Making Central American cities greener

Reducing water and food production vulnerabilities caused by water extremes: Gender-responsive strategies in times of climate change

Dates20 September - 1 October 2021
Application deadlineTo be announced
Local partnersUniversity Galileo through the Sustainable Development and Energy Resources Institutes and FUNDAECO
CoordinatorsOgenis Brilhante and Julia Skinner

This course is organized with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nuffic.

Should I join this course?

This course is intended for Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP)/Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) alumni from Guatemala and neighbouring OKP/NFP countries. Eligible countries are: Guatemala, North Colombia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia and Peru. Alumni are allowed to invite colleagues, if well motivated and to a limited extent. This course is aimed at alumni whose current practice is related to the theme of the course. Female participation is strongly encouraged. The participants will be chosen based on their relevant professional backgrounds, strong motivation and a high potential for the prolonged development impact of the training. Check here the eligibility criteria.

Course content

Gender analysis focuses on relations and roles between men and women in society. Women are assigned specific roles (working at home/land), have the unequal burden of responsibilities and a weak socio-economic position (less education/income/access to fewer information resources to cope with CC shocks/ stresses) making them as vulnerable as the poor and indigenous groups. A complete vulnerability assessment and a strategy to reduce vulnerability include gender analysis, and strategies should take the gender component into account (including special needs). In Guatemala and the other countries in the region, water and food are part of traditional responsibilities of women, because they are in charge of administration and satisfaction of the primary needs of the family nucleus and, therefore, those who suffer the most impact due to the shortage of drinking water and food production. Guatemala faces huge problems with food security and malnutrition. According to the World Food Program, the country is one extreme outlier in the region in terms of chronic malnutrition. Almost half of all children in the country suffer from stunting. Gender issues and inclusiveness will be addressed in the course specifically by introducing the analysis of organizations, projects and/or initiatives focused on the role of women in water management and/or food security, and overall through an integrated gender perspective, developed in module 2 - vulnerability assessment and module 3 – developing.

Module 1: Impact of water extreme events on the functioning of water and food sectors

Central America and the Caribbean region face acute water safety and scarcity challenges due to poor sanitation, drought recurrence, and degradation of surface water resources, poor water management capacity, increasing demand of water from agriculture, growing food demands and increasing of population. The region’s increased urbanization rates and governance challenges have a major impact on both sectors. Guatemala has one of the highest poverty rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, and it is now the second poorest country in the region. Guatemala has a high rate of food insecure and is an extreme outlier in the region in terms of chronic malnutrition and almost half of all children in the country suffer from stunting.

Topics: overview of climate and water extreme hazards, focusing on floods, cyclones, droughts and landslides; overview of disaster risk reduction (ORR) and its links to sustainable development; organization and management arrangement of the two sectors; food production in rural and urban areas: water management and the concept of water markets in climate change adaptation; micro irrigation for food production; the newly developed IHS green city conceptual framework and its use to address CC issues focusing on water quality, quantity and distribution, urban food production and security. The module will use real data and will end with a group exercise to identify the main impacts caused by the local water extremes hazards in the two selected sectors.

Module 2: Vulnerability assessment of the two sectors with regard to the impact of extreme water events
Topics: introduction to "vulnerability; vulnerability diagram (who is vulnerable to what and to what extent); understanding the interaction between hazards, vulnerability, capacity and disaster risk; community-based and livelihood adaptation; gender and adaptation to water extremes (examples and case studies); group exercise identification of the main vulnerabilities to water extremes.

Module 3 (practical): Strategies and green actions to reduce water and food production vulnerabilities.
Topics: the IHS green city action plan methodology will be introduced and a short version

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Understand how the improvement of water management enhances water security and climate change adaptation, and their links with poverty reduction, food security and sustainable living environment with a particular focus on women and poor population;
  • Assess vulnerabilities and impacts caused by water-extremes on the functioning of the water and food sectors with a particular focus on women and poor population.
  • Propose strategies and green actions to help improve the management of the water and food production systems in two cities (one in Guatemala and one in Nicaragua in urban, peri-urban and rural areas), but applicable to other cities in Central America and Caribean region to better cope with water-extreme effects.

Photo by Michiel Ton on Unsplash