UN disaster management project targeting women and Kamarang
Several UN agencies are collaborating on a project to bolster disaster management capacity in Guyana and Dominica with specific focus on women and Kamarang in Region Seven has been selected.
According to a release on Reliefweb, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and its Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) are currently working with the UNDP and national stakeholders on a three-year project.
In September 2018, the release said that UNITARUNOSAT took the first concrete step toward implementing an Early Warning System (EWS) for floods in Guyana by undertaking a scoping mission to meet project partners and key stakeholders from national ministries.
The release said that the mission team composed of UNOSAT and implementing partner CIMA staff met with the Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Director Chief of Hydromet (under the Ministry of Agriculture), the Senior Gender Affairs Officer of the Ministry of Social Protection and representatives from other UN agencies.
In addition, a multi-stakeholder workshop took place to consult various technical officials and relevant key
stakeholders. The meetings provided an opportunity to assess the needs and challenges relating to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and EWS activities. Technical gaps and available capacity within the country were also analysed with a view to developing a national flood forecasting chain and targeting appropriate agencies to ensure a sustainable handover after the 3-year project. In this context, the release said that capacity development activities will be delivered to achieve expected outcomes and aid the key national stakeholders in Guyana with maintaining and running the model to provide early warnings for areas at risk of flooding.
In an effort to potentially pilot the EWS, the release said that the UNDP selected an area that is highly exposed to flooding: Kamarang in the Cuyuni/Mazaruni. A field visit there allowed the teams to examine weather stations, participate in a disaster risk management workshop with community chiefs and a gender focused participatory workshop with the community to discuss the Early Warning System.
The release said that the gender component of the overall project is noteworthy: “women and indigenous groups vulnerable to natural disasters are the priority beneficiary groups we are trying to reach. Indeed, unfortunately women in the agricultural sector in Guyana are disproportionately affected by the loss of assets and crops after a disaster because they are often involved in smaller scale, more remote activities despite having increased reproductive and community responsibilities. A social norm also considers men as producers with control over assets and businesses whereas women process, market and benefit from goods. The project aims not only to reduce women’s vulnerability to disasters; the gender analysis will also inform policies that seek to reduce unequal roles between men and women within the agricultural sector and beyond”.