rights enabling women-led, community based protection mechanisms that will continue to build women’s own collective capacity to protect our rights, to secure and sustain our peace and human security.”
Taimalelagi Ramona Tugaga in Samoa agrees that investment in women-led safety and protection, the creation of safe havens is vital. “These are needed so they access information, advice and assistance. A safe haven is an important space for women and girls to be free from sexual and gender-based violence.”
“Our communities are facing huge challenges like relocation and trying to find places to plant pandanus. They are moving further out to sea and spending longer hours trying to catch fish. Our communities are now finding ways and learning to cope with the differences in weather patterns and disasters,” says Lucille Chute a steering committee member from Fiji.
According to Vanessa Heleta, the Executive Director of the Tonga based Talitha Project the impact of climate change is being experienced through the lack of water and sanitation, displacement, migration as well as driving conflict over resources. It is also causing anxiety and distress.
As a result of the Shifting the Power Coalition training workshop the Talitha Project were able to bring together young women and the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) for young women to learn about disaster preparedness and NEMO officials to explore how they can work to empower young women:
“This is very timely, as the 2020/2021 cyclone season arrives. The participants have experiences from Tropical Cyclone Gita and Tropical Cyclone Harold and it’s crucial that they provide their recommendations on how disaster management and humanitarian action can be more disability inclusive.”
The workshop explored ways on how the young women can creatively and proactively influence disaster management systems together.