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Durham University

Research & business

Giving women a voice in disaster risk reduction

(3 July 2019)

Giving women a voice in disaster risk reduction

Women in Nepal are having a say in how to reduce the risk of disasters like fires and landslides.

The National Society of Earthquake Technology, who are experts in Nepal, with the support of Durham researchers, educated and trained more than 60 women in urban and rural areas of the Kathmandu Valley.

Women, who are not always included in decision-making, were able to put forward their views about the challenges facing their neighbourhoods.

Fire protection

This helped them to choose and manage projects in their local communities to reduce the risk of disasters.

As a result, 80 homes in one urban area that could not be reached by fire engines now have their own fire protection.

This involved setting up a system of hosepipes, fed by the local pond, which can pump water into homes if there is a fire. The local authority has adopted the scheme.

Landslide risk

Forty homes in a rural area have also been protected after the community came together to recognise the risk posed by landslides.

By improving storm drains and building a retaining wall, they have reduced the risk of landslides to people’s homes.

Improved confidence

The success of the project has seen women report improved levels of confidence.

The mind-set of local people has also changed to give women a greater say in the challenges facing their communities.

Durham’s work to reduce the risk of disasters in Nepal continues with projects looking at earthquakes, landslides and the relationship between disasters and infrastructure in rural and urban areas.

Find out more

Our Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience and Nepal’s National Society for Earthquake Technology led the project.

The Durham lead was Dr Hanna Ruszczyk.

Learn more about hazard and risk research at Durham.

Discover study opportunities in hazard and risk.

Women in Kathmandu Valley take part in education and training

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