Thirty-one-year-old Hameeda has been living in village, in Bao locality in Sudan’s Blue Nile state, since she was born. She and her husband Yaseen, and their ten children live in a tukul, a round hut made of mud bricks, grass, millet stalks and wooden poles, at the foot of the Abugarin mountain, on land they have inherited from generations before.
Hameeda and Yassen work hard in agriculture all year round to feed their big family. Five of Hameeda’s children are in school, while the other five stay home, they are too young and need daily care.
Despite her young age, Hameeda noticed a change in the rainfall in the last years. Working in agriculture all her life, she is sensitive to the changes in the weather; the rains are heavier and there are dry spells during the rainy season, which affects the production of her crops.
Worse yet, during the rainy season, strong dust storms destroy their houses and farms. The heavy rainfall also leads to flash floods, and since Hameeda and her family live at the foot of the mountain, when it rains, they must hurry and save their belongings before the floods flush them away.
When it rains, Hameeda and Yaseen must act quickly to save their children from the rising water; they take the children and run up the mountain to find a safe space where they can take refuge until the water level decreases. From the top of the mountain, Hameeda watches as her home and farm are damaged by the heavy rains.
Communities are the first impacted by disasters, as they do not always have the capacity to mitigate its impact. Yet, the community members themselves are a rich source of information and have the best knowledge about their local surroundings that can help decrease their vulnerabilities.
To better equip Hameeda and others like her, IOM is implementing disaster risk reduction activities, and in particular, capacity and vulnerability assessments in Abugarin. These activities are implemented with a participatory approach, ensuring the voice of the community is heard. Hameeda’s village, Abugarin, in Baw locality, Blue Nile Region, is one of the selected villages for this assessment.
“I was selected for this workshop by my community members because I live in a flood prone area, and I have many children. I am very concerned that my family and I are directly affected by the impacts of climate change,” said Hameeda.
The four-day workshop consists of men and women of all ages and needs who identified their priorities and capacities and expressed their vulnerabilities. During the workshop, the participants were guided on different exercises, which helped them prioritize their assets and discuss the major hazards to their village. With the support of IOM, the participants were able to design an action plan in which mitigation measures are proposed to decrease the impact of the hazards within the community.
“If the adaptation plan is implemented, this will protect our farming land and houses from destruction, and I will have better food security for my children,” said Hameeda, while holding her fourth month old son, Salim.
Women are highly impacted by climate change, as they are the main providers of their families, providing food and water for cooking and ensuring safety for their family. Thanks to these interventions, women like Hameeda are better equipped to deal with disasters brought on by climate change.
Funding for IOM’s Disaster Risk Reduction Project in Sudan is provided by the U.S Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
Story written by Wigdan Mohamad, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and Tabata Fioretto, email: email@example.com.