In Dacope, like most other coastal areas of Bangladesh, disasters are a frighteningly common occurrence. Shaymoli Basar and other women leaders are preparing early so their communities are ready when the next storm hits.
“I know I cannot stop disaster taking place but I can at least be aware of it, take prior preparation and know my responsibilities during an emergency to reduce risk of disaster,” said Shaymoli.
Shaymoli Basar started going to Bonoful Reflection Action Group run by ActionAid Bangladesh in 2011 and was trained as one of 63 community women leaders. The group has since successfully won government funding to utilise during emergencies. It will be used to buy the medicine they need to stay well, feed their families, and fulfill other immediate needs identified during and after the next crisis.
Shaymoli has also taken matters into her own hands.
“I prepare for disasters by keeping savings, raising my house base, storing dry food according to the Hazard calendar potential months of disaster, keeping valuable documents and cash in plastic wrapping inside a tin box, storing candles, and having a firebox ready for when I need it.”
She stepped up to prepare her own family for the worst, as well as those around her: “Besides my family, I also helped 38 surrounding families to be prepared for disaster,” Shaymoli said.
In total, 1285 families from Shaymoli’s community have taken similar measures. By acting early, she and her community will be better prepared and more resilient when the next disaster strikes.