Rigan A. Khan
Rigan Ali Khan is project officer for the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Programme in Bangladesh
Posts by Rigan
Bangladesh has a population of 16 million in a small area. It is on a journey with the aim of becoming a developed country. Apart from the challenges and barriers, Bangladesh has become better known globally for using effective measures to build more resilient communities.
Being a delta country, Bangladesh is vulnerable to natural hazards such as floods, riverbank erosion, cyclones and drought. All these hazards are expected to increase in intensity and frequency under a changing climate. In addition, increased temperature, erratic monsoon rainfall, sea level rise and salinity intrusion not only increase the frequency and impact of hazards to become more dangerous but also are expected to have a serious effect on lives, livelihoods and food security.
So it is vital in Bangladesh to build communities that make lives and livelihoods more sustainable.
But do we give equal attention to the people who live in these communities and to society as a whole? “Sometime yes but sometime no” is the reply from those of us who work in this field. And there are are a few reasons for saying that that. Community based organizations (CBOs) play a major role in building resilience by performing two major activities.
Firstly they organise community meetings to discuss issues, to raise awareness, to review action plans, prepare plans in advance for disaster emergency fund and many other things.
Secondly they are active in response to a disaster by helping in the distribution and management of relief, saving lives from the disaster and sheltering affected people.
CBOs also look after income generating activities, social welfare, deal with social crises, network with service providers and much more. This emphasis on community led work through mobilizing to build better resilience is where the community based organization provides a vital platform for a vulnerable community to take the initiative in capacity building alongside both Government and Non-Government Organizations.No Comments » | Add your comment
To improve the resilience of flood vulnerable communities in Bangladesh, Practical Action has been working in the north-west of the country on a Vulnerability to Resilience (V2R) project under the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation programme.
This project, funded by the Zurich Insurance Group, has piloted new practices such as developing Local Resilience Agents (LRA) to sustain the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable flood prone communities by providing an early warning system voice SMS service and delivering vaccination campaigns.
V2R has trained 181 LRA in 15 flood-prone areas of Sirajgonj and Bogra on services requested by the communities: crop management, livestock service, fisheries and paramedical services. These agents combine entrepreneurship and volunteerism to serve their community with skills that supplement other extension agents. By providing these services they are also earning, which is improving their livelihoods.
One LRA is 38 year old Mohammad Abdul Khaleque from Thakurpara village in Sirajgonj. After starting the V2R project in Sirajganj District in 2009, he was selected as a volunteer to provide support for community resilience by minimizing the loss and damage of livestock from flooding. He received 18 days training which included 15 days technical training on livestock health services and three on disaster preparedness and response in 2010. The project provided equipment to help him perform his duties. In 2015 he was selected to a LRA and had refresher training to give more comprehensive support to the community. He has extended his livestock treatment service to eight neighbouring villages and earns 400-500 TK a day by providing treatment to cattle.
He was also selected for training for the Bangladesh Water Development Board’s Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) and received equipment to disseminate the Flood Early Warning System (EWS) as a Gauge Reader. He collects water level readings five times a day and sends them to the FFWC.
“Now I am well known as “Doctor Khaleque” in the surrounding community of Takhurpara village and different people, officials and service providers come to me and contact me which makes me proud and feel that I am doing good for my community”
He now has a well-built, tin house, some savings and sufficient food for his family. He has also purchased cows, installed a tube well for safe drinking water and set up a latrine to ensure a healthy life for himself and his family. While he was unable to finish his studies, he is making sure that his children are going to school regularly. Asked about his future plans, he replied, “continuing and expanding my livestock services to more communities.”
For faster communications, he is thinking of buying a motor bike and for quick response he also provides emergency information via his mobile phone.No Comments » | Add your comment
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