Huairou Commission envisions a widely practiced system of disaster response
that leads to long-term sustainable development by deeply involving women
and their communities in practice planning and policy setting."
In the last decade, grassroots member organizations of the Huairou
Commission have devised and demonstrated a portfolio of transformative
community-based disaster response practices. Beyond their local practices,
however, they share what they know: survivor group to survivor group.
Furthermore, in venues the world over, they explain the common sense and
high return of fully incorporating grassroots women's groups and local
communities in the design, search for more forward looking disaster management
policies and systems.
Developed and tested in the rescue and recovery phases of four
major disasters in three countries, Huairou's disaster-to-development
strategy leads to social innovation, efficient use of local resources,
transformation of social and political agendas, and the deepening of a
Its strategy, piloted by Swayam
Shiksham Prayog and hundreds of grassroots women's organizations
in India , is simple: Engage the full partnership of local people who
tend to be intimately knowledgeable about community needs and resources.
Grassroots women are particularly valuable to this practice.
Huairou's process, refined in Maharasthra , India ; Marmara , Turkey ;
Gujarat , India ; and on the north coast of Honduras , is empowerment:
» grassroots women gather
» they identify their problems
» they work together, with others in the community
and with other grassroots groups to create solutions
» they negotiate partnerships
» they implement solutions
» they continue assuming new roles of leadership
» they teach other groups what they've learned
The Huairou process has a lasting effect.
Grassroots women become social and politically integrated into positions
of greater responsibility and authority in the local community and its
governance, while the community as a whole develops a culture of resourcefulness.
Of all their campaigns, Huairou members work in Disaster to Development
is the most advanced. Not only has the basic model been piloted (Maharasthra,
India, 1993) but tested (Gujarat, India, 2001 and Marmara Turkey, 1999).
Its principles have been independently demonstrated by the work of the
Garifuna people of Honduras.
Huairou now plans to share its members methods with other grassroots organizations
and document the lessons learned. Together, they will contribute to the
rapidly evolving global discussion on disaster mitigation, management
Building on the disaster to development experience of Swayam Shikshan
Prayog (India), the Foundation
for the Support of Women's Work (Turkey) and the Comité
de Emergencia de Garifuna (Honduras), three new communities with vulnerability
to disaster will begin community based planning. The model will include
participation by local authorities, emergency aid organizations and grassroots
groups as well as designs for the creation of local networks and resource
New groups will document the activities and strategies they initiated
to recover after natural disasters and the advocacy methods they have
used to hold institutions accountable to measurable goals and standards.
Policy Dialogue and Advocacy
Share new knowledge and grassroots perspectives with current
disaster partners, the World Bank, UNISDR and ICLEI. Together, they will
launch an expanded coalition that advocates for institutional responses
that promote community centered disaster management.