Gibika cyclone warly warning - further progress in building resilience in Bangladesh

The Gibika team has established an improved early warning structure for cyclones in the Bengal Village Dalbanga South over the last years. Since the Munich Re Foundation funding for the project has expired by the end of 2017, the task of the last months was to transform the activities into a sustainable development for the region.

To reach this goal, a number of actions has been taken in the fourth quarter of 2017. The successful community capacity building program and the courtyard learning sessions for better disaster risk management were continued and intensified. All activities were monitored within a survey and evaluated in accompanying research projects by the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). The project was scaled up to five additional villages in the area and the team established strategies with local stakeholders for long term implementation.
 

The street drama on 'Cyclone early warning and preparation' was attended by over 500 villagers.
 
Further Community Based Capacity Building
Building capacity on a community basis was one of the main goals of the project. It included extensive training for eight Gibika campaigners who can now conduct the courtyard learning sessions independently. The student group sessions were continued to develop implementation strategies for the disaster action plan, which they mapped in an earlier session. The students also finalized and performed their street drama on 'Cyclone early warning and preparation'. Their performance was attended by 500 villagers including local authorities. It gained great attention and the headmaster announced that the school will organize a street drama again next year.  This will help to keep risk awareness on the agenda in the daily lives of the local people. The projects’ core activity – the courtyard learning sessions – were held monthly to give villagers the opportunity to participate in a long-run learning process on how to reduce risk in case of a cyclone. In total, the local capacity building process is now on a very advanced stage, since all activities can now be organized by locals independently. This will ensure a continuous resilience building process for the future. This and the passion of the people in the communities should contribute to build strong ownership.
 
Monitoring and Evaluation
From the very beginning of the project, Gibika has been accompanied by monitoring and evaluation conducted by UNU-EHS. So far, the project evaluations have resulted in three publications in highly-cited science journals like Ambio, The Lancet and Nature Climate Change. Further publications are already in the pipeline. The scientific audience has rewarded the project with a number of citations and mentions in further publications. On the local level, 250 villagers were interviewed to monitor the progress of awareness and capacity building. The results will be published in an annual report. Overall, the evaluation draws a very positive picture of the capacity building process and it is recognized as a real contribution to understand how local resilience building can work.
 
Actions for sustainable success
To reach the goal of building a sustainably and independently working cyclone resilience structure for the whole region, some activities that took place in Dalbanga South were replicated in five additional villages. In Mollarhora, West Golbunia, North Dalvanga, Majkhali and Latabaria, the Gibika campaigners held ten courtyard learning sessions. The team also started to recruit student groups for developing action plans in each of the villages. The process has also been monitored by conducting 20 interviews per village. 
 

In the future, the courtyard sessions will be organized by local volunteers.
 
To ensure that the process of local capacity building will continue in the future, a cooperation with the local NGO Jago Nari and BRAC, a regional disaster management program are under development. These cooperations could provide project monitoring as well as further trainings for the Gibika campaigners. These activities look very promising and we are convinced that the project will make the next step into a sustainable resilience structure – and maybe serve as a blueprint in other regions.
 
18 April 2018
 

Disaster Prevention

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> Christian Barthelt

> Thomas Loster

 

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