Disaster preparedness

Disaster preparedness and post-disaster rebuilding

Since the 1999 Marmara earthquake, FSWW has worked on disaster preparedness and relief, focusing on women and people in an integrated approach that includes all parties and sectors. FSWW developed a participatory development approach focused on women through its work with women and children in the region after the August 17 Marmara earthquake.

In the framework of this approach, FSWW aims to help women reach a level where they can provide their own services rather than viewing them as passive recipients of services provided by various institutions/organizations. This approach includes (1) learning by doing; (2) forming relationships with their “peers” and benefitting from their experiences; (3) communicating with the necessary resources directly; (4) accessing the technical information needed to provide these services directly; (5) forming a dialogue with other sections of the community (public, private, NGO); and finally (6) developing the necessary group consciousness to be able to do all of the above.

After the 1999 Marmara earthquake, FSWW organized women who had never worked outside the home before, developing their skills and capacity to provide educational services for children ages 3 to 6, start economic enterprises and form partnerships with other sectors. Currently, a women’s cooperative in Düzce is providing early child education and care services and continuing economic enterprises. Additionally, FSWW supported the founding of a housing cooperative made up of women who didn’t own homes. The cooperative managed to buy land and the construction is complete.

FSWW’s experience with the Marmara Earthquake zone shows that women have a very important role in disaster preparedness and post-disaster recovery as well as the rebuilding process. At the same time, disasters are a time for women to enter the public sphere, and they require an approach with a development perspective rather than humanitarian aid.

FSWW uses this experience to ensure women’s participation in disaster preparedness and post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction process. It has developed capacity-building programs and support materials for women on needs assessments, information collection and distribution, planning and implementation of basic services for women and children, launching economic initiatives and forming partnerships with other sectors.

Additionally, it participates in international communication and lobby groups to integrate into disaster policy a participatory approach that focuses on women. It has passed on its experience to countries such as India, Indonesia and Iran following disasters.