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Disasters, formal education and adaptive capacity - Does people’s level of formal education influence their risk from climate-related disasters? A case study of an informal settlement in Rio de Janeiro

Brink, Ebba (2010) In LUTVDG/TVBB—5349—SE VBR920 20102
Division of Fire Safety Engineering
Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety
Abstract
With a worldwide increase in climate-related disasters and the global temperature on the rise, the effects of climate change are already being felt. Among those most at risk are the poor in developing countries, often living in informal settlements or „slums‟. In order to reduce associated risks and strengthen people‟s own coping capacities, there is an urgent need for knowledge about the factors that determine people‟s capacity to cope with and adapt to adverse climate conditions.
This study examines the influence of formal education, as opposed to income, in determining the adaptive capacity for the residents of Rocinha, an informal settlement in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where floods and landslides are recurrent. The research thereby... (More)
With a worldwide increase in climate-related disasters and the global temperature on the rise, the effects of climate change are already being felt. Among those most at risk are the poor in developing countries, often living in informal settlements or „slums‟. In order to reduce associated risks and strengthen people‟s own coping capacities, there is an urgent need for knowledge about the factors that determine people‟s capacity to cope with and adapt to adverse climate conditions.
This study examines the influence of formal education, as opposed to income, in determining the adaptive capacity for the residents of Rocinha, an informal settlement in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where floods and landslides are recurrent. The research thereby explores the potential of promoting formal education as a way to increase people‟s capacity to cope with adverse climate effects. The information for the study was gathered through observations, interviews with residents and key informants in Rocinha, and literature review. Both statistical and qualitative analyses have been made of the data gathered. The statistical analysis investigates how formal education influences people‟s level of risk, including their coping strategies and the institutional support they receive. In the qualitative analysis, the direct and secondary effects that education may have on risk and people‟s adaptive capacity are explored.
The research results indicate that formal education has a more significant role in determining people‟s level of risk and their coping capacities than what has hitherto been acknowledged. In fact, the study identified the importance of people‟s level of education for their awareness and understanding of existing risks. It was further revealed that in the study area, formal education plays a more determinant role for women than for men to their capacity to cope with disasters. In addition, it became obvious how formal education can have a mitigating effect on factors such as poor health, teenage pregnancy, littering, substance abuse, organised drug trade and illegitimate growth of the settlement – all of which were found to exacerbate people‟s level of risk.
On this basis, it is concluded that promoting formal education as a way to increase people‟s coping or adaptive capacities is justified, not only due to its potential influence in increasing people‟s level of income. (Less)
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author
Brink, Ebba
supervisor
organization
course
VBR920 20102
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Adaptation, adaptive capacity, Brazil, climate change, coping capacity, disaster risk, disasters, favelas, income, informal settlements, landslide, Latin America, risk reduction, Rocinha, formal education, flood
publication/series
LUTVDG/TVBB—5349—SE
report number
5349
ISSN
1402-3504
language
English
id
1858881
date added to LUP
2011-03-28 11:36:44
date last changed
2014-03-10 10:40:38
@misc{1858881,
  abstract     = {With a worldwide increase in climate-related disasters and the global temperature on the rise, the effects of climate change are already being felt. Among those most at risk are the poor in developing countries, often living in informal settlements or „slums‟. In order to reduce associated risks and strengthen people‟s own coping capacities, there is an urgent need for knowledge about the factors that determine people‟s capacity to cope with and adapt to adverse climate conditions.
This study examines the influence of formal education, as opposed to income, in determining the adaptive capacity for the residents of Rocinha, an informal settlement in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where floods and landslides are recurrent. The research thereby explores the potential of promoting formal education as a way to increase people‟s capacity to cope with adverse climate effects. The information for the study was gathered through observations, interviews with residents and key informants in Rocinha, and literature review. Both statistical and qualitative analyses have been made of the data gathered. The statistical analysis investigates how formal education influences people‟s level of risk, including their coping strategies and the institutional support they receive. In the qualitative analysis, the direct and secondary effects that education may have on risk and people‟s adaptive capacity are explored.
The research results indicate that formal education has a more significant role in determining people‟s level of risk and their coping capacities than what has hitherto been acknowledged. In fact, the study identified the importance of people‟s level of education for their awareness and understanding of existing risks. It was further revealed that in the study area, formal education plays a more determinant role for women than for men to their capacity to cope with disasters. In addition, it became obvious how formal education can have a mitigating effect on factors such as poor health, teenage pregnancy, littering, substance abuse, organised drug trade and illegitimate growth of the settlement – all of which were found to exacerbate people‟s level of risk.
On this basis, it is concluded that promoting formal education as a way to increase people‟s coping or adaptive capacities is justified, not only due to its potential influence in increasing people‟s level of income.},
  author       = {Brink, Ebba},
  issn         = {1402-3504},
  keyword      = {Adaptation,adaptive capacity,Brazil,climate change,coping capacity,disaster risk,disasters,favelas,income,informal settlements,landslide,Latin America,risk reduction,Rocinha,formal education,flood},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {LUTVDG/TVBB—5349—SE},
  title        = {Disasters, formal education and adaptive capacity - Does people’s level of formal education influence their risk from climate-related disasters? A case study of an informal settlement in Rio de Janeiro},
  year         = {2010},
}