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Gender and DRR: Raising awareness, developing skills

Children playing a DRR awareness-raising game at SDN Waharia elementary school, Indonesia. Credit: Jim Holmes/Oxfam GB

At a glance

13 October is the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR). In 2012, the day celebrated the role of girls and women in preparing for disasters.


The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) was established by the UN in 1989 to promote a culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. 

For the 2012 IDDR celebration, we recognize the role of women and girls as powerful agents of change in addressing or managing disaster risks. We pay tribute to their participation in poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Oxfam's gender and DRR learning initiative

In July 2012, Oxfam started a nine-month initiative to build the skills and commitment of staff and partners on gender equality and DRR. This project has two objectives:

  • To raise awareness of gender and women's rights in disaster risk reduction (DRR)
  • To generate commitment for action to promote gender and women's rights in DRR.

A six-part series of webinars, for over 120 practitioners from across the globe will run from October until April 2013.

Another objective of this initiative is to spread knowledge on women's rights and disaster risk among key stakeholders by launching two new Oxfam publications at the joint commemoration of the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management and IDDR taking place in Bangkok 8-12 October 2012.

Gender Equality in Emergencies Programme Insights

To mark IDDR Oxfam has published a new set of programme case studies - Gender Equality in Emergencies Programme Insights. This collection of papers considers the progress made and the challenges we still face in humanitarian and disaster risk reduction interventions, in responding adequately to the needs of all affected people. 

The papers are available to download from the links below.

Gender Sensitive Response and Recovery: An Overview

Cash Transfers in Nairobi's Slums: Improving food security and gender dynamics

Restoring Livelihoods After Floods: Gender-sensitive response and community-owned recovery in Pakistan

Protecting Communities in the DRC: Understanding gender dynamics and empowering women and men

Post-Earthquake Response and Reconstruction: Gender-sensitive advocacy in Indonesia

Flood Preparedness in Viet Nam: A systematic gender-aware approach

Celebrating IDDR around the world

ASEAN celebrates the ASEAN Day for Disaster Management in the second Wednesday of October every year, in conjunction with IDDR. The commemorative date celebrates how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and to raise awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction (DRR).

DRR lessons in schools in Azerbaijan

The theme of IDDR 2012 is Women and Girls: The inVisible Force of Resilience to highlight the role that women and girls play in risk reduction.

While they are often marginalised and unrecognised, women and girls are powerful agents of change who have unique knowledge and skills that are crucial when addressing or managing disaster risks.

The Thailand Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, ASEANUN-ISDR and AADMER Partnership Group are jointly organising week-long events to raise awareness of the importance of DRR. Disasters are expected to occur more frequently and with increased intensity, as a result of climate change.

Oxfam celebrations

Oxfam, together with partners and allies, is supporting a number of events and initiatives to celebrate IDDR

  • Armenia:  IDDR will be celebrated in Armenia on October 13 with a family competition that will feature high school students and their parents from 10 villages from Vayots Dzor in Yeghegnadzor. 
  • Azerbaijan: To celebrate the IDDR Day, a competition will be launched for high school students to create essays, drawings or photos on the theme of women and girls' roles in DRR.
  • Cambodia: There will be an IDDR celebration in Kampong Chhnang. The program includes a student march, video showing, cultural presentations and a drawing competition.
  • Dominican Republic: Oxfam and Plan International will organise a panel discussion on the important role of women in risk management, including Capacity and Vulnerability Analysis.
  • Georgia:  In Tbilisi, there will be a joint event on October 12 for all NGOs currently implementing DIPECHO 2 DRR programme. The event will feature performances highlighting the various roles of women and girls in building community resilience.
  • Laos: The IDDR celebration will include a workshop on DRR good practices and a short documentary on DRR activities in Laos.
  • Myanmar: Oxfam will have a Quiz Corner where they will disseminate knowledge and information about women's roles in disaster risk reduction.  They will engage the audience with puzzles and games that aim to promote awareness about women and DRR.
  • Nepal: A short documentary that shows the role of women in DRR is being developed by an Oxfam partner. This documentary amplifies the voices of women lobbying the national level policy and decision makers for an increase in women's decision making roles in DRR.
  • Pakistan: Oxfam and NDMA will support the advocacy on the issue of women's significant position in DRR through a radio talk show on Women and Girls: the inVisible Force of Resilience.
  • Philippines: In the Philippines, Oxfam is launching a social media campaign raising awareness and accessibility of DRR and focusing on women and children as important forces in community resilience. The event culminates in an IDDR Commitment Forum, which will feature parallel video streams of good DRR initiatives from four different locations around the country.
  • Solomon Islands: Oxfam is organising events with the NDMO, ministry of women and children, department of climate change and other DRR agencies for the celebration of IDDR Day.
  • Sri Lanka: A school art competition will take place in honour of IDDR Day culminating on October 12 in a program where the entries will be presented and talks about Gender and DRR will take place.
  • UK: Oxfam will also mark the day at its headquarters in Oxford. This will include an exhibition and a seminar highlighting how some of our DRR and humanitarian intervention promote gender equality and the voice of women and girls.

Women and Girls on the Map

Women and Girls on the Map is a live Crowdmap utilising the Ushahidi platform to plot where women and girls around the world are taking action in support of International Disaster Reduction Day. 

The project was developed by a global NGO coalition including; Oxfam, Gender and Disaster Network, Huairou Commission, and Plan International.

Women and Girls on the Map

Visit Women and Girls on the Map