Social Capital and Disaster Preparedness in Oromia, Ethiopia: An Evaluation of the "Women Empowered" Approach

Citation:

Story, William T., Halkeno Tura, Jason Rubin, Belaynesh Engidawork, Anwar Ahmed, Feysel Jundi, Teshale Iddosa, and Teweldebrhan Hailu Arbha. 2020. "Social Capital and Disaster Preparedness in Oromia, Ethiopia: An Evaluation of the "Women Empowered" Approach." Social Science & Medicine 257.

Authors: William T. Story, Halkeno Tura, Jason Rubin, Belaynesh Engidawork, Anwar Ahmed, Feysel Jundi, Teshale Iddosa, Teweldebrhan Hailu Abrha

Abstract:

Ethiopia is faced with challenges posed by natural disasters, especially drought. Integrated approaches to disaster risk reduction are necessary to improve the lives and livelihoods of those most vulnerable to disaster. The Women Empowered (WE) approach provides economic and social opportunities for women to build resilience to respond to disasters. This study examines the association between WE group membership and disaster preparedness and whether this relationship is mediated by social capital. We used a multi-stage random cluster sampling strategy to select and interview 589 female respondents from Lage Hidha district (298 from the intervention area and 291 in the comparison area). Using Stata 14.0, we employed Poisson regression analysis to study the mechanisms through which WE groups are associated with disaster preparedness. After controlling for clustering and confounding factors, we found that different components of social capital mediate the relationship between WE group membership and disaster preparedness. Specifically, taking action to prepare for a disaster is primarily mediated by emotional support from the group and perceived preparedness for a disaster is mediated by social network support, emotional support from the group, collective action, and trust. This study suggests that the association between WE groups and disaster preparedness operates through social capital in drought-prone areas of Ethiopia. Future research is needed to determine which forms of social capital have the greatest potential to help families prepare for and respond to a variety of humanitarian crises.

Keywords: Ethiopia, social capital, disaster preparedness, women's empowerment, evaluation

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2020

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