Strengthening Community Resilience against Disaster through the School Safety Initiative (SCRSSI) project in Kurigram District Bangladesh, a place affected badly by multiple hazards such as flooding, drought, thunderstorms, earthquakes, river erosion and flash floods. Plan International Japan funded this project to improve the learning environment to minimizes the impact of disaster so that girls and boys in the most at risk communities in Bangladesh have equal access to safer education.
In the targeted school catchment areas, the project team formed 12 youth groups which has 281 members (including 127 adolescent girls. The objective of forming these Youth Groups is to increase their knowledge and awareness on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Gender & Inclusion. It helps foster important participation in school and community disaster preparedness, so that they can be the actors of change, leading and thriving the community resilience, building step by step.
The SCRSSI project oriented them on multi hazards - DRR and CCA, disaster preparedness and response, risk mitigation, gender & inclusion, COVID-19, School Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) and Ward Disaster Management Committees (WDMC).
The Youth Groups acted right away to start their own regular meetings such as courtyard sessions and house visits. From this they had already supported more than 3,000 families to develop their own family disaster preparedness plans by January 2021.
During the COVID-19 pandemic period theYouth Groups came up with their own initiative to campaign on the pandemic prevention. They received orientation and masks from Plan which they demonstrated by wearing the masks and keeping socially distanced all the time they also handmade masks under the girl member’s leadership. By January, they had distributed more than 2,500 face masks and soap to the vulnerable groups of people in their communities using their own pocket money but also mobilized financial resources from parents, community people, union parish chairman and ward members, donors, teachers and SDMC.
One Youth Group took another initiative to support the community. They decided to cultivate vegetables with their own investment and effort. They rented a piece of land from a landlord for 288 USD per year. The landlord was very impressed by their contribution in the current COVID 19 situation and he agreed to provide the necessary support for their initiative. The youth group members planted the vegetables. They used organic fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer. They cultivated seasonal vegetables like radish and cabbage. They sold their harvest vegetables at a local market and also locally from house to house by offering a lower price. Even free for very poor community members. Their efforts are very much appreciated by the community members.