Since the early 1990s, the Huairou Commission and GROOTS International member groups have experienced major disasters including two major earthquakes in India (1993 and 2001), Hurricane Mitch in Honduras (1999), Marmara
Earthquake in Turkey (1999), multiple hurricanes affecting Jamaica (Hurricanes Ivan 2004, Dennis 2005, Dean 2007 and Gustav 2008), Bam Earthquake in Iran (2004), and The Indian Ocean Tsunami ( 2004). Women found that they were facing similar problems in post disaster relief and recovery processes-there was a need for women to be leaders in planning and monitoring processes and programs.
Through their responses to disaster, member groups organized grassroots women to undertake leadership roles in relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts to position grassroots women as active agents of recovery and resilience. By staying organized and active in post recovery processes the women's groups managed to improve the quality and impact of post disaster investments and also reconfigure power relationships in their communities to respond to community priorities, such as housing, basic services and livelihood needs. Members realized that building the capacity for resilience was central to the survival and protection of community development gains, as women's historic disadvantages - their restricted access to resources, information, mobility and decision making power - make them highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and natural disaster.
The Huairou Commission's global campaign on Community Resilience is led by GROOTS International and works with a critical mass of grassroots collectives on development initiatives to reduce poverty and vulnerabilities and create a culture of resilience. This approach integrates poverty reduction, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction as inter-related elements of a comprehensive disaster resilient development planning and policy framework. It is based on our understanding and experience that the most effective solutions arise from organized groups of grassroots women, as key stakeholders, framing resilience in their own terms: as improving community health, sanitation, food security, livelihoods, and reducing environmental degradation in their communities.
By building a critical mass of grassroots women's groups -through peer learning and multiple networks- HC members are better equipped to engage in global and regional advocacy with government officials and policy making agencies to formalize women's participation in these processes and advocate for the adoption of coherent approaches that are holistic and bottom up.
The Community Resilience Campaign envisions a holistic, pro-active approach to reducing vulnerabilities to poverty, disasters and climate change, in which organized groups of grassroots women frame resilience in their own terms as improving housing, basic services, food security, livelihoods and protecting the natural environment.
The Huairou Commission Community Resilience Campaign aims to empower grassroots women's networks to gain the support of partners - local authorities, national governments, donors, academics-to bring their priorities and practices to the forefront of policy programming in order to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters, climate change and poverty.
- Link grassroots women's groups within and across countries to create platforms for learning and advocacy
- Channel funds directly to community based organizations and women's based groups in at-risk communities to support them in initiating and scaling up effective DRR and Climate Adaptation strategies to locally identified risks and vulnerabilities
- Develop collaborative partnerships with networks of local, national and regional authorities to lift up grassroots women's practices and streamline them into funded programs
- Position grassroots women as expert practitioners to claim recognition and resources in policy venues and UN events