Building a safe community for families
Carlos lived in the small town of Santa Rosa, located in the district of Cura Mori in Piura, until 2017 when the place where he grew up was struck by the flooding caused by the coastal El Niño phenomenon. Today, already settled in a new place, Carlos chairs the Community Disaster Risk Management Committee and considers that prevention is essential to prevent a new emergency from jeopardizing his dreams and those of his community.
“In 2017, our small town was totally flooded after the coastal El Niño phenomenon. We were moved to another area in Cura Mori. When we arrived, this place was like a desert: there were many animals, land and it was a totally bleak space”.
Carlos says that when he had to restart his life with his two children and his wife in a new area of Cura Mori, he did not know how to do it. It was the community and family organization that allowed him and other relocated neighbors to set a new course. “We communicated with each other so that we could protect each other. There was no electricity at night. We had to organize ourselves to survive.” In 2019, after the arrival of Save the Children and the change in municipal management, the Community Disaster Risk Management Committee was formed. Without hesitation, Carlos, as a community leader, accepted the challenge to become president of the committee and contributing to generate prevention actions, risk management and protection of the rights of the most vulnerable in emergencies.
Risk management and child protection from the community
“One of the committee’s functions is the preparation of the Family Emergency Plan. This plan has been implemented through workshops and training with the children and adolescents of Cura Mori, as well as with the heads of household”.
Family plans allow each family to know what to do in an emergency and how to protect children and adolescents, as well as people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. “Now, each family is clear about how to get out, where to go, and what each family member’s role is, based on the risks they may face during an emergency,” he explains with pride in his work.
“Besides, we have carried out drills, fairs and community meetings to keep track of the actions carried out in this and other towns. My daughter always participates in the workshops and training sessions with Save the Children volunteers. The children already feel prepared and know who to turn to if they are in danger.”
“As a father, I think it is crucial that children and adolescents are included in risk and disaster management plans,” he says. Although he is aware that there are still many things to do, he is satisfied with all the progress they have made.
“We still have a long way to go. We still do not have electricity, for example, and that is a risk for children, especially at night. Little by little, through the work we do from the community committees, we want to improve our district and ensure the rights of our children and other vulnerable people.“
About the intervention
The project ” Disaster Risks Prevention and Reduction with a Protection Approach in Piura” has been implemented by Save the Children with support from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (OFDA/USAID). This intervention promotes a better child protection system after the floods caused by the coastal El Niño phenomenon in 2017, in the districts of Cura Mori and Catacaos in Piura.
The project works at the district and community levels with strategies that include measures to guarantee non-discrimination, access, equity and equal opportunities for girls, boys and adolescents. At the district level, the project works hand in hand with local government authorities and officials to build their capacities and promote risk and disaster management actions with a child protection approach. Likewise, there is work done with communities to generate community networks, led by community leaders trained by the project, to implement risk prevention and child protection actions in case of disasters.