Inspiring Young Rescuers, Sindh, Pakistan
1. To raise awareness among school children and teachers on the link between disaster risk reduction and mangrove conservation.
2. To develop solutions to reduce the impact of natural disasters.
The project focused on the coastal areas of Sindh, which are vulnerable and exposed to cyclones and tsunamis, and thus on the inhabitants of these coastal areas who would be the first to be affected by such natural disasters. Low adaptive capacities to climate change, unplanned developments and the increase in population have put immense pressure on the coast, which has heightened the risks related to natural hazards. Due to the shortage of freshwater inflows in the Indus delta, overexploitation and industrial pollution, the mangrove ecosystem is being rapidly degraded, thus exposing coastal villages to grave risks. The mangroves are considered effective in protection of coastal villages against cyclones, high tides, and possible tsunamis. Education and awareness are effective means to create understanding of the nexus between mangroves and disaster risk reduction. Realising this need, the project was aimed at sensitizing coastal communities on the conservation of mangroves by highlighting significant role of mangroves in protection of coastal areas against natural disaster impacts. Teachers and children are the most promising community group to take this message forward. The project has therefore engaged school teachers and students and encouraged them to take small scale initiatives on mangrove conservation as well as to disseminate awareness in their community.
Local community, teachers, students and the CBOs.
1. Sensitizing the communities of Rehri and Ibrahim Hyderi coastal villages.
2. Identification of local solutions to disaster risk reduction.
1. 500 students, 40 teachers and SMC members and 38 males and females community members were sensitized on how mangroves can help in reducing the impact of disasters.
2. World Mangroves Day was celebrated at the community level on 9th May 2012.
3. Two community groups were established - one from Ibrahim Hyderi and the other from Rehri, to liaison with the Forest Department.
4. Symbolic plantation of mangroves carried out by students, teachers and the community members.
Lack of electricity in the villages led to several strikes that reduced the availability of local participants. The team also had a difficult time using audio visual materials for the training and awareness raising sessions. However, this was resolved when MFF authorized the purchase of a small generator to complete the project activities in time. Mobilizing the community members was difficult, since fishermen are often at sail and therefore not available for village-based activities.
During the project, a booklet and few posters were prepared in the local languages Urdu and Sindhi, and were disseminated to the community, teachers, students, CBOs, Government Departments and other stakeholders to increase awareness of the linkages between mangroves conservation and disaster risk reduction.
1. Engaging the media is very important as an advocacy strategy. However, it requires great efforts, resources, printed information, and a constant dialogue with the journalists to keep them engaged and therefore should be included in planning from the onset.
2. Community mobilization is a slow and difficult process and needs continuous motivation and incentives.
3. The fishing community has its own cycle of work and similarly the schools have their own academic priorities and schedules; these do not necessarily match the project’s timeline and should be accounted for.
4. Stakeholders’ coordination is essential to meet the end results.
Rehri and Ibrahim Hyderi coastal villages, Sindh, Pakistan
1st Nov 2011 to 30th Apr 2012
Trust for Conservation of Coastal Resources, Karachi