What is BRAC?
BRAC is a development organisation dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor to bring about change in their own lives.
We started out in Bangladesh in 1972, and over the course of our evolution, we have established ourselves as a pioneer in recognising and tackling the many different realities of poverty.
Our Climate Change Work
In order to respond proactively to the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters as well as other manifestations of climate change, BRAC’s Disaster, Environment and Climate Change programme is moving beyond relief and rehabilitation into institutionalised preparedness, risk reduction and management interventions as well as long term adaptation strategies.
Frequent natural disasters induced by climatic change adversely affect the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Bangladeshis and threaten to slow down, or even reverse, the progress made so far in poverty alleviation. The Disaster, Environment and Climate Change (DECC) programme was established in 2008 as a consequence of lessons learnt while helping communities cope with the devastating effects of cyclone Sidr, which struck in November 2007.
The programme seeks to:
– promote better disaster preparation and management
– increase awareness about climate change and its impact
– undertake research to identify successful risk reduction and coping mechanisms
From inception BRAC has been quick to respond to natural disasters, reaching out with emergency relief and rehabilitation support. To be more effective, however, we must build up capacity to offer proactive responses – such as empowering communities to prepare for natural disasters and to train themselves to be the first responders when calamities strike. BRAC has to be ready with tools to help affected people move more quickly into recovery mode. Our approach therefore stresses the need to institutionalise disaster management and risk reduction through creation of (a) capacity (b) adaptation strategies and (c) linkages and knowledge generation.
We are strengthening a core team with knowledge and expertise to review relevant risks, calculate probabilities, prepare contingency plans and lay out specific procedures for disasters. This team will deliver training on hazards, risk reduction and responses and use local knowledge and draw on international experience, to prepare BRAC staff to respond to emergency situations so that more lives can be saved and losses mitigated. Surveys of disaster-prone areas will be used as tools for resource allocation and preparedness. The programme will also prepare itself to handle disasters in neighbouring countries and places where BRAC works. Adaptation strategies will be key to meeting the challenges of climate change.