Recovering livelihoods after disaster strikes

Mariana Iturrizaga

May 2019

© UNDP Peru/Monica Suarez Galindo

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and the EU-UNDP-World Bank organized World Reconstruction Conference 4, is an opportunity for us to come together and accelerate our implementation of the Sendai Framework and improve our recovery processes. A common theme running through both of these events is inclusion and resilience. DRR and recovery practices aimed at building resilience and fostering inclusion are essential to addressing inequality, a core priority at UNDP. More information on WRC4 here.

When disaster strikes, the different levels of a country’s government are activated to respond quickly and effectively to meet the most immediate needs.

When the recovery process begins, the aim is to build back better. This means rebuilding infrastructure and making it more resilient, in order to avoid the pre-disaster status quo. Restoring health, education and social protection systems, as well as livelihoods is also essential. This last component is essential to reactivate the economic, social and sustainable development of the affected groups, and can be accelerated by involving the private sector, academia and civil society.

What happens with these alliances and networking during the recovery? In recent years in Peru, is that they have contributed in different instances with the in an isolated and individual way.

In the process of recovery after the floods of the Niño Costero in the north of Peru during 2017, UNDP sought to coordinate the efforts of the private sector, public, academia and civil society to reactivate the economy of 300 straw handicraft artisans. This is how Tejiendo Futuro (Weaving Future) was born. This project, which lasted two years, focused on the recovery of the businesses of five associations through strategic alliances in three key stages: the reinsertion in the market of artisan women, through a collective marketing strategy, strengthening their business capabilities, and constructing of a Business Continuity Plan that would ensure the resilience of the artisans associations in a future disaster.

How did it work? Key partners were identified who could contribute to each stage, and those who already had interactions with the artisans at the beginning of the project. The company Red de Energia del Peru, UNDP’s partner in Tejiendo Futuro, activated a powerful network of corporate volunteers to promote the commercialization of artisan products. Various companies, universities, national events and public figures participated to reincorporate the artisans in the market so they could weave again.

In order to strengthen their business capacities, a diagnosis of post-disaster needs was developed two years after El Niño Costero occurred with the Post Disaster Needs Assessment methodology, which identified remaining gaps as well as state and private partners that could contribute. The Ministry of Labour and Employment Promotion participated through the Impulsa Peru programme to develop business plans with the artisans, and organizations such as Belcorp and the University of Piura were instrumental in improving artisans’ marketing skills, and the development of soft skills such as self-esteem, empowerment and independence.

The project culminated in a Business Continuity Plan implemented through a Artisans and Risk Management Table led by the five leaders of the Catacaos associations, the Foreign Trade and Tourism Directorate of the Piura region, and the Municipality of Catacaos.

Tejiendo Futuro has been key to exploring the opportunities of networking in the recovery process, and the great results that can be achieved when organizations pool their resources and capacities. This initiative has shown us that countries have the great opportunity to activate existing networks for immediate recovery, taking advantage of the capacities of different sectors. Let’s imagine that the private sector can have a key and formal role for the reactivation of small and medium businessess through tools they already have, such as Business Continuity Plans. Civil society also has important tools to collect data, identify unresolved needs and take the queries and demands of citizens to the state to close gaps and promote equality.

The 2030 Agenda invites us to work together in partnerships, and it is one of the greatest challenges that sustainable development presents. During emergency situations and recovery and reconstruction processes, the articulation of many partners is key to avoiding  duplication of efforts, to take advantage of existing capacities and interventions and to reach the most vulnerable populations, to reactivate livelihoods and leave no one behind.


Categories: Preparedness

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