2009 Recipient of the Mary Fran Myers Award
Chaman Pincha has played a vital role in integrating gender concerns with disaster management in humanitarian organizations in India by using her independent research to further action in the field. Her belief that research should support proactive policy change and assist communities at risk has led her to use her talents and resources to bring free education to the public.
Pincha, who has a Master of Philosophy in English literature from Madras University and studied political science and economics as an undergraduate, has been able to translate voices from the field into platforms useful to academics, policymakers, practitioners, and the community. She is an active, contributing member of the Gender and Disaster Network community of practice.
In 2005, Chaman served as an adviser on a gender-sensitive water and sanitation program in an area of Tamil Nadu severely affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami. She used her experience to develop research papers and policy recommendations to protect the sexual and reproductive health rights of the affected population, especially women and girls.
Following that, she began extensive research on gender mainstreaming for Oxfam America that focused on Tamil Nadu. She and her research team engaged 45 tsunami-affected communities, collecting a rich body of field information for analysis. The work resulted in a report on the gender dimensions of the tsunami, as well as opportunities and barriers for good gender practice in tsunami response and reconstruction. The report highlighted the existing literature’s shocking gap in information about the social exclusion of transgendered persons in disasters.
These findings were published as Indian Ocean Tsunami through the Gender Lens: Insights from Tamil Nadu, India and served as the foundation for a guidebook called Gender Sensitive Disaster Management: A Toolkit for Practitioners. These resources filled a significant gap in practical material on gender and disasters in India, as well as internationally. The toolkit has been especially useful and is being translated for use in both Indonesia and Turkey.
Pincha went on to work with a number of international NGOs evaluating community-based disaster preparedness and school safety programs in India. Recently, she joined with like-minded colleagues to found a gender collective called Beyond Boundaries. The collective allows those committed to gender justice seeking to pool resources, share concerns, exchange ideas, and work collectively.
Cecilia Castro García is an independent researcher and consultant who has dedicated her work to enabling practices to mainstream approaches of gender equity and integral disaster risk management in community activities, government programs, urban and social development policies, and institutes advancing women’s issues. Read more
The Gender and Disaster Network and the Natural Hazards Center invite nominations of those who should be recognized for their efforts to advance gender-sensitive policy, practice, or research in the areas of disaster risk reduction. Read more