Leveraging digital technologies and the market to strengthen rural women's resilience to disasters and climate shocks.

UN Women, with the support of Innovation Norway, is implementing the project “Digital Solutions for Rural Women's Resilience to Disasters” (D4RWRD Project). This project aims at leveraging digital and mobile technology and the expertise of the market to identify innovative partnerships and solutions to respond to the needs faced by rural women and enhance their resilience to disasters and shocks. In this context, an innovative market dialogue process was held on 22-24 June, in the form of a series of virtual workshops, in order to present the preliminary research results to over 150 participants from governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector. This dialogue allowed UN Women and its partners to present the needs faced by rural women in Haiti, Liberia, Malawi, Mali and Senegal and to discuss potential pathways and solutions to strengthen their resilience through digital solutions.

Date: Monday, July 12, 2021

 

The challenge

Women and girls are disproportionally affected by natural disasters and climate shocks, which results in a gendered spiral of vulnerability and poverty. They also remain often ignored and their potential and capacities remain unleveraged in conventional resilience building processes. Due to their gender and geography, rural women and girls face a double discrimination. But digital technologies, in particular mobile technologies, represent a lever to reduce existing gender gaps and strengthen the access of rural women to resilience building mechanisms. Harnessing the digital revolution to achieve gender equality is an even more urgent imperative now, in the wake of the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rural women's resilience to disasters and climate shocks leveraged by digital technologies, Northen Senegal. Photo credits: UN Women.
Women using mobile technology to strengthen their resilience to disasters and other shocks, Northern Senegal. Photo credits : UN Women.

 

The project

UN Women, with funding from Innovation Norway and in partnership with UNCDF (UN Capital Development Fund) and consulting firm WRMS (Weather Risk Management Services), is leading the D4RWRD innovation project, which aims at leveraging digital and mobile technology to strengthen the resilience to disasters of rural women in Haiti, Liberia, Malawi, Mali and Senegal, by facilitating their access to disaster risk reduction, risk transfer and risk financing mechanisms.

 

The market dialogue

As part of the project, a needs assessment was carried out to identify the key barriers that rural women are facing and that limit their access to resilience building mechanisms. An innovative market dialogue process was held on 22-24 June in the form of a series of virtual workshops, in order to present the preliminary research results to over 150 participants from governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector, including fintech and agritech companies, insurance providers, financial institutions, and mobile network operators. The participants provided inputs to the research process, by identifying gaps in current technologies and potential innovative solutions to enhance rural women’s access to resilience building mechanisms.

 

Outlook

The outcomes from the research and the market dialogue will inform UN Women and its partners on the best strategies to leverage the expertise of the market and the potential of digital and mobile technologies to co-design, develop and test tailored products and services to increase the access of rural women in the project countries to resilience-building services that are better tailored to their needs, such as early warning systems, microinsurance or improved credit and savings mechanisms.