Women-managed area to mitigate flooding in mangrove plantation
Gata Kababayen-an Asosasyon (GKA) / Center for Empowerment and Resource Development (CERD)
San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
Barangay Gata is one of the coastal barangay in the municipality of San Agustin, prone to flooding. Every time this disaster occurs, it takes 3-7 days before the flood naturally subsides. Within this period, anglers could not go to the sea thus the income for the family is significantly reduced and the majority have no income during and after typhoons which affects day-to-day living and survival. They suffer hunger, the well-being of the members of the family are involved and at risk. Children are malnourished, and other vulnerable members of the family, especially the elderly, persons with disabilities, and pregnant women are quickly afflicted and suffer hunger. Within this period, the livelihoods of the fishing households are damaged and destructed, particularly the fishing boats and fishing gear. Women's participation and efforts in addressing economic problems are invisible.
Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) and Department of Education (Dep-Ed) in Barangay Gata are finding ways to address flooding. The barangay council and Dep-Ed formulated contingency Plan for flooding. Other initiatives of the committee are submission of barangays resolutions to different government agencies at the province, region, and National level requesting allocation of funds for the construction of river dikes to mitigate the flooding and its impacts to the community.
Women Manage Area establishment is one of the solutions seen to contribute to the mitigation of flooding and address its secondary impacts to the community. WMA is a resource management tool used to adequately protect the mangroves and associates like nipa. This area is within the economic zone designated for the management of women's fishers organization.
In the past, women lacked the opportunity to manage the mangrove forests directly and other environmental protection efforts. The community does not recognize their efforts and initiatives. They also have been negatively affected by developments such as aquaculture pond construction.
In the establishment of WMA, community-based women anglers play a central role in protecting mangroves, mangrove associates like nipa, and fishery products found within the area. It is known that mangroves and mangroves associates can provide a physical buffer between land and sea, protecting coastal areas, infrastructures, and livelihoods, and are found to mitigate the impacts of climate change, including storm surges, big waves, and flooding. After the coral reefs, Mangroves are the most effective natural protection against tropical storms acting as wave and windbreakers.
This will also allow other women sector in the community, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and youth to enjoy its benefits in terms of employment, income-generating activities, training, access to natural resources, leadership roles, and the visibility of women’s contribution in building the economy and of the community in general. Directly and indirectly, men will also benefit from the women who managed the project.
This project managed by women will increase their capacities in mangrove management and coastal planning, decrease women’s vulnerability and risks, and eventually contribute to building climate-resilient coastal communities.