Women’s contribution in protecting and rebuilding their communities before and after disasters strike their communities should be recognised and appreciated accordingly.
This was urged by the EAC secretary general, Ambassador Dr Richard Sezibera over the weekend when marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), which is organized every year on October 13, though this year celebrated on October 12.
This year’s theme is “Women and Girls-The invisible force of resilience”. The aim of IDDR is to acknowledge and appreciate millions of women and girls who make their communities more resilient to disasters and climate change risks and thus to reap the benefits of and protect their development investments.
Too much of the work and achievements of women is of low-visibility–taken for granted. The 2012 IDDR theme draws attention to the fact that women’s contributions to protect and rebuild their communities before and after disasters are often unrecognized.
The secretary general further said women should be allowed to participate in the crafting of policies designed to mitigate the effects of disasters.
It is the most widely observed day for raising awareness about disaster risk reduction, creating social demand, and mobilizing the wider public to get involved and take ownership of the processes to create disaster resilience.
Sezibera said, “As we join the rest of the World in celebrating this day, we remain focused on the key drivers of vulnerabilities in the region, which includes climate change impacts, urban disasters, environmental degradation and dependency on rain-fed agriculture among others with a view to create mechanism to address them.”
“Too often, women and girls are portrayed as just passive victims of disasters. Yet they are the ones with unique skills and expertise which must be used and reflected in national policies and actions. It is essential to make use of the experience and knowledge women and girls have when addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation,” he added.
“The EAC Secretariat will endeavor to empower women and girls to fully contribute to sustainable development through disaster risk reduction, particularly in the areas of environmental and natural resource management, governance, and urban and land use planning and social and economic planning”.
The EAC Secretariat has instituted several mechanisms to address the disasters and vulnerabilities in the region. Indeed this International disaster reduction day coincides with the ongoing validation workshop on the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Strategy (EAC DRRMS) held in Arusha and ended on October 12, this year.
By LUSEKELO PHILEMON, The Guardian