Bangladesh has often been called one of the most disaster prone countries in the world. After the deadly cyclone of 1991, the Bangladeshi government recognized that it was crucial to promote disaster preparedness and management across the country. As a result, Bangladesh has been observing National Disaster Preparedness Day (NDPD) every year on the last work day of March. This year, NDPD was celebrated all over the country on March 10 with the theme “We will not be afraid of calamities, we will overcome those”.
A key component of the Pathways program is to strengthen communities’ resiliency to cope with disaster. For this reason, Pathways actively participated in NDPD events at the district, upazilla, and local levels. In the Pathways working area, CARE Bangladesh participated in a rally, contributed to a newspaper supplement, printed posters, and furthered awareness on disaster preparedness. At the local level in targeted project upazillas, Pathways staff provided assistance to the Upazilla Disaster Management Committees in organizing a rally, facilitating a discussion session on NDPD topics, hosting a school student gathering about the NDPD objectives, and leading a school quiz competition in SW and NW regions. Pathways staff also participated in key activities at the regional level, like participation in a rally and in a stage performance on disaster preparedness and response by the government during cultural program at different level. In total, approximately 2,000 people attended the program.
Pathways had a number of reasons for participating in these events:
- To increase CARE’s exposure and to be aligned with the national disaster preparedness program,
- To increase the exposure of key players in disaster preparedness and resilience building at the community levels to the Pathways program,
- To increase awareness in the communities on disaster preparedness,
- To build linkages with Upazilla DMCs, Upazilla Administration, and key stakeholders at the Upazilla level for disaster preparedness.
- Posters highlighting the theme of the NDPD were printed and posted around the country.
- Around 1,500 school students participated in the discussions, rallies, and quiz competitions.
- Around 10,000 people were sensitized about the NDPD and the Pathways project through loud speaker messages, rallies, promotional posters, etc.
- Around 20 government officials, 50 teachers, 50 staff from local NGOs, 15 staff from Local Government and 15 staff from local media participated actively in the NDPD events.
Divisional Level Activities
In Rangpur on March 10, in observance of the NDPD, district administration organized a colorful rally and seminar. Speakers at the discussion stressed innovating new scientific knowledge and information dissemination technologies and early preparedness with efficient emergency response management system to reduce the risk of natural disasters.
In Khulna, another colorful rally, along with drawing competitions, prize distribution, and a mock demonstration of fire fighting, were organized. Hundreds of people, including officials and representatives of different GO-NGO, students, teachers, public representatives, participated in the rally in the streets.
Local Level Activities
In Kurigram and Satkhira, Pathways held a student gathering and quiz competition on disaster topics at the high school. Pathways helped to organize a rally, a discussion session on disaster preparedness, and an award ceremony involving stakeholders at different levels. Technical Manager-G&CM of Pathways attended the different sessions.
About 500 people, including students, teachers, local government officials and journalists, attended the two-day event. On behalf of the upazilla administration, the respective Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO) and Project Implementation Officer (PIO) led the events. Technical Manager-M&E of Pathways, as well as field-based staff, facilitated different sessions.
In Kurihram, NDPD really were held with students from DC office to Collectorate School on disaster preparedness. In addition, a discussion session and simulation was also held, around 850 students (from class VI to X) participated in the occasion. On March 10, PATHWAYS staff together with the upazilla administration organized a colorful rally for approximately 150 people including government officers, NGO representatives, and students.
In Satkhira events were held on March 10 the colorful rally has inaugurated and headed by the Deputy Commissioner, a quiz competition for the high school students, Cyclone simulation and a discussion meeting. The rally started at the DC office to Razzak Park Satkhira, around 575 people participated including students, GoB, NGO officials, school teachers and local people.
All the participants including representatives from the local administration, elected members, teachers/religious leaders and NGO representatives stressed adequate preparedness for reducing disaster risk and losses during their discussion. Special emphasis was placed on how individuals can increase their resilience to shocks to be better prepared for disasters.
- The programs, particularly involving school students and found them very effective for raising mass awareness.
- Quiz competitions among students are an efficient tool to increase immediate and long term awareness in the area of disaster preparedness.
- The joint effort may enhance any program quality. The local administration appreciated the initiative especially involvement of Pathways and participation from different community people and mainly school student.
 For quiz competition primarily 15 Students were selected among 300-350 students from 4 schools at each Upazila through open question on general Knowledge on Disaster Management.