Urban Laboratory Portoviejo: Women leading climate resilience to transform vulnerable neighborhoods

Potential climate/ disaster impacts addressed by approach & Justification for approach:

The city of Portoviejo suffers an increase in extreme rain events during the rainy season, which increases the probability of landslides on surrounding hills, with consequent flooding of the urban center. One of the hills, San Pablo, with a population of 11,696 inhabitants (52% women and 28% children under 12 years old), presents social and economic vulnerability conditions. This, combined with exposure to threats from mass movements on slopes and ravines, places San Pablo at risk, aggravated by the increase in the intensity and frequency of rain due to climate change. 62% of the heads of households are female; most do not have permanent employment, and work in independent commerce or domestic service; some harvest fruits and tubers for family consumption. Despite their socio-economic condition, they play a key role in their neighborhoods for the maintenance of recreation spaces and access roads, cleaning of gutters, and organization of mingas to meet the emerging needs of community members; they are, at the same time, victims of the consequences of climate change, and potential actors to confront it and implement adaptation measures. In this context, the approach was to increase the climate resilience of the population of San Pablo hills, empowering women to implement nature-based adaptation measures and promote changes in their territory.

Process of Implementation:

1. Design and implement, in a participatory way and from a gender perspective, adaptation measures to climate change in two specific sites of San Pablo, based on principles of natural engineering, to reduce the risks of landslides and give functionality to public space, empowering the group "Guardians of the Hills" and integrating more families into the process. The measures could include family gardens, terraced slopes, green areas, stairs, children's games with native material, and ecological trails. 2. Design and implement a community alert system for landslides in prioritized sectors within San Pablo, through the involvement of the community, both in the design and in the piloting of the system. 3. Generate communicational material that allows strengthening the community's resilience and improves the communicative skills of women to share the experiences of the process and their life stories with inhabitants of other neighborhoods. 4. Strengthen a tool that allows for a correct flow of information from citizens to Neighborhood Risk and Emergency Committees, and then to municipal technicians and coordinators who enter the information into the municipal alert warning alert platform, and thus contribute to decision-making by the Cantonal Emergency Operations Committee. 5. Implement a Gender-Based Violence Prevention Strategy to address gender-based violence in the context of the pandemic, as a mechanism to promote individual, family, neighborhood, and community resilience, without neglecting the aspects related to adaptation to the impacts of climate change.

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