Considering the effectiveness of community engagement in the successful implementation of sustainable resilience initiatives, UNDP’s National Resilience Programme is mobilising urban community volunteers from local educational institutions under selected city corporations and municipal areas.
Presently, 240 volunteers are engaged with Rangamati Pourashava where they organise, mobilise and receive trainings on urban resilience issues from experts from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). This is part of an MoU signed with Rangpur Corporation, Rangamati Pourshava, Shunamganj Pourashava and Tangail Pourashava in April 2019 for mutual cooperation to enhance urban resilience to reduce disaster risks and vulnerability.
The volunteers at Rangamati Pourashava are youths from local schools, colleges and universities, of them, 96 are girls.
At an experience-sharing workshop on emergency response held at the pourashava in January, the volunteers shared how they worked with Fire Service and Civil Defense to rescue victims from a fire incident and assisted in taking the injured to nearby hospitals.
Pompy Barua, a master’s student at Rangamati Government College spoke about her experience, saying, “My mother encouraged me to get enlisted as an NRP volunteer for emergency response. I have since been training on resilience issues and I helped in the fire rescue operation. I offered as much help as I could, but I think the response would be better if we were equipped with PPE. I think NRP volunteers should have some vest or protective equipment with the pourashava and project logo.”
Suvarno Chakma, urban planner at the pourashava, said, “The partnership was NRP was a timely initiative for building the local government’s capacity with a focus on empowering the community for better resilience. It is important to continue institutional support for sustaining these resilience efforts.”
Alongside training volunteers on earthquake preparedness, risk management, emergency response, search and rescue, fire safety, institutional arrangement for disaster management and more, the project is contributing to activate the Building Construction (BC) Committee of the pourashava in line with the gazette of Local Government Division. It is supporting regular meeting of the District Disaster Management Committee and the meeting of Ward Disaster Management Committee as guided by the Standing Orders on Disasters (SoD).
Other major interventions include the assessment of earthquake risks and ward-based earthquake contingency plans. The project is also organising lessons and experience sharing workshops regularly as part of knowledge-sharing efforts.
With technical support from UNDP and funding from SIDA and FCDO, National Resilience Programme is working to substantially improve resilience, reduce risk of disaster, minimise loss of lives and livelihoods and invest in public and private sectors to build resilience. NRP also emphasises gender responsiveness and inclusiveness in its interventions to ensure no one gets left behind.