Prevention of disasters and local governability

This is an archive page. For the most recent information, please see our main page on disaster prevention, risk management and climate change adaptation in Latin America.

Strengthening capacities for disaster prevention

We believe that technology can help to prevent disasters. Poor people can learn to protect their families and homes from the consequences of disasters.

Practical Action's work in this field is to identify the needs and experiences of people, to empower them to prevent disasters and to support them in their reconstruction plans.

We also promote including the risk management approach in public policies and in strategies of adaptation to climate change, both of which are key aspects for reducing poverty and for the sustainability of development projects.

Some of the most important actions we have developed in this area include:

  • carrying out research and studies on disasters and on the appropriate use of urban and farming spaces;
  • training and advisory to communities and local governments in the elaboration of prevention, development, and reconstruction plans;
  • technical assistance to local governments, institutions, and organizations.

Practical Action housing reconstruction project in Moquegua which was involved with the building of earthquake resistant housing after the earthquake that struck the south of Peru in 2001

"After the earthquake that hit Moquegua in 2001, we lost our houses and goods - we tried to look for places to protect our children… Practical Action, a new organisation in town, provided training and support to build new and safe houses. Men, women and young people were trained in every stage: from the foundation to the final touches. We are so glad to have taken part in the training! In the past we had to live in little shanty huts - we would have been soaked by the rain by now. But now we have a home, a nice and safe home."

Rosa Palomino
Moquegua Reconstruction Project

Read more about this programme on the Soluciones Practicas website (Spanish), or via Google translation.

List of disaster prevention projects in Latin America | Project news | Programme history

Recent achievements

Disaster Prevention

  • Co-establisment of the Latin American Network on Disaster Studies and Prevention (Red latinoamericana de estudios y prevención de desastres - La Red).
  • One of the biggest projects on Climate Change Adaptation carried out on 7 regions of Peru.
  • Strengthened local capacities to reduce disaster risks in the jurisdictions of local municipalities in Peru and Bolivia.
  • Elaborated risk maps in the communities of Colcabamba (Huancavelica), Chota (Cajamarca), San Martín, Piura and Belén de Urmiri (Potosí, Bolivia) with a participatory approach.
  • Training in risk management provided to 2,600 teachers, local authorities and community leaders in Ica, Cajamarca, Áncash, Tumbes, Piura, San Martín, Ayacucho, Lima, Lambayeque, Huacavelica, Arequipa, Moquegua, Tacna, and Puno, as well as in Bolivia and Nicaragua.
  • Trained over 2,846 people affected by disasters in construction techniques using quincha, adobe (mud bricks), and blocks using appropiate technologies in Moquegua, Tacna, Ayacucho, Ica and San Martín.
  • Included the risk management approach in the National Environmental Education Plan and in the education plans and policies of the Peruvian Ministry of Education. We have also worked together with the specialists of the Ministry of Education to elaborate the teachers' guidelines on risk management in educational centers. The guidelines were tested and validated and published by the Ministry (a total of 50,000 books were published and distributed all over the country).
  • 42 NGOs and institutions of 8 departments of Peru and of 2 departments of Bolivia have been trained in risk management. They have established risk steering committees and elaborated 17 project profiles that have been submitted to the regional governments and municipalities for their approval and implementation.
  • 65 publications (books, manuals, technical sheets) related to risk management and disasters prevention for rural communities.


  • Reconstructed over 1,346 houses and community facilities and 28 schools in Ica, Moquegua, Tacna, Ayacucho, San Martín, and Piura that had been affected by earthquakes or political violence.

Improved technologies

  • Designed the Disaster Inventory System or DesInventar (database software).
  • Improved quincha and adobe techonologies to reconstruct houses after disasters.
  • Methodology to assess risks of disasters with a participatory approach in rural communities.

Climate change

  • Practical Action Peru is the most important source of information about Climate Change and Poverty in Peru.
  • In 2008 we launched 8 books describing our experience and learning on Climate Change adaptation (the biggest collection on climate change in the country).

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