Gendered approach toward Disaster Risk Reduction: case study of Chobe District, Botswana
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Available research shows an increase in the frequency and intensity of weather and climate-related hazards across the globe. This trend is leading to an increase in the occurrence of disasters and heightened disaster risk, threatening the lives and well-being of individuals, organisations and communities. Previous studies have indicated that the impact of disasters in terms of human and economic losses differs between men and women. Several studies have shown that women suffer disproportionately after disasters. Reasons include existing gender inequalities, socio-economic conditions, cultural beliefs and traditional practices that limit the influence and control women and girls have over decisions governing their lives, as well as their access to resources. The dissertation explores a gendered approach toward disaster risk reduction by embarking on a case study of Chobe district in Botswana. As such, the study examines factors that contribute to gendered vulnerability in Chobe district. In addition, theoretically, the study explores a global perspective of gender integration in disaster risk reduction in policy and in practice. Although the term gender includes the categories of men, women, and boys and girls and all the other genders (LGTBI), for the purpose of this dissertation, the focus is on the basic categories of men and women. The study followed a qualitative research design to conduct empirical investigation in the Chobe district of Botswana. There were a total number of 54 participants that were involved in the study, where 48% represented females and 52% were males. Using focus groups and semi-structured interviews the design allowed the researcher to collect data in Chobe district in a natural setting where people are experiencing the phenomenon under investigation. The data collected from the Chobe district were analysed and compared with literature to reach findings using flexible model. The model is a mixture of the iterative and fixed models of qualitative data analysis. When a disaster occurs, everyone caught in the disaster zone is affected without exception of gender. However, in line with findings from other studies, this study findings suggests that the majority of women suffer more than do the men, as a result of disasters. Based on the study findings, there are gaps that still exist in Chobe district in terms of men and women involvement in DRR. Culture, social, economic, environmental and political factors followed by lack of gender sensitive policies results in women being disproportionately affected by the impact of hazards. Chobe district employs a holistic approach when it comes to DRR mitigation and management, however there is need to include a gender sensitive approach in their DRR policy implementation. It is crucial to include both men and women in development and implementation of DRR strategies, policy and practice. The study offers recommendations on how gender can be foregrounded in legislation, policy and practice to ensure that men and women have equal and equitable platforms in managing and mitigating the impact of disasters before and in the aftermath of disasters.