Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Weather the Storm – Women Prepare

The National Rural Women’s Coalition and Network has recently launched its new project, Weather the Storm – Women Prepare and to invites you to join our stakeholder email list to receive updates regarding the progress of the project.  The project is funded by the Federal Office for Women.  Please find attached a document setting out the project in more detail.

The aim of the project is to improve women’s awareness of potential disasters and support them to prepare for those disasters. The 16 hour program will build group for ongoing support and encouragement and to build community resilience.  

Topics to be discussed include:  why prepare, personal approaches to risk, what are the local risks, how to prepare for and respond to the most likely risks and how to continue as a group.
It will seek to respond to the needs and interests of participants.

The City of Whittlesea (Victoria) will host the first trial of a national program bringing women in communities together to prepare for disasters.  It will be conducted on Thursdays 3 Nov – 1 Dec 10am – 2.30pm in Whittlesea and childcare will be available. Mackay Regional Council (Queensland), will host the second trial in Eungella, in April 2012.

Natural disasters leave us at the mercy of nature in a world where we have been taught to rely not on ourselves, but on governments and emergency services.  Women have unique needs and vulnerabilities during and after a disaster.  They also make a unique and vital contribution to preparation and recovery.   On Black Saturday, for example, 73 of the 173 deaths were female and 23 were children.   As a society we have also created our own vulnerabilities to prolonged loss of electricity, water, food transportation and the effects of climate change.

Traditionally much emergency management has focussed on emergency services minimising the impact of the disaster.  But in large disasters most first responders are ordinary citizens.  We are learning that there is much that needs be done to prepare households, and communities to manage the point of impact themselves and build resilience in recovery.   This project will explore one way of doing this.

A significant aspect of the process will be to support the participants to become a group that continues working together to encourage and sustain each other in preparing their homes, their families and their communities for a range of disasters.   The program will be delivered in settings more accessible to women, avoiding the intimidation women sometimes feel in such male dominated environments as emergency brigades.   

If you would like to receive ongoing updates on the progress of this project, please contact:
Kate Lawrence
Project Officer
Weather the Storm – Women Prepare
National Rural Women’s Coalition and Network

P: 03 5426 1952  M:0402 080 445

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