Gender integration in disaster preparedness planning : a case of World Vision South Africa in Limpopo
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World-wide, disasters and hazards do not affect people of the same society in the same way. Depending on the nature of the hazard, some groups tend to suffer more consequences than others. The differences in disaster and hazard experiences generally depend on the context that relate to socio-economic order, culture and religion of a given society. These factors exist as sources of disparity in vulnerabilities among people living within the same society which, when disasters strike they suffer the consequences differently. In light of the disparities, inequalities and increased vulnerabilities experienced by women, men, girls and boys in disasters, there is a need to acknowledge the necessity for disaster preparedness plans with a gender integration focus. This is crucial in order to reduce gender based vulnerabilities in disaster contexts. This study therefore focuses on gender integration as a tool for disaster risk reduction. It seeks to determine the current extent of gender integration in disaster preparedness planning conducted by World Vision South Africa in Limpopo. World Vision, Learning through Evaluation with Accountability & Planning (LEAP) guidelines and gender toolkits together with semi-structured interviews were used to determine the degree of gender integration in the organisation’s effort to achieve disaster risk reduction. Results of this study emphasise the significance of having gender analysis as a crucial element of any program or project assessment. This is in order to identify gendered vulnerabilities and create a platform for gender integration. Additionally, the findings support the idea of viewing disasters as social phenomena which, can be reduced or curbed through social changes in structures which influence distribution of power, resources and wealth. The study highlights the importance of disaster practitioners’ perspectives about disasters and the value of knowledge relating to root causes, dynamic pressures and unsafe conditions which cause disparity in vulnerabilities within given contexts. This will harness society to be more proactive rather than take reactive action in responding to disasters. As a result, help to maximize their participation in disaster risk reduction. Such participation has potential to create a platform for gender integration to achieve disaster risk reduction.