Cordaid: WOMEN AT THE FRONT LINE - reducing disaster risk - Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

13:13 Oct 1 2012 Dire Dawa, Ethiopia

Cordaid wants to mainstream and further intensify a solid gender sensitive perspective in its disaster risk reduction objectives. Implicit to Cordaid’s community managed disaster risk reduction programme people are involved that reflect the composition of the community: men, women, young people, elders and more. Still, getting women involved appears at times challenging. If women are present in certain committees, this does not necessarily mean that they are actively contributing. The challenge then remains to assure women are actually actively participating.
One solution that Cordaid has implemented is to set up separate women’s committees. Amongst themselves, women often feel more comfortable to raise their voice. A representative of the women’s committee, for example an older, powerful woman, can then reflect the opinion of the women when discussing disaster risk reduction with other village committees.
In 2006, Cordaid started its community managed disaster risk reduction in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
Safo: "CMDRR project helped us to organize ourselves into Self Help Groups (SHGs). In our saving group, which has 20 members, we meet once a week, save money and take out loans. We built stone bund terraces and planted seedlings and transferred them to the hill. And within two years, we managed to rehabilitate the hills that we had left ragged and barren. The terraces kept the water from running down the hills thereby preventing erosion and allowing water to percolate. ‘The CMDRR project gave me and 50 other victims of the flood training on how to fatten sheep and goats and support our livelihood in the process. They also gave us four heads of sheep. I fattened the sheep and sold two of them for 1300 birr. With the money, I began to buy tomatoes in large boxes and sell at retail price right there in the market. I found this profitable; I could then feed my children and managed to send them to school."

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