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Current student profiles

Examining the State of Community Capacity Building For Disaster Risk Reduction in Eastern Africa

Stuart Katwikirize - 1st year researcher

Synopsis: Eastern Africa, which includes the Horn of Africa countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda, is a region exposed to various disaster risks ranging from cyclic droughts and famines, floods, landslides, epidemics to conflict induced people displacements. The region also benefits from enormous donor and local government development funding where unfortunately, development gains are repeatedly reversed or wiped out by aforementioned cyclic disaster shocks.

Given the above humanitarian landscape and level of donor investment in the region, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) ought to be a priority consideration supported and mainstreamed by all major relief and development practitioners in the region. Consequently, one would suppose that support to community capacity building for DRR is already a top priority among major relevant stakeholders in Eastern Africa. However, evidence from related case studies in South Africa, Colombia and Indonesia suggests that poor local capacity for DRR remains a major impediment to making required progress. To date, there is very little known and written about the level of prioritization and subsequent support given to community capacity building for DRR in Eastern Africa and this research sets out to close this evidence gap.

Gender mainstreaming in sustainable post disaster reconstruction

Tri Yumarni – 2nd year researcher

Synopsis: Gender inequalities are barriers to achieve sustainable post-disaster reconstruction. Mainstreaming gender equality within post-disaster reconstruction process can enhance sustainability of reconstruction. This research identifies pre-requisite conditions for mainstreaming gender within sustainable postdisaster reconstruction as: awareness of gender needs and concerns, a strong gender policy framework, women participation and leadership as an agent of change, gendered institutional capability, flexible and decentralised structure of gendered policy planning.

Empowering Local Governments in making Cities Resilient to Disasters

Chamindi Malalgoda – 3rd year researcher

Synopsis: Cities are complex systems of human creations, consisting of interdependent physical systems and human communities, which are vulnerable to disasters in varying degrees. Urban areas are growing very rapidly all over the world particularly in developing countries. As a result of rapid urbanisation, the world’s population is increasingly concentrated in large cities leading to unplanned urban development with inappropriate and lower quality housing, infrastructure and services. This excessive unplanned urban growth leads to various physical, social and economic vulnerabilities. As a result, the consequences of disasters are very undesirable especially when they occur in urban environments. Furthermore, any disruption may result in domino-effects due to inter dependent nature of the cities. Thus, it is important to strengthen the cities by concentrating on city’s resilience to disasters in order to mitigate their vulnerabilities.

The local governments being the first responder and the one responsible for local area development, has a key role to play in achieving a city’s resilience to disasters. Several incidents have been reported on the inadequate contribution of local governments in taking the lead role of disaster risk reduction initiatives. This could mainly be attributed to inadequate financial, manpower and other resources available with local governments, and their failure to make timely decisions due to lack of authority. Therefore the aim of this research is to develop a framework for empowering the local governments in creating resilient cities to disasters within the context of the built environment. Accordingly this paper focuses on emphasising the need for concentrating on urban vulnerabilities.

In this context, this research highlights the growing need for concentrating on urban areas and the ways and means of making urban cities resilient to disasters. The literature review technique will be used to address this potential issues and the findings will be justified through various literature gathered from research papers in electronic databases along with conference proceedings and reports published by various institutions.