A new focus: Preparing Denotified and Nomadic Tribes in India for disaster risk

The RISK Award 2015 has a new focus. Our partners from AIILSG now include one of the most vulnerable populations: Nomadic tribes in India.

Makeshift tents nearby an electrical substation: Home to Denotified & Nomadic Tribes

The most vulnerable – The most at risk?
Denotified & Nomadic Tribes (DNTs) live in extreme deprivation. They find shelter in makeshift tents beyond village boundaries, in social and geographic isolation. Access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, livelihood opportunities, electricity, adequate lighting and ventilation are often lacking. A very low educational status limits the chances of breaking the cycle of poverty. Consequently, exposure to natural hazards is very high. No need to say that housing isn’t adequate when disasters such as flash floods or windstorms strike.

Especially women and young girls are at risk. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by the patriarchic structures characterizing these population groups. Women have to face many atrocities including domestic violence and exploitation – child marriage is very common.

Elderly women of nomadic tribes are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters.

India hosts around 650 types of nomadic tribes accounting for an estimated total of 110 million people. To illustrate this: If DNTs represented the total population of a country, it would be the 12th biggest state worldwide! Still, so far DNTs have not been considered in capacity building efforts to reduce disaster risk.

AIILSG embarks on a mission: Preparing DNTs for disaster
Thus the RISK Award team embarked on a mission to reach these disaster vulnerable populations. Accessing them proved to be a challenge in itself, as skepticism towards any interaction with strangers prevails. This behavior is rooted in the era of British rule, when DNTs were branded as criminals and have thereof been suffering discrimination and exclusion over generations. The team from AIILSG however succeeded in mobilizing a great number of people, by interacting with and consequently convincing the Cast Councils of various DNTs that building DRR capacity is of high importance.

In December 2016 a Capacity Building Program for DNTs, with a special focus on women, was held in Ahmednagar, a town located 120km from Pune. The community members were familiarized with the risks posed by natural hazards through a street play, performed by DNT women. To solidify the newly acquired knowledge some technical sessions were held and then put to the test in mock drills.

But that is not all. In the long term the team’s goal is to reach as many DNTs as possible – first throughout the whole of India - and hopefully even beyond.

20 April 2017

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RISK Award 2015 awardee

> All India Institute of Local Self-Government, India


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