Keywords: gender, sustainable development, disaster preparedness, information technology, women, self help groups, India, disaster management, tsunami, Tamil Nadu, emergency management, sustainability, natural disasters, female independence, telecentres, village knowledge centres
Women, information technology and disaster management: tsunami affected districts of Tamil Nadu
Women tend to be more affected by natural disasters and are also a key to managing the aftermath of disasters and promoting disaster prevention as shown in this case study of Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India after the 2004 tsunami. Utilising information technology in innovative approaches, a network of 3,500 women's self help groups actively addressed the practical needs of the population after the tsunami including credit, livelihoods, water and sanitation, and healthcare and education. The women worked to ensure the continued sustainable development of the region through using information technology channels for disaster recovery, management and preparedness. Multi-utility telecentres, also known as Village Knowledge Centres (VKC), were run by the local women to promote social change through communication. Gaining knowledge skills also promoted their own independence and advancement.