Promoting women's role in civil protection
The EU-funded PPRD South Programme is organizing a roundtable on Women’s Added Value in Civil Protection on 26 March in Algiers. Thirty Civil Protection Officers – women and men – from Algeria, France, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Portugal, Slovenia and Tunisia will take part in the event to exchange ideas on how to strengthen women’s role in Mediterranean Civil Protection Authorities.
The roundtable, which will be opened by Laura Baeza, Head of EU Delegation to Algeria together with Col. Mustapha El Habiri from the Algerian Civil Protection, is a good opportunity to exchange views between women and men working in civil protection authorities and discuss women’s actual and potential contribution to disaster risk management activities and progress made so far.
“The integration of women in the Civil Protection is a necessity,” Colonel Mustapha El Habiri underlined when accepting to organize the roundtable in Algeria. “Women’s attitudes in many fields, such as assistance, sanitary services, training and intervention are beneficial as they better understand gender expectations when dealing with the population. Moreover, women are very motivated and generally they accomplish their tasks with a surprising determination,” he added.
In the Mediterranean, civil protection is traditionally considered a mostly male sector, but the recent shift of disaster risk management from response to prevention and preparedness and a greater attention to educate families, as the first responders in the risk management, have opened the way to a major involvement of women in the design and implementation of civil protection measures at all levels. However, women’s involvement remains low and is mostly addressed to relief works.
It is recognised nowadays that civil protection cannot do without women, and that women’s approach, skills and knowledge are increasingly necessary to extend the domain of action and the effectiveness of a modern civil protection system. Putting all this into practice is one of the main challenges posed to the Mediterranean Civil
The €5 million PPRD South Programme – which runs for three years and is managed by a consortium led by the Italian Civil Protection Department together with the French, Algerian, Egyptian Civil Protection Authorities and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) – is also organising training workshops dealing with risks in the region such as wild fires, technological disasters, floods, earthquakes, epidemics and drought, among others. (ENPI Info Centre)