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Top US Gender and Disaster Expert Visits the African Center for Disaster Studies

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 07:31 AM
Contributors: Gideon Wentink
© Copyright 2009 ACDS-NWU
Dr. Elaine Enarson, a disaster sociologist and gender expert recently visited the African Centre For Disaster Studies for two months to help provide guidance in establishing a specialised Gender Focus within the field of Risk Reduction research at the ACDS.

Original Source

Esteemed American Scholar Dr. Elaine Enarson travelled to South Africa for two months (July 19 – September 13 2011) to help provide guidance to the African Centre for Disaster Studies (ACDS) in establishing our specialized Gender Focus within the field of Risk Reduction research.

Dr. Enarson, a disaster sociologist from Lyon Colorado, brought with her years of experience working with women in disasters across the globe.  As well as previously teaching at Brandon University (Canada), Elaine gained a doctorate degree from the University of Oregon.  She was a former director of the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence (University of Nevada, USA) and a founder of the Gender and Disaster Network (GDN).  She has researched in Canada (Red River floods), the USA (Florida following Hurricane Mitch and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina), India (after the Gujarat earthquakes) and Indonesia (directly following the 2004 Tsunami).  Her interested include women’s paid and unpaid work, the vulnerability of low-income women in lesser-developed nations, domestic violence in disasters, and participatory community resilience building.

While in South Africa, Elaine worked with researcher Kylah Forbes-Biggs producing the curriculum for Knowledge Product (virtue online teaching tool) on Gender and Disasters that will feature in the multi-million dollar (US$) USAID project being implemented by the ACDS.  The knowledge product included the production of audio recording featuring gendered quotations from men and women in disasters and implementation of a PhotoVoice activity with 17 adolescent girls participants of the G.I.R.R.L. (Girls in Risk Reduction Leadership) Project.  Elaine and Kylah also collaborated on a journal article examining the Gender Mainstreaming in the North West Province highlighting some of the favourable gender based disaster risk reduction activities being implemented and funded by local and district level government such as the G.I.R.R.L. Project.

On her departure from South Africa, Elaine was headed to Italy to attend the Gender Justice and Global Climate Change’s international conference on Gender and Climate Change - Women Research and Action.

Her knowledge and insight was invaluable to the Centre and its staff and we wish Elaine all of the best in her endeavours – “Friends Forever.”

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