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East Sujonkathi community translating SFDRR to local dialect

Children in East Sujonkathi, Bangladesh, introduced by volunteer to local knowledge on protecting the environment Children in East Sujonkathi, Bangladesh, introduced by volunteer to local knowledge on protecting the environment Photo by Zakir Shaila

East Sujonkathi Govt. Primary School's Somaj', a small Bangladeshi community facilitated by Krisoker Sor (Farmers' Voice), a GNDR member organisation, is nominated by UNISDR as a candidate to be selected as a "champion of disaster risk reduction" for their efforts of making the locality resilient to disaster risks. Translating the SFDRR into the local dialect is part of a community's initiative for implementing SFDRR successfully at the local level, within an ongoing community revival since it was hit hard by Cyclone Sidr in 2007.

After Sidr in 2007, the small community of East Sujonkathi,  on the disaster prone coast of Bangladesh, worked immediately to develop a local disaster plan, including a community-based early warning system. Through a dedicated team of volunteers the community has also been disseminating disaster information about risks and disaster responses through folk culture, songs and the use of stories and traditional proverbs. The engagement of youth and children at the local primary school as volunteers has been key to all these efforts. The community has been experimenting as well with a combination of traditional housing methods and modern building techniques. At present, they are working on the idea of creating a local inclusive platform for disaster risk reduction and formulating a set of local guidelines to oppose any local development initiative unless it fully complies with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). To do this, they are translating the SFDRR  into the local dialect.

Md. Zakir Hossain of Krisoker Sor (Farmers’Voice), a GNDR member that facilitates the community’s efforts says: “It is challenging to make sense of the chaos which often exists in conventional development discourses, but not impossible. You have to nurture the community’s emotional attachment to the activities necessary to build resilience. Only then, is it possible to explore and utilize the inner strength of the community to guide them towards the moments of happiness.”

 The community has been nominated as a candidate to be a UNISDR "champion of disaster risk reduction". The selected champion communities will be announced during the IDDR2015 on October 13th.

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