Virtual Core: The Virtual Knowledge Centre for Community Based Disaster Management

The need
Climate change was still not a mainstream discussion. So, what does it look like at the micro level and how can awareness be raised among key stakeholders? This was the question on which a three-year programme on climate change and community-based disaster management sought to shed light.

How we helped
The conceptualised programme had three main facets: research and advocacy; community awareness building; and ongoing knowledge resource activities.

A multi-media campaign – Small Acts Big Impacts – was developed which included a comic book and animation film, board games, quizzes, activity books and posters. 10,000 schools across 14 states were reached with awareness materials. ‘Eco Clubs’ and ‘School Safety Clubs’ were also initiated.

Regional workshops and study of climate change hotspots helped to understand the mitigation and adaptation strategies already practiced locally. The advocacy report – ‘Boiling Point’ – presented case studies from different parts of India; where local communities are already under the assault of climate change. Ten broad areas of intervention were identified in the given national context.

2009 was also the year of COP 15 in Copenhagen, hailed as a critical break-or-make meeting. Leveraging the opportunity to educate Indian youth and campaign for more ambitious outcomes, a sustained awareness campaign was implemented in partnership with Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) and Greenpeace. The two-week event in December 2009, was entitled ‘Summit 2 Summit: Himalayas to Copenhagen’. It kickstarted with a large open-air concert of environmentally conscious artists – Climate Ke Liye Bajao (play for the climate). Supporting activities were implemented in Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad.

In its third year, the project adopted a research-based approach, focusing on adaptation strategies for distressed migration communities. In particular, it addressed communities from flood prone areas of Orissa and Bihar, hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh and urban settlements of Delhi. 6

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