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  • School Emergency Response Teams (SERTs) participate in a search and rescue simulation as part of their capacity building training. Over 50% of SERTs are women.
    FOCUS
Disaster preparedness training
Disaster preparedness training: Building blocks to safety

According to the United Nations Population Fund, women and children account for more than 75% of refugees and displaced persons as a consequence of humanitarian emergencies. Women are often the most vulnerable in times of crisis because of their subordinate status in certain societies, their lack of mobility and their role as the caretaker of the family. Despite these challenges, research indicates that it is women who are most effective in an emergency. Women are naturally inclined to take care of the sick, injured and elderly, and anticipate the basic needs for survival such as securing food, water, shelter and attending to medical needs. According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, resilient and sustainable outcomes to disasters are more likely to be achieved when women are integrated in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) planning and training. FOCUS, which is now part of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, has made great strides in empowering women in DRR using training and awareness programmes at the community level. Through DRR initiatives, FOCUS facilitates gender-inclusive environments by empowering women to enhance community resilience. Acknowledging the need to have more women volunteers as first responders in India, FOCUS aims to train at least 30% of women as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers every year. Currently, out of the 845 trained Village Development Committees (VDCs) and CERT members, 287 are women. Additionally, in Pakistan and Tajikistan, FOCUS is working diligently to ensure that women are not only being trained, but are also equipped with the skills to become team leaders. “…I have an important role to play, which provides safety to the community in my region, especially to the women and girls. With direction from the FOCUS team and a series of sensitisation and awareness programmes, I managed to form a group of committed Disaster Management Deputies and CERT members,” said Reshma Keshwani, RCC- Southern India.  

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