11 October, 2017
‘CARE Bangladesh’s urban resilience work in Gazipur has set an example for others. This kind of initiative needs to be expanded in the future.’ This recognition came out from the National Conference on Disaster Risk Management held in Dhaka on 03-04 October 2017.
Led by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) the conference was jointly organized by 16 Humanitarian organizations including CARE Bangladesh. CARE was one of the four partner sponsors. Held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) the conference brought together over 200 DRR/resilience professionals from GoB, civil societies and academia.
CARE Bangladesh shared its urban resilience experiences that came out from Building Resilience of the Urban Poor project on Day 2, 04 October through a designated session titled ‘Urban Risk Reduction: Our Learnings and Challenges’. Nearly 80 participants from civil society, duty bearers, private sector, academia, community and journalists attended the session where the importance of women engagement in urban resilience building has been acknowledged and inspired.
In the session, Palash Mondal, Coordinator – Resilience and Climate Change presented CARE’s urban resilience work by saying, urban slum settlements and low income communities are highly vulnerable to different kind of shocks and hazards. The level of risk is further exacerbated by growing trend of climate migrants, gender-based violence, limited access to basic services and weak implementation of legislative provisions related to resilience. In most cases women are treated as the vulnerable part of the community, where CARE tried to change the mindset and promote women as ‘A Force for Resilience’.
Community reflections revealed, how the women and girls are playing significant role in disaster management, awareness building, fire prevention and overall community development. Shila, a female Urban Community Volunteer shared her experience of working at Tampaco fire hazard; the worst fire incident after Rana Plaza tragedy. She said that ‘previously, during industrial fire, female volunteers were not welcomed. But during Tempaco Tragedy, the girls were the first to respond. We proved we are equally good’.
Sufia Begum, Chairperson of a Community Development Committee, shared her experience, how she helped affected people after a fire hazard in her community in last January 2017. She told, ‘seeing the fire we called fire service and got involved to extinguish fire by ourselves first. Afterwards, we mobilized relief items from communities and provided emergency food and shelter. Later we contacted district relief office and got emergency food for the first time.’
These success are happening, because CARE Bangladesh believes in women potential and put them in a driving seat to ¬change their status from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘valuable force’ for resilience.
The session was chaired by the eminent urban expert Professor Nazrul Islam; Chairman, Centre for Urban Studies (CUS). He told, ‘only infrastructure projects not enough for a resilient city; community capacity building are equally important and CARE has set out an example through their work.’
The two-day session hosted other five thematic session on ‘Implementing the Sendai Framework in coherence with the SDGs – Bangladesh perspective’, ‘Professionalization of DRM & Humanitarianism in Bangladesh’, ‘Innovation, digitization & ICT for DRM in Bangladesh’, ‘Risk Financing & Business Continuity’, ‘Vision 2021 & the 7th FYP: Making development risk sensitive’.
The sessions ended up by a Deceleration which came out at the second day of the conference. The event echoed that this kind of advocacy initiative should be taken more to promote and introduce new initiatives and innovation, technology, systems and services in disaster risk reduction & management tested at local level, and harness the private sector and scientific community in all these aspects.