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.