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Guidance Note: Using Social Work Interventions to Address Climate and Disaster Risks in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Manual and Guideline
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Disasters associated with adverse natural events (hereafter referred to as disasters) are increasing in both frequency and intensity, and in many cases, have severe impacts on countries and their populations, particularly those living in poverty and in socially vulnerable situations. Poor or limited access to both material and immaterial resources hinders the ability of these populations to confront the damages and losses caused by disasters, and thereby restore their material and psychosocial well-being in a timely and effective manner.

This note is particularly concerned with guiding countries in the design and implementation of methodologies typically used in Social Work, such as family support, case management, and other interventions, in disaster contexts in order to contribute to the construction of Adaptive Social Protection (ASP) systems. Social Work strategies can be employed within ASP systems to help identify and reduce risks, determine appropriate responses, and support strengthening the resilience of affected individuals and families.

Based on regional experiences and an exhaustive bibliographic review, the note provides an overview of how countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have developed strategies aimed at managing disaster risk and their role in generating Social Protection policies. Within this context, the note focuses particularly on the role of Social Work and the use of Social Work interventions, including strategies aimed at faciltiating accompaniament of households and families, case management, and community interventions.

Finally, we present a series of recommendations based on an integrated analysis of collected regional experiences, review of secondary data, and the actions or planned actions that countries have taken or intend to take to further strengthen Social Protection policies from an adaptive perspective. These recommendations are intended to assist LAC countries with designing or redesigning Adaptive Social Protection systems by designating a specific and unique role for Social Work, the strategies it uses, and its direct work with vulnerable populations.