‘Cross Regional Learning on Indigenous Knowledge on DRR’ to be held in Bangladesh

March 3rd, 2010 - 6:01 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Mar 3 (ANI): The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies along with Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, and with due support of Disaster Preparedness European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO) and Swedish Red Cross, is organising a workshop on ‘Cross Regional Learning on Indigenous Knowledge on ‘Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)’ in Bangladesh from March 8 to 11.

The workshop is aimed to share, exchange and identify gaps on Indigenous knowledge across South Asia, South East Asia, South Arica and the Pacific regions.

Can behaviour of animals and birds predict disasters, can wind directions and patterns provide clues on impending emergencies or sounds of rivers give warnings? Often the indigenous experiences are retold after the emergency has hit the area.

The research of anthropologists have documented such instances of traditional knowledge that are passed down from generation to generation have been internalised within the communities in their life styles and cultural understandings.

Generally, such knowledge is based on a sound understanding and interaction between humans and their local environments, which is closely linked with indigenous coping mechanisms to deal with emergencies.

The local community members along with DRR practitioners’ participants will also take part in the workshop to discuss, and potentially, identify linkages between modern technologies and the use of indigenous knowledge.

The documented experiences of traditional practices have showcased existing understanding among communities on early warning systems, coping and adaptation strategies, preparedness, livelihood opportunities in the time of disasters etc, but in different and localised languages, which is spread out in regions and communities.

For instance position of celestial bodies or noticing behaviour of birds and animals to inform about expected disaster; eating/surviving on dry fruits or eating one or two times in a day to cope with emergency situation; using roof of the houses to store belongings to save assets; generating alternate source of income like ferrying.

These cultural indigenous traditions and systems have found relevance and connections in modern technologies too. And the value of traditional knowledge as coping mechanisms on these systems now needs to be recognised, validated and documented.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been promoting the ‘Building Safer Communities’ approach in South Asia since 2007 aiming to develop communities resilience to natural disasters, strengthen national societies, work towards community preparedness and establish networks to promote regional and cross regional learning. (ANI)

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