Strengthening Hazard Resilience: Building Capacity by Empowering Marginalized Women
August 2017 (VOL. 35, NO. 2)
The empowerment of women to promote disaster risk reduction is a global concern. Poverty and gender inequality lead to a significant increase in a woman’s vulnerability to a disaster event, with female loss of life significantly more likely. This article explores the experiences of women living in impoverished migrant settlements in Ghana, and their efforts to overcome natural hazards and man-made crises through the mobilization of local assets and social networks. Using a community-based participatory research approach, a series of focus groups were convened in Greater Accra and the Volta Basin region to gather a comprehensive reporting of the culturally situated strategies used by marginalized women to enhance disaster resiliency. An assessment of two community-based organizations serving this population provided a context to leverage local assets and resources. The women’s experiences informed the development of a resiliency toolkit—the Global Hazard Resilience through Opportunities for Women (GHROW) toolkit—that contains methods for raising awareness, best practices, and capacity building strategies to support women as positive agents of change and leaders in disaster risk reduction.