Women Leaders shared how they changed their community into a resilient one

Women Leaders shared how they changed their community into a resilient one
29 November, 2017
They used to say, as a women we cannot lead, we are not good at resource management, and cannot take part in rescue operations during emergency, because these are not women-things! But we proved them wrong. From planning to implementation we lead, act and the evidences are now visible. We are in front of you!” – said Sufia Begum, Chairperson of Community Development Committee, Uttar Tetultola during the 2nd Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change.

The three-day long ‘2nd Annual National Conference on Urban Resilience to Climate Change’ held on from 25-27 November 2017 at Institute of Architects Bangladesh. Jointly organized by a number of prominent National and International NGOs, Donors, Research organizations, the event focus on the latest developments in urban resilience policies and practices, challenges and opportunities, best practices and the way forward for cities in Bangladesh to be climate resilient. CARE Bangladesh co-host the conference and lead a parallel session titled ‘Role of Women in Building Urban Resilience’. Bringing over 100 DRR/resilience professionals from GoB, civil societies and academia the parallel session opened up an opportunity to hear from the women leaders that how they unite the community, mobilize people and lead the Risk Reduction Action Planning. Parvin Akhter, EKATA member from Medical Slum explained how she, with other community people solved the severe water crisis of their community through Community-led water supply system, garbage problem through Community-led waste management system, and insecurity because of Gender Based Violence through installing street solar lights at critical points.
Fedousi, a young female community volunteer shared their previous experience of being excluded from taking part in rescue operation during any fire breakout. “Previously we females were not allowed to participate in rescue operations. But, after taking part in a number of community fire and demonstrate our capability to work with Fire Service and Civil Defence, now people can rely on us. The situation has changed now. We call FSCD if there is any hazard, on the other hand FSCD also asked us to join as well. Because, only we women can better help a woman in times of hazard.”
The parallel session also provide a benefit of justifying the best practices and listen from Expert panelists including Development practitioner, Govt. representatives, elected body and Researchers. Mr. Ashekur Rahman, Urban Programme Analyst, UNDP said, “Lots of good works is carried on. Now these exemplary evidences need to carry forward up to the policy making stage, so that these best practices could be scaled up in a greater range.’

Ms. Nurun Nahar Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary, Department of Disaster Management expressed, that the confidence she noticed on the face of these women leaders, is incredible. She agreed that, “it is the societal mindset and norms, which is the hardest challenge to overcome. First, we have to believe that women can lead and have to acknowledge their contribution. Only participation is not enough, women’s voice need to be heard and enabling environment should create for their growth and active participation.”

Dr. Ahsan Uddin Ahmed, Climate Change Expert said, “Often through our approach we overburdened women by imposing too much responsibility on them. To flourish women’s leadership skill and potentiality, male partners should help in domestic works and we, practitioners should help to create the environment of sensitization.”

Mr. Palash Mondal, Coordinator-Resilience and Climate Change bring out some ground level challenges and lesson learned during implementing the project ‘Building resilience of the Urban Poor (BRUP)’ under which these urban resilience activities are being carried on. The session was moderated by Ms. Humaira Aziz, Director-Women and Girls Empowerment, CARE Bangladesh.
The session ended up by a question-answer session from audiences and being wrapped by the Moderator, hoping that we will prepare ourselves to acknowledge women as a leader and society will create more space and enabling environment for women to build a resilient city.
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