Women’s Empowerment through Emergency Preparedness

Over the past eight years, SHARE El Salvador has partnered with 22 Salvadoran women’s organizations, including CRIPDES Central, that form the Prudencia Ayala Feminist Coalition (CFPA) to pass two groundbreaking pieces of legislation: The Law for a Life Free of Violence Against Women in November 2010, and the Law for Equality, Equity, and Eradication of Discrimination Against Women in March 2011. The passage of these laws was groundbreaking in a country with 129 feminicides for every one million women in 2011, the highest feminicide rate in the world.

While the passage of these laws has developed strong women leaders, opened spaces for women to lead their communities, and strengthened urban women’s organizations, women in rural El Salvador are more likely to remain underrepresented in the leadership of their communities and municipal, regional, and national women’s organizations. Women in rural El Salvador are more isolated and have access to fewer resources than women in urban areas. As a result rural women are less likely to know their rights, to advocate for themselves, or take on leadership roles. Their voices are not being heard by their community leaders nor national advocacy groups.

At the same time, rural communities are among the most vulnerable to extreme weather, and the low level of organization within some of these communities means extreme weather can turn into a disaster. When record shattering floods swept through El Salvador in October 2011 communities with emergency preparedness plans experienced no loss of life.

By partnering the women’s leadership program with emergency planning, Women’s Leadership through Emergency Planning will both strengthen women leaders and prepare communities for emergencies. Through this project 25 women will participate in a 10 part leadership training series, 35 women will participate in four community leadership forums, and 45 women will receive Emergency Preparedness Trainings to lead their communities in creating an emergency preparedness plan. This program will directly impact 105 rural women and indirectly impact 1,750 rural families.

Rural women leaders in the department of La Libertad will receive trainings to lead their communities in preparing for natural disasters by developing Emergency Preparedness Plans. The creation of these plans serves two purposes: 1) prepare communities for hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes and 2) Provide an opportunity for women in these communities to practice and demonstrate their leadership skills.

The program will equip women to organize other women to stand up for their rights and become active members of their communities, thereby paving the way for future women leaders. In the long term this project will increase the capacity of municipal, regional, and national women’s organizations to better advocate for women’s rights.

Project Outcomes:
1. 25 women participate in a series of 10 workshops in leadership development and planning. These trainings will prepare women to serve on municipal and regional women’s committees.
2. 35 rural women attend a series of four forums to strengthen their analytical and leadership skills.
3. 45 community members are trained to lead their communities in developing Emergency Preparedness Plans.
4. 10 women leaders form on the National Rural Women Round Table.


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