ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Disaster Preparedness: Putting Women First!

ActionAid put women at the centre of any disaster risk reduction effort.  All disaster risk reduction and management related work of AAPk is guided by Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) principles and rights agenda. 

Gender based issues and women’s role in disaster risk reduction both in terms of their contribution and accessing essential resources for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) have been prioritized by the communities and the local partners, ActionAid Pakistan works with. 

We believe that disaster has different levels of impact on men and women. 

Moreover, women are more vulnerable as compared to men as they are equipped with different skills and capacities for disaster risk reduction. 

Under this premises, AAPk prioritized those local level disaster management committees which provided equal representation to women. 

The committees were engaged in undertaking poverty vulnerability analysis (PVA) through AA reflection-action process.

Later they were facilitated in development of disaster management and contingency plans. 

Furthermore, the committees were equipped with tools and techniques to launch effective campaign for integration of local contingency plans into government led development plans. 

An interface between the communities and the government departments at local, district, provincial and national levels was facilitated by ActionAid Pakistan. 

These initiatives enabled both women and men from disaster affected/vulnerable communities to take prompt and collective decisions/actions to avert threats of future disasters.

Communities particularly women and their governing institutions have the skills, knowledge, systems and resources to reduce risks and participate in disaster preparedness efforts. 

Furthermore, the government at district level has developed policies, practices and networking with communities in line with its experience of emergency response during 2010 floods. 

Communities have enhanced awareness regarding importance of identifying current and future risks / uncertainties.

35 years old Shamim Akhtar a resident of PD Khan says, 

“I am happy that ActionAid and Anjman Rifah e Ama (ARA) provided us medical support. They organized medical camps in our village. 

Many of the children and elders in my village were in dire need of medical support as many water borne diseases erupted after the floods. 

Similarly, early announcement of flood proved to be a wonderful support for us. Community led monitoring of flood threat initiated by ActionAid and ARA saved us from major disaster.

I have also been part of emergency preparedness training which proved a major breakthrough in putting up resilience against flood emergency. 

Immediately after the floods, ActionAid and ARA conducted research and collected basic need assessment data from us. 

On the basis of collected information, we were provided food items, non-food items, medical support and livestock vaccination.”

One of the immediate consequences of focusing on participation and empowerment during an emergency intervention is a relatively slow inception speed and spending curve. 

However, these are key milestones for ActionAid that communities' participation is essential for decision making, implementation, accountability and sustainibility.