Building Preparedness of Vulnerable Communities through Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives

Snap Shot: Funded by : HelpAge International ; Project Period     : July 2017 to March 2020, ; Geographical Location : Kurigram District, Rowmari Upazila

Desired Impact: The goal of the project is to contribute to preparing communities to better withstand reoccurring natural disasters. The project will build on learning from the existing project to focus on basic disaster preparedness techniques as well as encouraging community structures and livelihoods which contribute to building disaster ready communities. In doing so communities will be able to better anticipate, respond to and recover from the negative impact of recurrent natural hazards.

Outcomes, Objectives and Activities: High-level summary of progress made toward achieving the overall outcome(s) of the project during the reporting period.

Outcome 1: The capacity of 104 targeted communities including older women and men and people with disabilities have been strengthened to reduce the negative impact of disasters caused by natural hazards ensuring their capacities and needs are reflected and addressed in disaster prepared livelihoods, inclusive disaster risk reduction plans, and disaster response actions in Bangladesh by the end of the project. The project has been able to develop or re-establish 24 OP inclusive Community Disaster Management Committees (CDMC), 2 Union Disaster Management Committee (UDMC), in Bangladesh. These local bodies are inclusive and have representation from all religion, castes, ethnic group or vulnerable groups, present in the community. These committees are organizing monthly meetings on a regular basis with a clear agenda, and also documenting the minutes of meeting. Most of them have conducted or revised the PVCA and has also prepared the risk reduction plans. They are submitted to the local government for endorsement. The local government has taken up activities from the previously developed plan and also completed few of them. Government in Nepal provides DRR fund for use during emergencies on annual basis which is a good recognition of the committees created. Sub-committees have been formed on early warning system, search and rescue and first aid in both the countries, as per the government guidelines. For provision of OP inclusive disaster preparedness and response materials, Bangladesh team has identified 356 most vulnerable older people whose vulnerability can be reduced by provision of aid-assistive devices. About 3,000 OP have been able to benefit through livelihood seed grants and strengthen their livelihoods. The activities for further strengthening the committees and training of sub-committees is planned in the second year of the project.

Outcome 2: Humanitarian actors including local, national and international NGOs, UN agencies, government and donors have knowledge, capacity and appropriate tools and plans to ensure age inclusive humanitarian responses in Bangladesh and Nepal by end of project. A google survey of likeminded and humanitarian orgnizations (both at local and country level) is planned to be conducted to understand current understanding of the organization and their interest in age and disability inclusion. The questionnaires in both the countries have been finalized and are expected to be launched in August 2018. Based on the results of the survey, the organizations will be asked to nominate a focal person in organization. A training of inclusion standards will be organized in September 2018 in Bangladesh; and in October 2018 in Nepal. Following the completion of these trainings, we expect about 25 percent participants to prepare a personal/organisational action plan, which will then be given specific technical assistance on age and disability-inclusive CBDRM planning. HelpAge local partners in Nepal have implemented HOPE trainings at local level for awareness of stakeholders on inclusion and they also plan to implement trainings on inclusion standards also in November and December 2018.

Outcome 3: Disaster affected older women and men meet their age inclusive crucial needs, and also reduce lives lost by lower profile South Asian natural disasters during the project period. During the project period, four emergencies have been responded through REF, two in Bangladesh and two in SriLanka. Through REF, HelpAge has been able to provide initial response for floods, landslides and severe cold wave. The fund mobilized for the four emergency responses is USD 73,049 which has benefited 15,282 older people and their family members directly with provision of cash grants, blankets, drinking water, non-food items, supplementary food, and outreach health services. The beneficiaries for ongoing SriLanka response are not yet reported as HelpAge is still responding to the emergency. To set a good example on data collection and its use during emergencies, HelpAge in Bangladesh responded to emergencies in the areas of MACF project presence. The targeted older people households have been selected from the list which was prepared during the PVCA exercise conducted in the target communities under MACF IDR phase-1. This helped in quick identification of target beneficiaries and helped in timely response to the emergencies.

Outcome 4: Knowledge management and systematic learning and sharing of age and gender Inclusive Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) has been improved for ensuring better quality of CBDRR programming within HelpAge and its network Under this outcome, HelpAge is working on development of age-inclusive DRR strategy. The focus is on digging down to the specific actions needed for older people in disaster mitigation, preparedness and response.