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Home Project Portfolios Reducing the Risk of Disaster through Promotion of Rights and Good Governance
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Reducing the Risk of Disaster through Promotion of Rights and Good Governance

Commenced in 2008

Partner organization: Manusher Jonno Foundation

Goal: To reduce the vulnerability of people living in disaster prone areas through improved governance and promoting human rights.

Overview:

Natural disaster is a major cause of poverty in rural Bangladesh. The costs of rebuilding homes and the lost income from damaged crops frequently push already poor families further into poverty. Without support in disaster preparation and recovery, households find their situation becoming increasingly worse.

Insufficient resources and a lack of strong governance mean that the infrastructure necessary to prevent disaster is usually not feasible. In the absence of such structural solutions, BDPC is seeking to increase communities’ resilience by facilitating access to government services which can help them recover from and prepare for disaster. While there are numerous government agencies responsible for such services, individuals are often unaware of their entitlements, or the services are simply not being provided.

In addition to this rights based approach, the project also provides capacity building in household disaster preparedness measures.

At the centre of this project is community empowerment. By helping communities to take action at a household level, and claim the services they are entitled to, BDPC seeks to give communities the opportunity to embark on a pathway of sustainable development, despite the ongoing challenge of disaster.

Intervention areas:

In order to reach those most in need, BDPC has selected three of the most disaster prone and remote regions of Bangladesh for implementation of the project.

Chouhali                             

Chouhali lies on the edge of the Jamuna River in the Sirajgonj District of Bangladesh. The Upazila of Chouhali is separated from the rest of Sirajgonj by the vast expanse of the Jamuna, leaving it frequently excluded from services. Chauhali’s location makes it highly vulnerable to river bank erosion. In September 2010, the township of Chauhali lost a market, a mosque and a high school into the swirling waters of the Jamuna within a few hours. Flooding also poses a serious threat to the predominantly agricultural communities of Chauhali. Without the resources or governance for a large scale embankment and dredging project, reducing vulnerability is a matter of sound preparation and coping strategies.

Kutubdia                            

Kutubdia is an island Upazila off the south coast of Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazaar District. The majority of inhabitants are dependent upon agriculture and, to a lesser extent, fishing. Almost every year the island is struck by cyclone or inundated by tidal surge, threatening lives, homes and means of income. High salinity levels mean fresh water is scarce and disease is widespread, not only for humans but also for crops, fish and livestock.   

Faridpur Sadar

Faridpur Sadar is an agricultural Upazila transgressed by the Kumar and Padma rivers. It suffers almost yearly flooding and frequent destruction from riverbank erosion. Although infrequent, tornadoes have also caused widespread devastation. In addition, almost all of Faridpur Sadar’s tube wells are contaminated by arsenic, putting around 7000 people, over a fifth of the population, at risk.

The process:

BDPC has assisted the target communities in identifying respected and capable individuals to become Change Agents (CAs), and forming Ward Disaster Preparedness Committees (WDPCs) and Upazila and District Facilitation Committees (UFCs and DFCs). With support and training from BDPC, these individuals and committees take responsibility for leadership and knowledge sharing around disaster management and also learn to advocate for the rights of themselves and their neighbours.

BDPC works with the WDPCs to develop Local Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plans. These plans detail sm

all, low cost initiatives which can be implemented by the communities themselves to reduce their vulnerability to disaster. Examples include establishing early warning systems, repairing roads and providing skills training. At the same time, training is provided for government service providing agencies to build their capacity in understanding community needs, providing services and managing projects and employees. Finally, the project has an advocacy component, whereby BDPC is lobbying the Government to provide the infrastructure necessary to reduce flooding and prevent river bank erosion.

Through changing the mindset of government actors, empowering communities to claim their rights and entitlements and enhancing the capacity of service providing agencies, BDPC seeks to see all stakeholders working together to reduce the impact of disaster in these vulnerable communities.

Project documents:

"Stories of roddur": a selection of case studies (Bengali) download pdf

 

 

Comments  

 
-2 #1 Mashud al Khalifa 2012-01-10 16:18
A Prolific achievement , in Reducing & Promoting Climate Changes disaster awareness to Geographically utmost and Economically marginalized peoples of Bangladesh.
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