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Climatic disasters are a recurrent problem in Peru. The impacts of disasters differ between and within regions and communities. Rural upland communities, largely dependent on small-scale agriculture and natural resources for survival, are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of extreme climate events. Government policies have not only failed to mitigate this vulnerability, but have served to exacerbate it. Women face particular vulnerabilities in the context of extreme climate events. Traditional analysis and government policy approaches have served to obscure these. This article reflects on the gender-specific lessons learned by the Centre for Andean Advancement and Development, CEPRODA MINGA, during its work with poor rural communities in the Piura region of Peru in the aftermath of the 1997-8 El Niño phenomenon. It focuses on the ways in which rural communities, and women in particular, have traditionally been excluded from policy creation, and considers how they can become influential social and political actors creating their own strategies for sustainable development and disaster mitigation and preparedness.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.

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