Women's status improved through tsunami recovery projects
The TANGO International evaluation of communities served by World Vision's India Tsunami Response found that women's participation in livelihood groups, community activities, meetings and development projects has enabled them to play a more pivotal role in their community's development.
Many women are now conducting financial transactions for themselves and their families and their access to business development and skills training in areas such as tailoring, IT, bookkeeping and driving has increased. Women have been linked to small business grants and introduced to potential employers to secure better jobs and sustainable income for the future.
When homes were reconstructed by World Vision, women's names were intentionally included on the home/land ownership certificate, alongside their husband's. This is the first time many women have been legally recognised as "joint" owners of their property, and therefore no longer face the uncertainty of not having the right to live in their home, if their circumstances change.
New homes with bathrooms have ensured increased protection of women, as many feared bathing in open areas at night in their pre-tsunami dwellings. In the study, women expressed great relief at the increased security their home has brought them.
In its Tsunami Recovery Programme, World Vision was intentional in involving women as key partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of projects. Separate Focus Group Discussions were held with women during the needs assessment process to ensure that gender-specific issues and priorities were raised and addressed in the programme design. Leaders of women's groups were among the community groups consulted in the beneficiary selection process.
In addition to the improvement of women's status in the community, the TANGO evaluation also found that overall, economic security (income and employment) has recovered to a level near or what it was prior to the tsunami. Fishing remains the predominant livelihood, however many communities show diversification of income sources. Men especially, feel strongly that fishing should no longer be the household's only source of income.
Children expressed clear positive ideas about their future, including professions they would like, ways they want to care for their families and how they would like their communities to develop.
Over 80% of families in new homes feel that their houses are suitable and are strong enough to withstand future disasters.
According to TANGO, "World Vision India's Tsunami Response has done a great service to the households and communities recovering from the terrible events of December 2004. That WV remained in communities well beyond the relief phase allowed them to undertake important medium-term actions to accelerate the recovery process and ensure that communities came away from the tragedy stronger than they met it. The attention they paid to community consultation and articulation of needs at various points during the programme design was clearly reflected in the quality of the programming and the appreciation that was expressed by community members."
More than 14,000 people lost their lives when the 2004 Asia Tsunami hit the eastern coastline of India, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Since the tsunami, World Vision in India has constructed more than 5,800 homes, community halls, a secondary school, ten pre-schools and child-care centres, plus 200 playgrounds and Child Friendly Spaces. Livelihood interventions include the provision of 1,700 boats and nets, skills training, cash-for-work activities and small business support. Medical camps were provided for 15,000 people and 8,000 people attended disaster simulation programmes and training.
More than 260,000 people benefited from the India Tsunami Response. World Vision will continue to implement long-term development programmes across the country.