The increasing effects of climate change should be reshaping the way that we think about poverty alleviation and development. For many households, the shocks from a natural disaster can lead to increased economic and social vulnerabilities.
The yearly Frugal Innovation Forum at BRAC brings together leading practitioners from the NGO, corporate and entrepreneurial sectors along with academics and policy makers. It has proven a great platform for debate and the sharing of best practice.
“Data not only measures progress, it inspires it. What gets measured gets done. Once you start measuring problems, people are more inclined to take action to fix them because nobody wants to end up at the bottom of a list of rankings.”
Not often does one come across a girl who is interested in chasing a career in agriculture. Paradoxically, research shows that more than 60 per cent of women worldwide are responsible for putting food on the table. In that case, why aren’t more people, notably young women taking up a profession in agriculture?
A young woman in her mid 20s is shoveling debris of a completely ruined house, as her mother looks on. The older woman spots the camera and says, “Look they are taking your picture, smile!” Prior to the earthquake, the family of six used to live in a two-storied house. Now the parents along with the daughter live in a dome-shaped temporary shelter built of CGI sheet, while the son lives with a cousin. The father is a sculptor at a local shop and the mother works in a small farm they own. “We are alive and safe, but our house is gone,” says the mother.
While many developing countries have made breakthroughs in the agricultural sector, chronic hunger remains our biggest challenge. Today about 805 million people suffer from chronic hunger globally, and around 65 per cent of them exist in Asia and the pacific. We know that the global population is expected to increase to nearly 9 billion by 2050. To meet the growing food demand we need to increase agricultural production by 60 per cent globally. In the newly formed SDGs, agriculture is a crosscutting theme.
It is said that the total number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by 12-17 per cent if women’s access to resources were equivalent to that of men. Still perceived to be a male-dominated field, the agriculture sector in Bangladesh has seen a dramatic rise in female participation, now exceeding 50 per cent. October 15th is International Day for Rural Women and here are some of their stories.
Due to its geographical location, Bangladesh faces various types of slow and rapid onset of natural disasters. In the coming years, the country will have to bear the increasing brunt of climate change. While relief work is swiftly undertaken by many organisations, there is work to be done on the long-term social and psychological rehabilitation of the people, particularly children living in the affected regions.
In the coming years, countries and communities will bear the brunt of climate change. Future projections of the rise in temperature and sea level along with increase in natural disasters are feared. However, we tend to forget that it is the future generation who will have to live through these consequences. It is widely asserted that the poor, in particular children, will be most affected – greater physical exposure to natural hazards and increased risks of health being two of the main reasons.
During the summer and monsoon seasons, Bangladesh is prone to nor’westers, floods, tidal surges, cyclones, and tornados. These can be extremely destructive and therefore preparedness is crucial for risk reduction. Understanding this, BRAC has been addressing disaster preparedness in several ways within its programmes. Here’s how.
“I had never seen such a large-scale calamity before," said Puja Gloria Rodrigues, psychosocial counsellor from BRAC University’s Institute of Educational Development (IED). Three days after the Rana Plaza collapse, she arrived at the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics Rehabilitation (NITOR) in Dhaka along with a group of counsellors.
Right after the Rana Plaza collapse, a special committee from the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office decided that BRAC would assist in the rehabilitation of amputation survivors. Specialising in upper limb prosthetics support, BRAC’s limb and brace centre (BLBC) has been providing these services, frequently working with the government and other NGOs to reach those who have lost limbs through accidents and diseases.