NCDM, WFP workshop aims for gender equality

NCDM and WFP are organizing a workshop on mainstreaming gender in natural disaster management in Siem Reap province on Wednesday. CNDM

The National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and the World Food Program organized a workshop on “Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines for Inclusive Disaster Management” on March 9. The conference was held in Siem Reap province and brought together 45 officials, including 10 women, from the 13 provincial disaster management secretariats.

NCDM spokesperson Seak Vichet said the officials came from the secretariats of Pailin, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri.

The workshop aimed to educate managers on the importance of gender mainstreaming and enable them to explore methods by which they could integrate it into effective disaster management, he said.

Women are among the most vulnerable members of society, therefore NCDM has tried to introduce gender mainstreaming into communities so that they are aware of the challenges faced by women, especially in case of disaster. Mainstreaming gender – in relation to disaster management – means that women need to know how to protect themselves in the event of a disaster, he added.

“We are trying to find ways to help them protect themselves and their families, as well as the precious livestock. They need to be prepared and have a plan in place as to what course of action to take in certain circumstances, he said.

Chan Lina, President of the Association to Support Vulnerable Women, said she gave her full support to NCDM in holding the workshop. She sees gender mainstreaming as an important tool to prepare women to solve problems and support each other.

“When a problem arises, or there is a disaster, we have to know how to help our families. We should know who can’t swim, for example. If there were major floods, we would know who we should rescue first,” she said.

Disasters, she added, include not only floods, but also droughts and fires. Another piece of advice she gave was the importance of taking care of important documents like family books and identity cards. Replacing these items is a complex and time-consuming task, so they should be a priority if they have to flee their homes.

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