Reducing the vulnerability of communities through policy and practice change in East and Central Africa.

Communities in East and Central Africa are regularly confronted by a combination of complex disasters. Each year more and more people are adversely affected by natural hazards, such as drought and flood, as well as crop and livestock disease, civil conflict, unstable markets and/or volatile food prices, gender inequalities and HIV. These natural and human-induced disasters often result in loss of lives, assets and livelihoods, weaken the social support systems and substantially erode development gains. Climate change and the rapid increase in populations living in marginal areas are certainly some of the greatest challenges facing the region, and of which lead to conflict, land degradation, deforestation, and unsustainable use of the natural resources.

Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is seen as critical in supporting initiatives by communities and governments efforts in the region to reduce vulnerability and build resilience of the populations at risk. The UNISDR defines Disaster Risk Reduction a: The concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and manage the causal factors of disasters, including through reduced exposure to hazards, lessened vulnerability of people and property, wise management of land and the environment, and improved preparedness for adverse events.(UNISDR Terminologies 2009)

The European Commission has been instrumental in supporting the website as a key player in disaster risk reduction in the region. The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Drought Cycle Management Decision Programme for the Greater Horn of Africa  builds on the gains of previous drought preparedness programmes, designed to support population affected by recurrent droughts in the region. It is estimated that over 14 million nomadic, semi-nomadic pastoralists and agro-pastoralists are at risk from drought in the Greater Horn of Africa. The European Commission is working with partners across the Horn of Africa in support of strategies, pilot DRR actions and community-based operations to bring solutions to the communities. The good practices and lessons learnt are intended to contribute to the critical mass and voice requisite in influencing policy and development agenda in the region.

This website therefore serves as a platform to promote the disaster risk reduction agenda in the region, providing insights and linkages to national, regional, continental and global frameworks and actions on Disaster Risk Reduction. It also seeks to provide technical and policy guidance, standards and information in order to enhance coordination and learning for better programming and increased community resilience in the region.