The Mary Fran Myers Award, 2004

Madhavi Malalgoda Aribayandu

Madhavi Malalgoda Aribayandu
2004 Recipient of the Mary Fran Myers Award

Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandu is a program manager in disaster mitigation at the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) in Sri Lanka. The disaster mitigation program works in five South Asian countries and collaborates with governments and international nongovernmental agencies. With two M.S. degrees (agronomy and agricultural economics) and extensive research experience, Madhavi is easily able to move between the worlds of practice and theory, and has a demonstrated passion for social justice and change. Madhavi’s significant contributions include:

Addressing gender issues in disasters throughout ITDG’s Asia region on a continual basis, with a focus on linking gender issues with sustainable development and taking a progressive and gender-sensitive approach to risk reduction.

Providing active and thoughtful participation in numerous international forums on disasters, development, and gender and disasters, including facilitating sessions, presenting papers, participating in advisory sessions, and organizing follow-up activities.

Acting as a global role model for women in the disaster field through her actions, publications, and personal commitment. 

Consistently taking a holistic approach toward reducing the vulnerability of women and children to disasters with the demonstrated and practical understanding of the differential impact of disasters on different social groups.

Significantly contributing to a strong and developing body of work and practice that embodies the firm conviction that incorporating disaster risk into development planning and addressing gender considerations in all situations are critical to reaching the intertwined goals of sustainable development and effective disaster risk reduction.

Madhavi’s recent publications include "Defeating Disasters: Ideas for Action" (1999), a book based on a variety of experiences from South Asian countries that argues the need for an alternative approach to deal with disasters, in which mitigation and preparedness are key and "Gender Dimensions in Disaster Management: A Guide for South Asia (co-author) (2004), which places the issue of gender in the context of development and explores how gender and development concerns are reflected in the management paradigm of disaster response.

Madhavi is active in the Duryog Nivaran network in South Asia that addresses issues of hazard vulnerability and mitigation with the understanding that hazards turn into disaster only when societies, communities, and structures become too weak and vulnerable to withstand risk, shock, and seasonality.

She was also the driving force behind ITDG’s video documentary, South Asian Women, Facing Disasters, Securing Life, which relates the stories of four South Asian women from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as they face disasters such as cyclones, epidemics, and civil conflict. The video is aimed at policy makers and practitioners with the goal of creating awareness about disaster mitigation and the critical need for women to assume a more active role.


2003 Mary Fran Myers Awardee - Betty Hearn Morrow

Betty Hearn Morrow is a sociology professor at the International Hurricane Center at Florida International University.

Dr. Morrow has been chosen for her intellectual contributions to research and writing which have irrevocably changed the perception about disasters and risk in the United States. Read more

Call for Nominations

The Gender and Disaster Network and the Natural Hazards Center invite nominations of those who should be recognized for their efforts to advance gender-sensitive policy, practice, or research in the areas of disaster risk reduction. Read more

List of award recipients