Duryog Nivaran is a research, training and advocacy network committed to promoting disaster risk reduction in South Asia at policy and community level. It strives to build the knowledge base of stakeholders by sharing research findings, information, experiences and insights on emerging issues of disaster management in the countries and communities in the region. With the initial partnership of number of organizations from five South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and ADPC. The network embarked on a three year programme of work supported by ECHO and DFID.
The organisations taking charge of the activities in each country initially were Disaster Forum Bangladesh, ADPC, Bangkok, DMI India, NWCF Nepal, SDPI, Pakistan, and Practical Action, Sri Lanka. Journalist Resource Centre and Rural Development Policy Institute replaced SDPI as the focal point in Pakistan. The current membership now been extended to Maldives, Afghanistan and Bhutan. On the bases of its thirteen- year work,Duryog Nivaran has been able to create its constituency, has established its credibility, and proved its relevance as a collective knowledge, expertise and commitment on disaster risk reduction in the region.
• In 1995, the Duryog Nivaran network was established to fill avoid in cross border dialogue and experience sharing among organizations,governmental or otherwise, working in the world’s most disaster-prone region
• Duryog Nivaran promotes an alternate perspective towards disasters- be they natural or man-made. This perspective points out that people affected by disasters are more mere victims but partners in their future development and well-being.
• The network’s activities are information sharing, building a concerned media, research and grassroots community action
Duryog Nivaran emphasizes much on the media and its importance in fighting the stereotypical view that disaster-prone communities are helpless victims who cannot change their circumstances. The media is a key target for many network activities. The network possesses some of the best examples of community-involved disaster management practices in the South Asian region. The experience of making these flood, drought, earthquake mitigation efforts work has been invaluable to both academics and field workers. In 2006 Duryog Nivaran drafted a South Asia Policy Document on disaster risk and its effect on people’s livelihood which later on formed the basis for the South Asian Policy Dialogue. It also published the South Asian Disaster Report.
The overall aim of Duryog Nivaran is to reduce the communities’ susceptibility to disasters and conflicts. This is achieved by incorporating the Five Policy Principles at conceptual, policy and implementation levels of disaster mitigation and development programmes in South Asian region.
We hope to get disaster mitigation guidelines included in countries’ development plans (just as gender and environment issues have been incorporated) as an immediate and significant goal.
We will work towards creating better understanding of the alternative perspective through research, advocacy and networking in the region. We hope to convince both grassroots organizations and government department working on disaster management and research institutions the need to look at disasters differently. This will be achieved through demonstration projects and research.
The media is another focus. Often media precipitates the existing social order and reinforces prejudices that hamper communities’ ability to change their situation with regard to disasters. Attitude change among the media personnel that would reflect in a change in the way disasters are commonly reported throughout the region is another goal of the network. To achieve these, Duryog Nivaran will: Provide an opportunity for national and regional organizations in South Asia to strengthen their capacity and carry out effective disaster mitigation and development activities by sharing information, learning from each other’s experiences and providing support to each others’ activities. Make the case for the alternative perspective by analyzing existing interventions and demonstrating, through research and action, other approaches that challenge the existing paradigm Carry out specific activities to influence decision makers in government, donor and non-government agencies.
Duryog Nivaran activities are organized on the following themes.
Understanding linkages with society
If disasters are considered as a normal part of the overall development of society, it is necessary to understand how natural hazards and conflicts are linked to different aspects of this society. Issues of development, livelihood and gender are the main areas of concern.
Myths of science and technology
The dominant perspective of treating disasters as isolated events stems from ‘scientific knowledge’ as analysis for disaster causes.Duryog Nivaran hopes to research and demonstrate the limitation of natural sciences-based framework and the importance of other knowledge, especially that which comes from indigenous sources.
Lack of accountability among those who are engaged in disaster management activities have only served to increase communities’ vulnerability and their inability to cope with future disasters. This is true for formal institutions as well as field-level players and grassroots organizations. Duryog Nivaran advocated participatory strategies as a key aspect.
Cooperation between countries in South Asia for better preparedness and management of flood, cyclone,earthquake and conflict, is essential. The network hopes to bridge some of the knowledge and activity gaps that have arisen due to non-cooperation.
Understanding vulnerability and capacity
Strengthening the capacity of disaster-affected people is considered a key element in the disaster mitigation strategy advocated through Duryog Nivaran. There is a need to investigate methodologies and indicators used at present and develop new indicators for better capacity building.
Risk and Livelihoods
Millions of people in the developing countries ‘live with hazards’, drought, floods and the like. Risk management is part and parcel of their daily livelihoods. This is reflected in the livelihood patterns, crop calendars, type of housing, festivities, in social dynamics, in belief systems.There are various internal coping mechanisms to manage risk inbuilt into the livelihoods. Preparedness based disaster management/alternative perspective needs to be based on the existing knowledge and systems.
Research to identify the relationships between disaster risk and livelihoods, coping mechanisms,ways and means of strengthening the livelihood options, and demonstrating the identified options are carried out under this theme. The dominant perspective of treating disasters as isolatedevents stems from ‘scientific knowledge’ as analysis for disaster causes.Duryog Nivaran hopes to research and demonstrate the limitation of the naturalsciences-based framework and the importance of other knowledge, especially that which comes from indigenous sources.