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  • BRAC BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali
    1212 Dhaka
    Bangladesh

    Email: info@brac.net
    Phone: +880 29881265
    Website: http://www.brac.net/

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BRAC

Non-Governmental Organization

http://www.brac.net/

BRAC's mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. BRAC's interventions aim to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programmes that enable men and women to realise their potential.

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Mission

BRAC's mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. BRAC's interventions aim to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programmes that enable men and women to realise their potential.

Disaster Reduction Goal

The Disaster Management & Climate Change programme (DMCC) of BRAC began in 2008 with the following objectives:

* To enhance BRAC’s institutional capacity to respond to natural disasters;

* Build capacity at the community level on disaster risk reduction;

* Increase adaptability and coping ability in natural disasters by conducting predictive research, information transfer and education in relation to environment, climate change and natural disasters.

Policies and Programmes in DRR

BRAC has committed to improving awareness, knowledge and skills among the community as well as its staff to reduce the risk of natural disaster at all levels and to establish Bangladesh as disaster resilient country.

BRAC Disaster Management & Climate Change (DMCC) programme helps communities become more resilient to natural disasters. With our preventive and adaptive strategies, we build the capacity of communities to respond rapidly and effectively, and increase their coping ability during natural disasters. We conduct predictive research, and provide training, simulation sessions and situation reports to both our staff and communities to improve preparedness. When disaster strikes, our emergency relief and rehabilitation support helps communities restore their lives and livelihoods.

Membership in Key Networks

DMCC, BRAC is a member of the following important clusters/ organisation: Food Security Cluster (FSC), WaSH cluster, Shelter cluster, Child Protection in Emergency (CPiE) and SPHERE Community Bangladesh.

Making disaster risk reduction a policy priority, institutional strengthening (HFA 1)

Standard Operation Procedures:

DMCC’s biggest contribution towards establishing disaster risk reduction a policy priority has been the development of the Standard Operation Procedures, as a part of the Emergency Preparedness and Capacity Development initiative, to be shared with the wider BRAC community. Stemming out of the Bangladeshi government’s existing Standing Order on Disasters, the SOP is an empowering tool with instructions to respond quickly and efficiently, cushioning the impact when disaster strikes.

The SOP thus strengthens BRAC’s emergency response system by professionalising the management of disasters, which are recurrent in the low-lying Bangladesh. Through it, an Incident Command System has been established that includes procedural instructions for all levels starting from Head Office staff to individual field staff and programme volunteers. As a result, there has been a paradigm shift allowing staff at all levels to independently make situational decisions during emergencies without waiting for top-down orders.

In order to embed and embody the guidelines set by DMCC’s Standard Operation Procedures, which are being mainstreamed into other facets of BRAC programmes, DMCC has also developed an SOP in Bengali, flyers with SOP practices laid out in layman’s terms and video training manuals on the SOP to be circulated among BRAC staff and the greater community which will further reinforce the messages.

Risk assessment and early warning systems (HFA 2)

Updated Weather Forecasting System:

In order to ensure the rapid dissemination of information on weather patterns, DMCC has taken a host of measures to update its offices and the community with real time data on weather patterns. In order to develop an early warning system, DMCC has made technological improvements that allow for more accurate and up-to-date weather updates to reach BRAC staff efficiently.

Five micro climatic weather stations have been built, allowing DMCC to update various beneficiaries, so that they can plan their activities according to weather conditions

Moreover, to continue delivery on updated weather forecasting as agreed upon by 2011’s MoU signed between BRAC and the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES) DMCC collects daily situation reports from RIMES and various other sources which are then distributed to beneficiary groups. This has allowed all kinds of stakeholders within the BRAC networks to receive flood and cyclone warnings, but also cold fronts; heat waves; heavy rainfall; dry spells; and other climatic events that allow them to make necessary preparations.

Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)

- Capacity Building Trainings: BRAC staff members have been trained in the SOP procedures, and its health workers and health volunteers have received first aid and disaster management skills, in order to provide the community with emergency support in a time of crisis. DMCC also provided trainings to BRAC schoolteachers, Village Organisation leaders, and community leaders, all of whom represent individuals who are usually recognised as first responders during a natural disaster.

Moreover, simulations or reinforcement exercises were conducted that recreated disaster scenarios with audio and visual effects in which representative participants from the entire communities enacted disaster protocols to better prepare for an actual disaster situation. In addition, professional level courses were provided for BRAC staff and high government officials at BRAC University in order to develop an expert team to tackle emergency situations in Bangladesh.

- Community Outreach

As a part of its community outreach efforts, DMCC actively engages in community outreach efforts to put disaster preparedness throughout the wider rural communities in operation at the risk-prone areas. For example, it has developed one page leaflets for BRAC staff, health promoters, teachers and community leaders that act as a simple reference tool for the SOP, allowing quick response during a disaster situation and ensuring better knowledge retention.

IEC Material for children has also been designed in the form of a colourful rapid reader book for distribution throughout BRAC schools. In the form of story telling, it addresses various issues to educate children on how they can better prepare themselves, their families and their friends on disaster management.

Additionally, as a part of community outreach efforts, DMCC has also started conducting Gananatoks or folk theatre for rural communities addressing awareness on disaster response and resilience. This initiative allows messages to be reached and understood more easily in these communities whose members often have limited literacy.

Reducing underlying risk factors (HFA 4)

- Infrastructural Support:

Furthermore, DMCC has taken up various infrastructure projects to help combat the after-effects of natural disasters. It has also constructed 43 disaster resilient housing and a disaster resilient school in collaboration with BRAC University by using local materials and indigenous knowledge, in one of the most cyclone-prone villages of Bangladesh. All of these buildings simultaneously serve the purpose of community cyclone shelters during emergencies to protect people’s lives and assets. Situated in one of the most disaster-prone areas in the southern part of Bangladesh, these structures have enabled the villagers from Paddapukur to lead more secure and resilient lives.

Additionally, BRAC is ensuring the availability of safe water among the vulnerable and affected people in cyclone prone areas. BRAC imported two desalinisation plants for the coastal zone of Bangladesh. The desalinisation plant can ensure clean and safe water both before and after natural disasters considering the propensity, intensity and frequency of cyclone or flood.

- Alternative Livelihood:

As part of its strategies to ensure adaptability, DMCC emphasises in providing sustainable long-term solutions as opposed to providing short-term reactive strategies by providing alternate livelihood options like cultivation of saline resistant rice, fish farming and crab fattening. The programme emphasises on giving importance to women centric households and other such vulnerable groups in a community.

As a part of economic recovery, DMCC worked with the Aila-affected communities to rebuild livelihoods through the adoption of new technologies. Initially DMCC provided financial and technical support to enhance food availability which included alternative livelihood opportunities in the affected areas. To deal with salinity in the soil, BRAC introduced new high yielding saline tolerant rice and maize varieties in this region to restore food security and social safety nets. DMCC programme provided support for fish farming and crab fattening to restore their livelihood. These alternative livelihoods help people to restore their livelihoods as well as contribute to the development process.

Preparedness for effective response (HFA 5)

- Capacity Building Trainings: BRAC staff members have been trained in the SOP procedures, and its health workers and health volunteers have received first aid and disaster management skills, in order to provide the community with emergency support in a time of crisis. DMCC also provided trainings to BRAC schoolteachers, Village Organisation leaders, and community leaders, all of whom represent individuals who are usually recognised as first responders during a natural disaster.

Moreover, simulations or reinforcement exercises were conducted that recreated disaster scenarios with audio and visual effects in which representative participants from the entire communities enacted disaster protocols to better prepare for an actual disaster situation. In addition, professional level courses were provided for BRAC staff and high government officials at BRAC University in order to develop an expert team to tackle emergency situations in Bangladesh.

- Psycho social support
Another important initiative that will especially focus on children will be the introduction of psycho-social trainings for trauma victims of disasters. This is a rather untouched measure in Bangladesh, so DMCC will be tapping into a completely new territory. By giving training on how to analyse symptomatic behaviour of a patient’s past experiences and struggles, this project will be providing counselling services for disaster victims, thus facilitating their return to normal life. In the aftermath of disasters, DMCC now arranges for psycho-social counselling for victims.

- Relief Assistance:

Since inception, BRAC has had veteran experience in providing relief to disaster-affected rural poor. As a continuation of that legacy, the programme implements relief distribution during emergencies for disaster victims on a need based assessment, giving priority to women, children, the elderly and the physically challenged. Provision of relief has also been a key agenda for DMCC. During peak emergency, relief packages include daily essentials needed for survival. The programme also prioritises long-term sustainable solutions that allow victims to be self-sufficient, as was in the case of Aila. The provision of livelihood opportunities for the self-sustenance of ultra-poor thus forms a crucial component of DMCC’s disaster resilience strategy.

Although a reactive measure, relief assistance is a major component of the programme for a country that is frequently affected by natural disasters. Recently, DMCC mobilised resources for relief distribution in cyclone affected Hatiya and Subornochar, as well as landslide affected areas in Cox’s Bazaar and Bandarban.

Furthermore, the programme has been providing water and sanitation assistance alongside different forms of advocacy and structural support to provide aid to disaster affected communities. It installed latrines for sanitation and waste management, assisted with health support and shelter facilities and provided alternative livelihood opportunities in affected areas. It also distributes relief prioritising child and woman headed households; families headed by seniors or handicapped persons and women who are breastfeeding or pregnant.

Other activities

In DMCC programme and strategy development, we build with the community. We work with a number of local organisations, like farmers’ groups, women’s associations, adolescence club, so from them we get crucial information that helps inform our programme design and our strategy development. BRAC’s community driven model for microfinance, health and education, while calling for greater attention to tackle emerging challenges by building on its previous success. In particular, BRAC wants to prioritise projects addressing urban poverty; climate change; youth unemployment; provide integrated services from different programmes targeting the households and villages in need of aid; and look at the ability of BRAC’s various grant based development programmes to recover costs and be financially sustainable.
In recent years, the disaster programme of BRAC has worked with communities in Bangladesh to help them overcome disaster and crisis in their communities. For example, houses in cyclone and flood (in Cox’s Bazar and Jessore districts respectively) affected areas are being built back better by taking the communities’ opinions into consideration. Communities’ voices trigger innovative designs for the houses which the community itself builds and scales up. Other than this, emergency response activities during floods, food crisis and conflicts have been conducted with due respect to communities preference. User friendly technology is introduced into the community during these responses so as to simplify and maximise the involvement of the community.
The Disaster Management and Climate Change (DMCC) programme of BRAC initiates emergency response operations during natural and human-made disasters. The programme envisions itself as a front-line entity that can provide quality humanitarian assistances by prioritising on child protection, women protection and assisting marginalised communities.

Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)

Gawher Nayeem Wahra
Director,
Disaster Management & Climate Change(DMCC)
BRAC

Websites

http://www.brac.net/
http://www.brac.net/partnership
http://brac.net/disaster-management-climate-change/item/745-overview
http://brac.net/disaster-management-climate-change/item/746-programme-activities

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  • BRAC Centre, 75 Mohakhali 1212 Dhaka Bangladesh

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  • Conferences:  - 2017 Global Platform
     - AMCDRR 2016
     - 2018 AMCDRR
     - 2019 Global Platform

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