A curamorino devoted to his community
Gerardo Sandoval is Technical Secretary of Civil Defense and Assistant Manager of Disaster Risk Management for the district of Cura Mori in Piura. He is totally committed to the development of his town, through his work in the district municipality for more than 12 years. Gerardo is in charge of monitoring the existing hazards, such as an eventual river outflow and the annual presence of strong winds. His work incorporates a community and child protection approach.
Gerardo mentions that the municipal management has had difficulty meeting the needs of the population, especially the most vulnerable sectors such as children and adolescents. “We were not prepared to face the emergency (referring to the El Niño Phenomenon of 2017), nor to attend to our children in these cases” he says.
During 2019, with the support of Save the Children, Gerardo was trained in disaster risk management with a community and child protection approach. He is currently working hard to prepare Cura Mori for possible emergencies and to safeguard the rights of children and adolescents.
Risk management and child protection from the community
The work coordinated with authorities from different institutions in her locality through the Multisectoral Committee for the Rights of Children and Adolescents (COMUDENA), now with a new vision in the face of possible emergencies such as the one previously experienced, is making a difference.
“Today, we work hand in hand to guarantee that our children and adolescents are taken into account in emergency preparedness. This means that from family plans to drills, children’s needs are taken into account”.
For Gerardo, it is essential to prevent abuses such as those that occurred in 2017, after the disaster. “There were cases of children who were exploited, who were lost from their families in shelters or who were sexually abused. COMUDENA seeks to prevent these abuses from happening again; we want them to know where to go and what to do after an emergency,” he explains.
Gerardo wants the committee’s work to demonstrate the importance of having disaster management plans that consider the vulnerable population. He also hopes to continue working with organizations like Save the Children: “Their support has been invaluable to me. I have learned a lot from their work and from the training I have received.”
“Seventy per cent of the population is aware of the importance of preparing for emergencies, attending drills and workshops. My goal is for the entire population to do so and for the next authorities to take into account all the work we are doing now.”
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.