Building equitable and resilient community-based emergency response strategies in rural Guatemala
New global public health challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather crises, have made emergency response and recovery an urgent area of practice and research around the world. Indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities often face both acute vulnerability and institutionalized neglect; however, many also possess important sources of resilience and social cohesion. There is an urgent need to develop on-the-ground, community-based approaches to ensure effective emergency response and recovery to overlapping public health and extreme weather crises in ways that enhance social cohesion, equity and resilience of Indigenous communities. This has not been well researched so far.
This project involves Indigenous research, with a focus on women, and integrates thorough research-action community-based knowledge. It will map gaps and lessons learned from the convergence of pandemic and tropical storm emergency response in 20 Indigenous communities in ten rural municipalities in Guatemala. It will also use quantitative research and big data visualization methods to track public policy and budget allocations for emergency response from national to municipal levels during the last five years. These methods will also track public infrastructure damaged by climate change, including where it has been repaired and/or replaced. Altogether, the project seeks not only to amplify Indigenous communities’ knowledge but also to support their agency to shape and strengthen subnational and national governance structures to have more effective emergency response systems.