WiHRiNI Presents Success Story Of Gender-Sensitive And Socially Inclusive DRR Action

The Network Coordinator of the Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative (WiHRiNI), Mimidoo Achakpa on Thursday was among the Panelists that presented their success stories on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) at the 21st session of the African Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (AWGDRR) in Kigali- Rwanda. Achakpa presented WiHRiNI’s experiences at community levels; which is based on the “gender sensitive and socially inclusive DRR action” and how the African Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (AWGDRR) can support CSOs, as well as how the CSOs can in turn contribute to the AWG through knowledge, skills etc.

Here is the full text of Achakpa’s responses;

1.Can you share one success story of gender sensitive and socially inclusive DRR action?-

In the communities of Adamawa, Benue, Kogi and Taraba States of Nigeria where we work, one compelling success story is the implementation of community-based early warning systems in flood-prone areas. We collaborate with the State Emergency Management Agencies, The Ministries of Women Affairs, Environment and in (Benue Ministries of Water Resources and climate change,Humanitarian Affairs) local government authrorities and local communities, who often are disproportionately affected by disasters recognising that  women have unique knowledge and roles within their communities that can contribute significantly to disaster preparedness and response. We facilitate training sessions and workshops specifically tailored to women, empowering them with knowledge about disaster preparedness, including early warning signs and evacuation procedures. Through these actions we also provides women with leadership roles in managing and disseminating early warnings to their communities. We also ensure that early warning systems are accessible and inclusive to all community members, regardless of age, gender, or socio economic status. This involves using various communication channels such as text messages, community meetings, radio broadcasts to reach the widest audience possible.

As a result of these localized efforts, when heavy rains threaten the area with flooding, the early warning systems prove highly effective. Women play a central role in disseminating warnings and coordinating evacuation efforts, leading to fewer casualties and reduced damage to property compared to previous flood events.

Furthermore, the inclusive approach taken by WIHRINI foster greater community cohesion and resilience. Women feel empowered and valued for their contributions to disaster preparedness, leading to stronger social networks and increased trust in local leadership. Our story illustrates the importance of localizing DRR initiatives and empowering local communities particularly women in disaster preparedness and response efforts,by leveraging local knowledge, resources, and leadership, organizations like WIHRINI create more resilient and disaster-resilient communities from the ground up.

3.  How do you engage key DRR stakeholders at the sub-national /local level in a practical manner to deliver national priorities, policies and programmes?

Engaging key stakeholders at the sub-national or local level in disaster risk reduction (DRR) to deliver national priorities, policies, and programs requires a practical and inclusive approach.

  1. Stakeholder identification-such as NEMA, SEMA, relevant Ministries, department and Agencies, local government officials, community leaders, NGOs, Media, academia private sector and affected communities
  2. Gain a deep understanding of the local context, including prevalent risks, vulnerabilities, capacities, and existing DRR initiatives, to help tailor engagement strategies to the specific needs of communities
  3. Establish and nurture relationships with key stakeholders through regular communication, networking events, and partnership-building activities. Engage with local leaders and community representatives to build trust and rapport
  4. Use participatory approaches to involve stakeholders in decision-making processes related to DRR. Organize workshops, focus group discussions, and community meetings to solicit input, gather feedback, and co-create solutions
  5. Offer training and capacity-building opportunities to enhance the skills and knowledge of local stakeholders in DRR principles, methodologies, and best practices. Empower them to actively participate in planning, implementation, and monitoring of DRR initiatives
  6. Ensure that decision-making processes are inclusive and representative of all segments of the community, including women, youth, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups. Create space for diverse voices to be heard and valued
  7. Align national priorities, policies, and programs with local needs and aspirations. Adapt and customize national DRR frameworks to fit the specific context and challenges faced by each locality, fostering ownership and buy-in from local stakeholders
  8. Establish clear communication channels to disseminate information, updates, and resources related to DRR to local stakeholders. Encourage open dialogue and feedback mechanisms to address concerns, share lessons learned, and foster continuous improvement
  9. Establish clear communication channels to disseminate information, updates, and resources related to DRR to local stakeholders. Encourage open dialogue and feedback mechanisms to address concerns, share lessons learned, and foster and results
  10. Support local stakeholders in accessing resources, including funding, technical expertise, and equipment, to implement DRR activities effectively. Facilitate partnerships with donors, development agencies, and other stakeholders to mobilize resources at the local level

4. What are the bottlenecks that you experienced in implementing community-based DRR actions?Unequal power dynamics within communities/ different stakeholder groups such as the government agencies and even community members.

  • Scarce financial, human, and technical resources have hindered effective engagement with local stakeholders, particularly in resource-constrained settings where competing priorities exist.
  • Limited awareness about the importance of DRR, coupled with low levels of technical capacity and knowledge among local stakeholders.
  • Cultural norms, language barriers, and communication challenges often create obstacles to effective engagement with diverse stakeholders, particularly in multicultural or multilingual communities
  • Resistance to change or entrenched attitudes and practices have hindered efforts to mobilize community support for DRR initiatives, especially when perceived as disrupting existing social or economic structures.
  • Political instability, corruption, and governance challenges have undermined our efforts to engage with local stakeholders and implement sustainable DRR interventions, particularly in conflict-affected or fragile contexts e.g Madagali and Michika of Adamawa State.

4. How can AWG-DRR support you in addressing these?

  • Incorporate and implement the Gender Action Plan which was launched March of this year to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030
  • Establish National chapters to encourage the following:-
  • Research and data collection efforts to generate gender-disaggregated data on disaster risks and vulnerabilities. This involves conducting gender-sensitive risk assessments, impact evaluations, and case studies to inform evidence-based decision making.
  • Fostering partnerships and collaboration among government agencies, NGOs, academia, and civil society organizations to pool resources, share expertise, and coordinate efforts in conducting gender-sensitive risk analysis.
  • Raising awareness among policymakers, donors, and the general public about the importance of gender-sensitive risk analysis in DRR. Advocacy efforts should emphasize the potential benefits of integrating gender considerations into funding and investment decisions, including improved resilience and sustainability
  • Empowering local communities, especially women and marginalized groups, to participate actively in risk assessment and decision-making processes. Engaging communities in participatory risk mapping exercises can help capture local knowledge and priorities.

5. Please specify one concrete way in which your organization can contribute to the AWGDRR – through knowledge, skills, others? (Maximum 1 minute for each Panellist)

WIHRNI can collaborate with AWGDRR to conduct research and collect disaggregated data in targeted high-risk communities. By sharing our knowledge and experiences, we can help AWGDRR to develop more effective and inclusive approaches to disaster risk reduction that address the specific challenges faced by women, girls, and other vulnerable groups.

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