Children play a key role – Disaster risk reduction in Pune
What have drawing lessons got to do with disaster risk reduction? How can an illiterate person carry out a risk analysis? The RISK Award Project 2015 in Pune provides us with the answers to these questions.
It has been a year since the All India Institute for Local Self-Government won the RISK Award in 2015. Munich Re Foundation joined AIILSG for a field trip and evaluated the project's progress in February 2016. The NGO is implementing an ambitious programme to prove that the risks for slum residents ensuing from disasters can be dramatically reduced – with simple methods and means. This interesting project is based on several different pillars.
Self-dependent risk analysis
Women's self-help groups strengthen the community
This can include simple things such as safe handling of gas canisters, the use of a fire-extinguisher or participation in First Aid courses. The measures also extend to complex evacuation drills in the event of a landslide or earthquake. What is important is that responsibility is gradually transferred to the women and that they can independently qualify other women in the slums to become trainers. "This not only strengthens the resilience of the entire community but also the status of the women themselves", emphasises Shweta Gupta (AIILSG). The slums in Pune are divided into sections by straight lanes. Each of these lanes consists of roughly 20 to 40 households housing approximately five people respectively. For each lane in the project area, up to three women were appointed to take responsibility for a well-equipped first-aid package, hang up posters with emergency numbers in the community area, and organise further training measures.
Children are the key
The slums in Pune are just the beginning
In addition to this, AIILSG wants to examine whether the SAP tool and the formation of self-help task forces also make sense in semi-urban and rural areas. The organisation has chosen the small town of Medha in the Satara district as the target region. Earthquakes, landslides, droughts, spring tides and flooding form a dangerous mix in this area. Initial contacts are being set up with the schools, and once again it is the children who are important as first voices for the project.
During the work with the small children and the women in Pune, it quickly became clear that a further group of people must be integrated more closely: the adolescents. They are the trainers of tomorrow and are on the interface between school, training and professional life. AIILSG is trying to anchor knowledge on disaster risk reduction more firmly in this area too by cooperating with the universities. Joint training courses and seminars are being offered, for example at the Yashwantrao School of Social Work in the Satara District and at the Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune. To underscore how important also young people are, Prof. Mukesh Kanaskar, Head of AIILSG, speaks of a movement: "Young people must realise that they are important pillars of our society. They can contribute a lot to safety. For this reason we are founding the 'My DRR' initiative: Movement of Youths for DRR." If disasters are made a priority for everyone – men, women, adolescents and children alike – Pune and many other regions in India and elsewhere will be much safer.
CB, 09 March 2016