Indegenious practices to protect crop against drought
Climate Change Community Disaster Management CommunitySolution Exchange for the Climate ChangeCommunitySolution Exchange for the Disaster ManagementCommunityConsolidated ReplyQuery: Translating Traditional DRR & CCA Knowledge intoAction - Referrals; AdviceCompiled by Ramesh Jalan and G Padmanabhan, Resource Persons and Jai KumarGaurav and Nupur Arora, Research AssociatesIssue Date: 06 January 2012From Vijayalakshmi Viswanathan, Safer World Communications, NewDelhiPosted 21 November 2011…As streams dry up earlier each summer, a small remote community in Ladakh is buildingartificial glaciers to compensate. The process was ignited by one man.….It is said that days before the Chamoli earthquake, new springs sprouted from the mountainand exiting ones began smelling of sulphur. An early warning sign?To watch a short video highlighting some of these stories click here (English). Toview the video in hindi click here.We have all heard such stories. In fact, environment friendly and safety enhancing techniquesabound across all geographies and spheres of life. Much of this abundant traditional wisdom andlocal innovation can be revisited, helping discover solutions that can reduce disaster risk andaddress climate issues today. Yet, since many of these stories are not scientifically validated, theyoften remain hidden or are not taken seriously. There is a need to translate this existing rich andin-depth traditional knowledge into handy and quick reference material using creativecommunication techniques and to disseminate this information to vulnerable communities,
grassroots disaster managers, local administrators, NGOs in disaster-prone areas and otherinformation seekers.One way of doing this is to build up a digital repository of such stories from across geo-climaticzones focusing on the thematic areas of water, shelter, livelihoods and early warning. Theseleads can subsequently be subjected to a stringent review process and can eventually form thebasis for a comprehensive e-learning platform aimed at policy decision makers and fieldpractitioners.Safer World Communications (www.saferworld.in) and the Solution Exchange DisasterManagement and Climate Change Communities are interested in taking this forward based on theinterest of relevant stakeholders. In order to build upon the idea and share experiences, we areorganizing a stakeholder consultation in Uttarakhand in December. The consultation aims to bringtogether different organizations (local and national) that work on issues of DRR and CCA and areusing different forms of media to share traditional evidence-based knowledge.In view of this we request the members of the Disaster Management and Climate ChangeCommunities of Practice to kindly:• Advice on how best traditional knowledge can be captured using innovative communication tools and share any experiences from your organizations;• Share references of Development Practitioners/ Organizations who could be invited to participate in the Workshop or be made a part of this learning initiative at some point.Looking forward to hearing your insights!Responses were received, with thanks, from1. Sunder Subramanian, Independent International and Infrastructure Consultant/Advisor, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India (Response 1, Response 2)2. P. C. Joshi, Society for Indian Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Delhi University, Delhi3. Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota, West Bengal, India4. Smriti Shukla, GoI-UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India5. Anuj Tiwari, Global Forum for Disaster Reduction (GFDR), New Delhi6. Archana Chatterjee, WWF-India, New Delhi7. Prashant Khattri, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha,8. Maharashtra, India9. Venu Arora, Ideosync Media Combine, Faridabad, Haryana, India10. Amit Choubey, Sri Someswar Nath Mahadev Trust, Champaran, Bihar, India11. Sunil D Santha, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India12. Gyaneshwar Singh, Independent Consultant, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India13. K. Karthik Pyramanic Shyam Sundar, KISEA, Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, India14. Man B.Thapa, UNDP, Kabul, Afghanistan15. Shalini Jain, SEEDS, New Delhi16. Annie George, BEDROCK, Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India17. Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi (Response 1, Response 2)18. Dipankar Dasgupta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
19. K N Vajpai, Climate Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India20. V G Reddy, Rural Reconstruction and Development Society (RRDS), Gudur, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh, India21. H.S.Sharma, Sobha Sariya Engineering College, Sikar, Rajasthan, India*22. Satheesh KK Sridharan, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India*23. Anthony Chettri, Caritas India, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India*24. Jyotiraj Patra, Concern Worldwide India, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India**Offline ContributionFurther contributions are welcome!Summary of ResponsesComparative ExperiencesRelated ResourcesResponses in FullSummary of Responses • Traditional knowledge developed through thousands of years of experience and intimate contact with the environment is a precious resource that could contribute substantially to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) if captured properly and documented comprehensively. • The use of traditional early warning knowledge by ‘primitive tribes’ like the Onge and Jarawas of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands to escape the devastation of the Tsunami was highlighted. • Careful observation of the behavior of animals, appearance and color of the sky have been used as early warning of natural disasters and ancient religious texts have quoted several approaches to tackle the challenges of natural disasters. • The major challenge in replicating traditional knowledge and practices is lack of documentation therefore translating traditional knowledge into local languages will lead to effective implementation of DRR and CCA programmes. • A three stage process involving development of a network of informants, establishment of a vetting process and documentation of authentic information needs to be evolved. • The documentation could be in the form of stand-alone photo-essays, reading materials, multimedia including audio, videos etc. and they need to be categorized for effective electronic storage and recovery. • Researchers at Tata Institute of Social Sciences are involved in a research project that attempts to capture local knowledge systems related to Early Warning Systems (EWS) with respect to coastal hazards in Kerala through in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs).
• The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) publication “Indigenous Knowledge for DRR” (2008) is an elaborate document highlighting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge.• The Development Research Communication and Services Centre in West Bengal, has captured Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in agriculture and the livelihood sector including ‘Grain Bank’, ‘Seed Bank’, integrated farming, land shaping in water logged areas, use of uncultivated food and mixed cropping.• Terralingua through a project called Vitality Index of Traditional Environmental Knowledge (VITEK) that includes a methodology for collecting and analyzing data leading to the creation of a locally-appropriate, globally-applicable indicator focused on trends of retention or loss of TEK over time is compiling traditional knowledge.• WWF India has used the “Climate Witness” approach to capture traditional knowledge and experiences from Ladakh and Sunderbans in form of publications. A film in local language Ladakhi (as well as English) titled Living with Change has also been prepared.• Studies by researchers at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Sikkim highlight the traditional knowledge of Lepcha community that could help in DRR and CCA. For example, according to a folktale Utis trees grow in landslide prone areas, techniques to convert toxic plants products to edible products could help survival during disasters.• Traditional knowledge related to plant and animal varieties that can cope with adverse environmental conditions, rain water harvesting structures, ‘quanats’ or underground dykes and tunnels for transfer of sub-surface water by gravity to the surface have been highlighted as potential CCA measures in the Bundelkhand region and also in Rajasthan by researchers at National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.• A study supported by International Labour Organization (ILO) in Durgapur, West Bengal and Mayurbhanj, Orissa found that communities planted short duration crops like minor millets, stored dry fish and collected seeds from forests to cope with droughts.• Transfer of knowledge could be facilitated between communities directly. For example communities living in the India-Bangladesh border region of Nadia & Murshidabad districts in West Bengal have adopted the housing designs & tube well raising techniques used by communities living in flood-prone areas of Bangladesh.• A tribal community living in a flood prone area, in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu had constituted small groups of youth to monitor the level of the rising water in the river with notches on a stick. Mechanism of tying ropes across the river to cross them, collection of money per month per family for providing support during floods was highlighted.• During 1991 earthquake in Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, families living in traditional houses mostly survived. Therefore it is important to capture traditional construction knowledge and integrate them with the present modern practices.• The various spheres of local knowledge with respect to monsoon prediction in India have been captured successfully in a paper titled “A Societal Knowledge Management System: Harnessing Indigenous Wisdom to Build Sustainable Predictors for Adaptation to Climate Change”
• The Misings community of the Brahmaputra River Basin builds raised houses and earthen mounds to protect themselves during severe floods. Community members become fishermen during flood seasons and become farmers during the Rabi season as a climate change adaptation strategy. • The national policy on disaster management of the Government of India has devoted a separate section on knowledge management and highlights the importance of indigenous traditional knowledge. • Participatory communication that aims to facilitate the expression of peoples needs and priorities through effective communication processes was highlighted to capture the traditional knowledge of communities by involving all major stakeholders. It is also imperative to publicize regular messages through print and electronic media and utilize network of research institutions, universities, colleges etc. in order to capture the traditional knowledge for effective implementation of DRR and CCA programmes.Comparative ExperiencesAndaman and NicobarTraditional knowledge among Onge Tribes (from H.S. Sharma, Sobha Sariya EngineeringCollege, Sikar, Rajasthan, India)During the 2004 Tsunami which affected many countries and communities, not a single person ofthe ONGE tribe from Andaman and Nicobar was killed. They survived with the traditionalknowledge that when the sea is extraordinarily quiet, run away, passed on to them by theirelders.Andhra Pradesh and OrissaTraditional Practices to protect crops against drought (from Ranjan Praharaj, FocusHumanitarian Assistance India, Gujarat- contribution from a previous discussion)Indigenous communities here practice shifting cultivation which provides enough space forconservation. They cut the forest, burn the residue and clean the shifting cultivation site. Thenthey collect and keep the residues and loose boulders of the top soil layer across the slopefollowing the contour lines. This is a unique practice of conservation of soil and water, which alsohelps in resisting droughts.GujaratReferring to Calendar months and constellations (from Anshuman Das, DevelopmentResearch Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota, West Bengal, India)Farmers in Saurashtra region plan their farming activities by referring to the traditional calendarsand almanacs.KerelaCharacteristics of rain (from Sunil D Santha, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of SocialSciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)Farmers in Kerala believe that heavy rains will follow a very hot summer month.Orissa
Traditional coping mechanisms of tribals, Bhubaneswar (from Rudra Prasanna Rath,State Documentation and Media Consultant, National Rural Health Mission, Orissa- contributionfrom a previous discussion)In Orissa tribes like Munda, Kondha, Saura, Kolha have their own way of preserving nature andcoping against distress. They follow proper cycle for shifting cultivation providing enough spacefor conservation and consider forests sacred and therefore do not destroy the environment. Thishas helped them conserving the environment they live in with practices which are ancient.Using bio-indicators for disaster preparedness and warning (from Pradeep Mohapatra,UDYAMA, Bhubaneswar- contribution from a previous discussion)In Orissa, since ancient times communities have been using bio-indicators situated at elevatedareas to identify safe flood shelters; black ants with eggs climbing up, symbolizes heavy rainsand running cows indicates severity during village fires etc. These have over the years beenculturally accepted and tested for successful results.Uttar PradeshIndigenous agriculture interventions from flood affected area (from Gyaneshwar Singh,Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group, India- contribution from a previous discussion)GEAG with 20 local partners collected more than 100 indigenous agricultural interventions fromthe flood prone area. These include diverse agricultural issues which helped in improvinglivelihood and food security of the community. Also more than 364 indigenous technicalknowledge practices on biocides, bio-manure, etc. have been collected and documented. Theirapplication has given many benefits to the farming community epecially to small and marginalfarmers.Tamil NaduTraditional practices for monitoring river water, Cudallore (from Annie George, BEDROC,Nagapattinam)A tribal community living in a flood prone area involved youth to monitor river water levels andinform the community in case of a rise. They also had other systems like tying ropes across theriver to hold while crossing the flooded river and collecting money per month per family to meettheir needs during the floods. With these mechanisms in place they have managed tosuccessfully face frequent floods.Observing the wind movement, Location if applicable (from Anshuman Das, DevelopmentResearch Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota, West Bengal, India)Farmers in Tamil Nadu observe that the Northeast wind brings rain and the northwest wind wipesout the rain. They also expect a good rain in October- November, if there is more wind duringJuly-August.From Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota, WestBengal, IndiaWest BengalGrain BanksBengal has a tradition of community grain reserve practices so that at the time of scarcity anddisaster, grains can be borrowed at a very low rate of interest, which is returned back to thegrain bank itself. This can provide support during sudden attack of disaster. In the last ten years,
175 such grain banks have been created with 3000 households in south Bengal. Most of thebanks have enough grain reserves to last them for 60 days.Seed BankGetting seeds is a big problem if crop is lost due to disasters. Farmers therefore are encouragedto document the old crops which are suitable to local agro climate and keep stock of nativevariety seeds. Seeds are shared during stress and post disaster. There are at least 13 salinetolerant paddy variety identified, which was on the verge of becoming extinct.Integrated farmingFarmers in Bengal are used to cultivate at least 5-6 types of crops, 10-12 types of vegetables,fruit and fuel trees, medicinal plants including 2-3 types of livestock - all coupled together as anintegrated farming system. This decreases external dependency of synthetic chemicals byutilizing garbage and non-human excreta to produce biogas and other organic inputs. Multi-layered mixed cropping is done to make the system self-equipped and more resilient.Land shaping in water logging areasIn Sundarbans, the low lands remain waterlogged for at least 6 – 7 months in a year in absenceof any escape route for the accumulated rain/flashflood water. In order to address this problem,the farmers change the shape of the land so that a pond/canal/trench is excavated in a portionof the plot, where the water is drained and the excavated soil is used to raise a section to makeit suitable for growing vegetables throughout the year.Mixed croppingEspecially in dry-lands, mixed cropping with minor millets, pulses etc. are very valuable tocombat slow onset disasters like drought.West Bengal and OrissaSaving fish cultivation from Floods (from Ranjan Praharaj, Focus Humanitarian AssistanceIndia, Gujarat- contribution from a previous discussion)To save fish from floods, farmers in the coastal regions put bamboo pegs in the fish pond beforethe flood and just before the pond is submerged with flood water they hang fried fenugreek onthese pegs at different places in a pond putting it in thin cotton cloths. As per the farmers, if thefried fenugreek is hanged inside the pond then the fishes do not leave the pond. Thisconsiderably reduced the risk of washing away of the fishes in flood water.From Sunil D Santha, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai,Maharashtra, IndiaMultipleObserving Atmospheric patternsFarmers anticipate heavy rains within a couple of hours if their sky attains a dark color, - as darkas crow’s egg. Conversely, they predict drought conditions, if the sky acquires a faint yellowcolor.Observing characteristics of celestial bodiesRural populations in India observe that the presence of rings or halo around the sun or moonindicates imminent rain.Using Bio-indicatorsThe good foliage of Mahuda (Madhuca Latifolia) tree indicates good monsoons.
Festivals and ritualsLocal communities associate the commencement or termination of monsoons with certainfestivals and rituals respectively. Local communities in North India, predict the occurrence of rainby observing the wind direction during Holi.Flood resistant paddy seeds (from Ranjan Praharaj, Focus Humanitarian Assistance India,Gujarat- contribution from a previous discussion)To protect crops from floods, farmers plant flood resistant paddy seed using indigenousagriculture practices. They plant the seeds in late summer and in early monsoon without anychemical fertilizers. It grows well and before the flood season its roots are deeply embedded inthe earth and consequently the plant becomes strong. Such plants grow so well that duringharvesting the plants are cut into two pieces; one is used for fodder and the other part for annualrenovation of thatched houses.InternationalIndonesiaAnimal singing as tsunami warning, Mentawai Islands (from Asep Moh Muhsin, TAGANA,Cianjur, Indonesia- contribution from a previous discussion)In the island singing of the animal bilou is believed to work as a premonition of disaster. Thisphenomenon is used as an early warning sign for tsunami waves. The local community is alreadyaware of this indigenous knowledge for early warning systems and therefore bilou is protected bythe Government of Indonesia and the world community. This has significantly helped the tsunamivulnerable island community to take appropriate action on the tsunami warning.Traditional practices to manage Drought, Kidul Mountain (from N M. Fahrul Effendi,Indonesian Red Cross, Yogyakarta- contribution from a previous discussion)The community in Kidul Mountain has for a very long time become familiarized to live in droughtconditions. They have their own way to adapt with the natural environment in order to meet theneeds of their daily necessity and their agricultural land. The community works together tomaintain their environment. They have also developed custom regulations for the community inorder to maintain and manage their existing water resources.Related ResourcesRecommended DocumentationGlimpses of Series of Participatory Exercises in Coastal area of Sunderbans, West Bengal,to Understand the Stand/Response of the community to the Climate Crisis (from AnshumanDas, Development Research Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota, WestAvailable at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res21111101.doc (Doc, 134 KB) Highlights communities’ understanding and perception of vulnerability, especially due to climatic changes and their response to the unsustainable development practicesHyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations andcommunities to disasters (HFA) (from Smriti Shukla, GoI-UNDP Disaster Risk ReductionProgramme, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India)Report; by United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction; Geneva; January 2005;Available at http://www.unisdr.org/eng/hfa/hfa.htm (PDF, 405 KB)
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction held in January 2005 in Japan, adopted HFA with the aim of building the resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.A Societal Knowledge Management System: Harnessing Indigenous Wisdom to BuildSustainable Predictors for Adaptation to Climate Change (from Sunil D Santha, School ofSocial Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India)Paper; by Mr. Sunil D Santha; Bardo Fraunholz and Chandana Unnithan, published in InternationalJournal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses;Available athttp://tiss.academia.edu/SunilSantha/Papers/771163/A_societal_knowledge_management_system_harnessing_indigenous_wisdom_to_build_sustainable_predictors_for_adaptation_to_climate_change Highlights possibility of capturing the various spheres of local knowledge with respect to monsoon prediction.From Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, New DelhiCoping Strategies and Early Warning Systems of Tribal People in India in the face ofNatural DisastersCase Study; by ILO; New Delhi; English version available at:www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/res08040901.pdf (PDF, 112 KB) Identifies the needs of tribal community in dealing with natural disasters, specifically on employment and protection of the most vulnerable part of the societyIndigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: Good Practices and Lessons Learnedfrom Experiences in the Asia-PacificPublication; UN ISDR Asia and Pacific; Bangkok; July 2008; English version available athttp://www.unisdr.org/eng/about_isdr/isdr-publications/19-Indigenous_Knowledge-DRR/Indigenous_Knowledge-DRR.pdf (PDF, 2.96 MB) Captures some existing examples of indigenous practices for several types of disasters and lessons learned in the community in the Asia-Pacific regionTraditional Knowledge on Disaster Management- A preliminary study of the Lepchacommunity of Sikkim, IndiaStudy; by Vanya Jha and Ajeya Jha, Sikkim Manipar Institute of Technology, 2010Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res06111102.pdf (PDF, 116 KB) The paper explores the traditional knowledge on disaster management of the Lepcha community of SikkimTraditional Intellect in Disaster Risk Mitigation: Indian Outlook- Rajasthan andBundelkhand IconsPaper; by Anik K Gupta and Anjali Singh; National Institute of Disaster Management, New Delhi.Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res06111103.pdf (PDF, 145 KB) Reviews concepts and associated ecological hypothesis, traditional knowledge framework for disaster management in Indian context. Draft Report: Case Study on Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction in South Asia (from Prashant Khattri, Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, New Delhi and P. C. Joshi, Department of Anthropology Delhi University, Delhi- contribution from a previous discussion) Report; SDMC-ADRC; English version available at http://saarc-sdmc.nic.in/ind_p.asp Draws out key findings of some case studies on indigenous knowledge used by communities in disaster prone areas of India Nepal and Sri Lanka
From Caroline Borchard, UNDP - Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, New Delhi- contributionfrom a previous discussion Listening to Communities: A Study on Traditional Disaster Risk Reduction Activities inNorthern AfghanistanResearch Paper; ActionAid; Afghanistan; October 2008; English version available athttp://dipechoafg.com/downloads/pdf/Dipecho%20DRR%20Research%20Paper.pdf (PDF, Size: 624KB) Explores some indigenous practices and coping mechanisms of the community in Northern Afghanistan to mitigate the effects of multi hazards Local Knowledge for Disaster Preparedness: A Literature Review Publication; by Julia Dekens; ICIMOD; Nepal; 2007Available at http://books.icimod.org/index.php/search/publication/290 (HTML) Provides an overview of case studies on practices and framework of local knowledge in disaster management and preparednessThe Snake and the River Dont Run Straight: Local Knowledge on Disaster Preparedness inthe Eastern Terain of NepalReport; by Julia Dekens April 2007; ICIMOD; Nepal; English Version available athttp://books.icimod.org/index.php/downloads/pd/143 Highlights the identification and documentation of local knowledge and practices for DRR as well as developing and testing an analytical framework for local knowledgeFrom Shantana R. Halder, Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) and UnitedNations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh- contribution from a previous discussionStudy on capturing indigenous /traditional coping mechanisms in Disaster ManagementTerms Of Reference; CDMP; English version available at:www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/res08040902.doc (Size: 80 KB) Enlightens the study on identification and documentation of indigenous coping practices that be used to face disaster situationsEndowed Wisdom: Knowledge of Nature and Coping with disaster in BangladeshBook review; by Hasan SHAFIE et al; CDMP; English version available at www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/res08040903.doc (Size: 98 KB) Highlights the using of indigenous knowledge to cope with flood, flash flood, water logging, salinity intrusion, cyclone, drought and wild life disturbances in Bangladesh Disaster Relief and response by Mahila Mandal (Village Women’s group) in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh in Village fire at Malana (Oldest Traditional Panchayat in the country) (from Arvind Sinha, DRR Practitioner, India- contribution from a previous discussion) Article; by Arvind Kumar Sinha; Mountain Forum Himalayas, Shimla; English version available at: www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/res08040904.doc (Size: 110 KB) Stipulates the significant roles of Mahila Mandal in facing with village fire and supplying relief materials to support the victimsIndigenous Knowledge and Disaster Risk Reduction: From Practice to Policy (from AnshuSharma, SEEDS, New Delhi- contribution from a previous discussion)Books; by Rajib Shaw et al.; 2009; Permission Required: Yes, Paid Publication; English version ofordering details and reviews available athttp://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=10039
Offers systematic studies that analyze the principles of indigenous knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction activities and its correlation to the modern contextIndigenous Knowledge Disaster Risk Reduction: Policy Note (from Abhilash Panda, UNISDRAsia Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand- contribution from a previous discussion)Publication; by Rajib Shaw et al.; Kyoto University – SEEDS; Japan; 2008; English version available athttp://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/res08040906.pdf (PDF, 1 MB) Lays down the policy note as a guidance for mainstreaming indigenous knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction by disaster management actors and institutions in Asian regionDocumentation of Good Practices in Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction in India(from Parimita Routray, New Delhi- contribution from a previous discussion) Research Proposal; Sphere India-Eficor; English version available athttp://www.sphereindia.org.in/URLs/Proposal_on_DRR_Research.pdf (PDF, 240 KB) Proposes a project to identify and document good practices and experiences on indigenous risk reduction mechanismsAdaptive Capacities of Community to Cope Up with Flood Situations: Flood and LivelihoodAdaptive Capacity Based Compilation (from Amit Kumar, Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group(GEAG), Lucknow- contribution from a previous discussion)Report; by Dr.Shiraz A.Wajih; GEAG; January 2008; English version available athttp://www.geagindia.org/Flood_Manual__English_.pdf (PDF, 5.58 MB) Identifies some practices on coping mechanisms of the community in flood prone areas as well as other practices on indigenous livelihood interventionsBilou’s Singing Can Work as a Tsunami Early Detection (from Asep Moh Muhsin, TAGANA,Cianjur, Indonesia- contribution from a previous discussion)Article; Antara News; 20 March 2009; Bahasa version available athttp://www.antara.co.id/arc/2009/3/20/nyanyian-bilou-mentawai-dijadikan-deteksi-dini-tsunami/ Explores the indigenous knowledge of the local community of the Mentawai Islands for early warning systems of various symptomsReport of Coping Mechanisms during Bihar Flood: Indigenous Coping Strategy (fromMunish Kaushik, Association For Stimulating Know How (ASK), Gurgaon- contribution from a previousdiscussion)Report; Association for Stimulating Know How (ASK), Gurgaon; English version available athttp://www.solex-un.net/repository/id/dmrr/CR4-res1-eng.doc (DOC, 201 KB) Identifies some indigenous coping mechanisms which can be used for future action plan based on the outcome of the Community Disaster risk Reduction studyOrissa Super Cyclone, 99 (from Chandrasekhar, India Disaster Management Support Project,USAID/International Resources Group, New Delhi- contribution from a previous discussion)Books; by Mr. M.C.Gupta,Director; National Center for Disaster Management, 2000; PermissionRequired: Yes, Paid Publication; English version available at:http://www.nidm.net/NCDMPublications6.asp Lays on some essential lesson learnt from Orissa super cyclone in 1999 and address some issues that need to be put in place to avoid such calamities in future Recommended Contacts and Experts Dr Alka Singh, AMRITA, A PEOPLES VOICE; (from Gyaneshwar Singh, Independent Consultant, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Plot No. 125, Leelapur Road, Chack Hariharvan, Jhunsi, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Pincode-221506, India Dr. Singh has worked on the issue of traditional knowledge; she can be a resource person. Mr. K. Karthik Pyramanic Shyam Sundar, KISEA, Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu (from K. Karthik Pyramanic Shyam Sundar, KISEA, Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, India) KISEA, Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu; firstname.lastname@example.org Has been working with the local fishing community in Tamil Nadu; is interested to be a part of this initiative. Mr. Biswa Ranjan Behera, Secretary, Society of Development Action (SODA), Mayurbhanj (from Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, Delhi) Vill. Indapahi, Post Laxmiposi, Via Baripada, Mayurbhanj-757107, Orissa, India; Tel.: +62-6792- 52841/ 78179 Recommended as he was involved in the study related to early warning system supported by ILO Recommended Organizations and Programmes From P. C. Joshi, Society for Indian Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Delhi University, Delhi Ministry of Culture, New Delhi Government of India; Tel: 23386765; http://www.indiaculture.nic.in/ ; Anthropological Survey of India researches on indigenous knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. SAARC Disaster Management Centre, New Delhi(from Name, Organization, Location) IIPA Campus, I.P. Estate, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Delhi- 110002; Tel: 91-11-23724085.; Fax: 91- 11-23702446. email@example.com; http://saarc-sdmc.nic.in/index.asp The SAARC Disaster Management Centre has undertaken a study exploring the IKS in DRR and CCA from SAARC regions. Development Research Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota (from Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota, West Bengal, India) 58A, Dharmotola Road, Bosepukur, Kasba; Kolkata 700042, West Benga; Tel: 91 033 2442 7311, 2441 1646; Fax: 91-033 2442 7563 : firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com ; www.drcsc.org; Works in West Bengal to capture the ITKs in agriculture and livelihood sector, validates it and send back to the community as a package of practice.From Archana Chatterjee, WWF-India, New DelhiWWF, New Delhi172 B Lodhi Estate New Delhi 110003 India +91 11 4150 4815 +91 11 2469 1226 http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/problems/people_at_risk/personal_stories/; WWF has used the “Climate Witness” approach to capture IK stories from the ground; and has compiled the stories from Ladakh and Sunderbans.Sikkim Springs, SikkimRural Management & Development Department, Government of Sikkim, India;http://sikkimsprings.org/; An interesting initiative of Sikkim Government to develop a village “Springs Atlas”.
Ideosync Media Combine, Faridabad (from Venu Arora, Ideosync Media Combine, Faridabad,Haryana, India)177, Ashoka Enclave III, Faridabad, Haryana; http://www.ideosyncmedia.org/about_us.htm Is a Communication for social change organization and has been working on a wide variety of issues including health, adolescent sexuality, gender and governance.Rural Reconstruction and Development Society, Andhra Pradesh (from V. Gangi Reddy,Nellore, Andhra Pradesh)Maruthi Nagar, Nellatur Post, Nellore District, South India, Gudur 524102, Andhra Pradesh; Tel:918624222589; Fax: 91 252110; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Works for the empowerment of dalits and carries out pre and post disaster management activities also involved in relief and rehabilitation programmes following the 2004 Tsunami.Vitality Index of Traditional Environmental Knowledge, Venezuela (from Sunder Subramanian,Independent International and Infrastructure Consultant/Advisor, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India)Apartado 21827, Caracas 1020-A, República Bolivariana de Venezuela, email: sent.@ivic.ve;http://www.terralingua.org/projects/vitek/vitek.htm; Index focuses on rating the vitality status of TEK within selected groups and allow for relative comparisons of that status among groups at different scales of inclusiveness.People’s Biodiversity Registers Program (PBR), Chennai (from Jyotiraj Patra, ConcernWorldwide India, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India*)National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), 475, 9th South Cross Street, Kapaleeswarar Nagar, Neelangarai,Chennai – 600 041 Programme for collecting and documenting a variety of traditional knowledge and strengthening its systematic integration in to the global scientific knowledge domain Oxfam America, Boston, USA(from Annie George, BEDROC, Nagapattinam) 226 Causeway Street 5th Floor Boston, MA 02114; Tel: 1-800-7769326.; Fax: 1-617-728-2594. firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.oxfamamerica.org/ Empowers organizations of indigenous peoples and minorities, increase the capacities of local leadership for DRR post-tsunami activities. Recommended Portals and Information Bases From Anshu Sharma, SEEDS, New Delhi- contribution from a previous discussion Disaster Reduction Hyperbase – Asian Application (DRH-Asia), NIED-Japan http://drh.edm.bosai.go.jp/; Contact Hiroyuki Kameda; DRH Manager; Tel: 81-78-2625521.; email@example.com Offers open and interactive access and participation and consists of database, forum, and Transferable Indigenous Knowledge Links as well as project activities Community Monitoring and Preparedness for Natural Disasters (COMPREND) http://www.globalwatch.org/ungp/; Contact Jean J. Chu; Co-Founder; Tel: 1-718-791-9763.; firstname.lastname@example.org Promotes indigenous knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction by sharing of community disaster experiences and advances in forecasting technologies Recommended Tools and Technologies
Community-based Risk Screening Tool-Adaptation and Livelihood (from Jyotiraj Patra,Concern Worldwide India, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India)Available at http://www.iisd.org/cristaltool/ A screening tool designed to help integrate risk reduction and climate change adaptation into community-level projects, can be used to capture and integrate traditional knowledge for climate adaptation and risk reduction planning.Related Consolidated RepliesUsing indigenous knowledge for disaster risk management activities, from BibhuKalyan Mohanty, SAMBANDH, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India (Experience; Example).Disaster Management Community India and Disaster Management and RiskReduction Community, Indonesia,Issued 03/June/2009. Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/cr-se-drm-08040901.pdf (PDF,136 KB)Includes indigenous knowledge used for disaster risk management activities and inclusion of suchactivities in incorporated into the current scientific framework.Enabling Conservation of Medicinal Plants and Traditional Knowledge for ClimateChange Adaptation, from Tenzing Ingty, ATREE, Bangalore (Experiences; Advice).Climate Change Community and Food and Nutrition SecurityCommunity, New Delhi,Issued 17/June/2011. Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/clmt/cr/cr-se-clmt-food-13051101.pdf (PDF,196 KB) Measures to promote eco-tourism, conserve medicinal plants, traditional knowledge and certification of traditional healers have been highlighted.Input for National Consultation on Best Practices in Tribal Areas, from Ivy MillerChahal, Tribal Research and Development Institute, Government of Madhya Pradesh,Bhopal (Experiences; Examples). Climate Change Community, New Delhi,Issued 18/February/2010. Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/clmt/cr/cr-se-clmt-11120901.pdf (PDF,112 KB) Approaches to vulnerability assessment in tribal areas and community based mitigation and adaptation measures were pointed out.Climate Change in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, from Krishna S. Vatsa, Bureau of Crisisprevention and Recovery-UNDP, New Delhi (Experiences; Examples). Climate ChangeCommunity and Disaster Management Community, New Delhi,Issued 11/January/2011. Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/clmt/cr/cr-se-clmt-drm-14121001.pdf (PDF,142 KB) Climate Change impacts, adaptation and mitigation measures adopted in the eco-fragile Hindu Kush Himalayas were discussed.Disaster Risk Reduction in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, from Krishna S. Vatsa, Bureauof Crises Prevention and Recovery-UNDP, New Delhi (Experiences). DisasterManagement Community and Climate Change Community, New Delhi,Issued 21/December/2010. Available at ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/cr-se-drm-clmt-16111001.pdf (PDF,276 KB)Experiences of DRR in Hindu Kush Himalayas, community responses and role of governmentinstitutions were discussed.
Responses in FullSunder Subramanian, Independent International and InfrastructureConsultant/Advisor, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaBroadly, I think what you need is a three stage process:(a) Putting into place a network/system of informants who keep their ears and eyes out forpotential instances of traditional wisdom;(b) A process of vetting -- where you visit the site and evaluate the authenticity and potentialcommunication value of a particular instance -- based on a scoring scale so that you can keepprocesses codified and on record; and(c) Where deemed of sufficient authenticity and commutations value, carry out documenting.The documenting can be done at multiple levels -- stand-alone photo-essays, multimedia (onlineand CD/DVD or other media), and categorized for effective electronic storage and recovery assuch repositories build up in scale. Your networks/network building in (a) above can be initiallyfocus on areas of high (potential) climate change impact or disaster risk, such as the mountainsystems, arid/semi-arid areas, seismically active areas, flood-prone areas, wetlands, coastalzones (especially zones of high ecological value or those under extreme anthropogenic stress),areas with high concentrations of indigenous populations, etc.P. C. Joshi, Society for Indian Medical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology,Delhi University, DelhiI would like to congratulate Safer World Communications for initiating this important exercise.For India in particular, the turning point in our thinking came about after the Tsunami of 2004when we learnt that the ill-equipped indigenous communities of Andaman and Nicobar remaineduntouched while the well-equipped settler community suffered most of the damage. The latterincluded highly organized community of Indian Air Force. This led to official government supportfor the researches on indigenous knowledge in DRR and CCA. The Ministry of Culture,Government of India’s Anthropological Survey of India initiated a very large scale consultation onthis topic and reported studies from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The SAARC DisasterManagement Centre also undertook one study exploring the IKS in DRR and CCA from SAARCregions. I helped SDMC in their study on the flood disasters in India.While investigating the domain of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), we need to understandthis knowledge not as isolated recipes but as system well entrenched in the web of knowledge.Furthermore, IKS in general taken to mean only for the early warning while we need to considerIKS for the entire gamut of disaster cycle, viz. pre-disaster, disaster per se and post-disaster.While the social structure becomes rather weak during crisis situations, its true strength is alsorevealed during such occasions. IKS as a body of knowledge has to be studied intensely by bothquantitative and qualitative methods. While social structural or factual aspects can best berevealed through the quantitative survey kind of methods, for example, the knowledge, attitude,practice, etc., the aspect of human ingenuity, maneuvering and plasticity or the socialorganizational aspects can only the known in a qualitative-ethnographic kind of study.Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication and Services Centre, Kolkota,West Bengal, IndiaThanks for this very important issue raised by Vijayalakshmi Viswanathan.I am engaged with Development Research Communication and Services Centre (www.drcsc.org),who is active in stressed region of West Bengal, tries to capture the ITKs in agriculture and
livelihood sector, validate it and send back to the community as a package of practice. Some ofthose are following. • Grain Bank: Bengal has a tradition of community grain reserve practices so that at the time of scarcity and disaster, grains can be borrowed at a very low rate of interest, which is retuned back to the gain bank itself. This can provide support during sudden attack of disaster. In the last ten years, 175 such grain banks have been created with 3000 households in south Bengal. Most of the banks have enough grain reserves to last for 60 days. • Seed Bank: Getting seeds is a big problem if crop is lost due to disasters. We have encouraged farmers to document the old crops which are suitable to local agro climate and keep stock of native variety seeds. Seeds are shared during stress and post disaster. There are atleast13 saline tolerant paddy variety identified, which is in the verge of extinction. • Integrated farming: Farmers in Bengal are used to cultivate at least 5-6 types of crops, 10-12 types of vegetables, fruit and fuel trees, medicinal plants including 2-3 types of livestock - all coupled together as an integrated farming system. Which decreases external dependency of synthetic chemicals by utilizing garbage and non- human excreta to produce biogas and other organic inputs? A multi layered mixed cropping, for example paddy-fish-duck-azolla, construction of poultry or a vegetable structure over the pond etc is done to make the system self equipped and better resilient to vagaries. As the type/time/form of output is diversified to the extreme, you will get something or the other, even if, there is a disaster. • Land shaping in water logging areas: Low lands remain waterlogged for at least 6 – 7 months in a year in absence of any escape route for the accumulated rain/flashflood water. In order to address this problem, the farmers in Sunderbans, change the shape of the land so that a pond/canal/trench is excavated in a portion of the plot, where the water is drained and the excavated soil is used to raise a section to make it suitable for growing vegetables throughout the year. • Uncultivated food: There are number of edible weed, unconventional fruit, unknown leafy vegetables which the minority communities use to collect from the commons to meet their nutritional need. These don’t need much care and water; we encourage those by collecting information bringing it under cultivation practices. • Mixed cropping: Especially in drylands, knowledge mixed cropping with minor millets, pulses etc are also very valuable to combat slow onset disasters like drought.There is a lot of other knowledge which has been documented (Audio-Visual and written report),and can be used for CCA and DRM. Please click here to see an example of capturing suchunderstanding of CC and CCA.Smriti Shukla, GoI-UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction Programme, Lucknow, UttarPradesh, IndiaClimate change threatens development and the progress needed to achieve the MillenniumDevelopment Goals. With shifting seasons, increasing water scarcity, and potentially morefrequent and intense extreme events (IPCC 2007), climate change is bringing a series of disasterand livelihood impacts to the poorest and most vulnerable countries and communities, and isplacing development assistance at risk.Over the past decade, progressively more attention has been given to converging DRR and CCAagendas conceptually and in practice at sub-national, national and international levels. This has
paralleled the emergence of ‘adaptation’ as a critical component of the global response to climatechange and the institutionalization of DRR signaled by the agreement of the 2005 HyogoFramework for Action (HFA). CCA and DRR have much in common. Both aim to reduce theimpacts of shocks by anticipating risks and uncertainties and addressing vulnerabilities.Indeed, a significant portion of climate change impacts will materialize through exacerbatingclimate variability (for example an especially wet rainy season) and extreme weather events(such as heavy rainfall events) However, while reducing the risk of weather extremes is asubstantial component of managing climate risk and of the overlap between DRR and CCA, DRRdoes not equal CCA, and effective disaster risk management in a changing climate is more thanbusiness as usual. DRR needs to take account of changes in these hazards, and CCA aims toreduce their impacts. Two key distinctions are that: • DRR addresses the risks of geophysical hazards (such as volcanoes and earthquakes), Whereas CCA does not. • CCA also considers the long-term adjustment to changes in mean climatic conditions, Including the opportunities that this can provide, and how people and organizations can develop the capacities to stimulate and respond to longer-term change processes. This has not been a traditional focus of practical applications of DRR.For both CCA and DRR, key shared objectives include protecting development gains and effectiveplanning and programming: managing risks and uncertainties for all shocks and stresses is simplygood business, particularly in the face of mounting evidence that disasters are hamperingdevelopment and poverty alleviation (UN-ISDR 2009a). On the other hand, as experience hasshown, neither government-led CCA nor DRR will happen automatically (Mitchell and Van Aalst2008). At a more technical level, the rapid expansion of climate change-related efforts may wastetime and risk reinventing older approaches if they neglect learning from experiences, methodsand tools developed for DRR. On the other hand, efforts on DRR that do not take account of theimpacts of climate change on the frequency and magnitude of hazards, exposure andvulnerability may not only fail to achieve their objectives, but even increase vulnerability, forinstance when flood defense provide a false sense of security, but will fail to provide lastingprotection against rising flood risk.The third biennial Global Community Safety and Resilience Forum took place in Damascus from29–31 March 2011 and gathered nearly 120 participants, including representatives fromapproximately 70 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The discussions in Damascuswere guided by Strategy 2020’s broad agenda and focused around the broad goal ofstrengthening approaches and commitment to promoting community safety and resilience. Themeeting also set an agenda for the coming two years to further enhance and integratecommunity resilience into IFRC programmes. The final conclusions consisted of a 16-pointprogramme of recommended action points around three themes: • Scaling-up investment in safety and resilience programming at the community-level and sustaining community interventions • Integrating cross-sectoral concerns into Red Cross and Red Crescent programming • Increasing investment in community safety and resilience through advocacy and effective resource mobilization.The third session of UNISDR’s Global DRR Platform, which took place in Geneva from 8–13 May2011, provided the IFRC (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) withan opportunity to profile its DRR agenda. This included participation with the German Committeefor Disaster Reduction in addressing early warning needs and the content of early warningmessages. The IFRC also collaborated with UNDP and other UN agencies to present a side eventat the Global DRR Platform, which addressed the importance of risk 4identification in the context
of strengthening national capacities to manage risks. The IFRC led its own side event positingquestions around how legislation can promote DRR at the community-level. (From Communitypreparedness and risk reduction Appeal No. MAA00021 25 AUGUST 2011).Anuj Tiwari, Global Forum for Disaster Reduction (GFDR), New DelhiMajority of our population lives in rural areas. When viewed in the development context, ruralareas have always been lagging behind in delivery of services to them such as education, health,drinking water, sanitation, public distribution, transportation, power supply, infrastructure, etc.In the absence of any formal training or knowledge to cope up with various challenges, the ruralmasses have learned how to live with these hazards and challenges and have built up, throughthousands of years of experience and intimate contact with the environment, a vast body ofknowledge to face difficult conditions and natural disasters. This knowledge is a preciousresource that continues to contribute to environmental conservation and natural disastermanagement in these regions.Community is always the first responder in the event of any disaster, so it is always advisable forthem to be well prepared with a system to cope with the disasters. The Government machinery,though more efficient and organized, takes some time to reach the site of occurrence of anydisaster. Indigenous knowledge, experience and local resources play an important role on suddenonset of any disaster and during immediate post-disaster period.There have been prevalent local practices about warnings and coping mechanisms that haveplayed an important role for many years. Careful observation of the behavior of animals, and ofthe appearance and color of the sky, is used as early warning of natural disasters. Even ourancient religious texts have quoted many such events and the ways to tackle them for ages.Traditional wisdom based on accumulated local knowledge and experience for centuries must notbe lost and needs to be preserved and utilized.People find ways to live harmoniously with the environment using the knowledge they haveacquired through the process of trial and error over years, decades and sometimes centuries. Intheir adaptation to the environment, people have developed strategies to cope with changes inthe environment and threats relating to natural disasters. These may be in the form oftechnology or social and economic practices or even behavior, which are sometimes manifestedin the form of folklores, songs, proverbs that become part of cultural beliefs and practices.Interpretations of such beliefs and practices give a good insight about why communities actdifferently at given space and time.The major challenge in replicating these knowledge and practices is lack of documentation asthese are generally transferred orally from one generation to another through a process ofsocialization and is internalized by the communities as part of their life style activities. Hardlyever this knowledge is documented or written down in texts or manuscripts for posterity oroutsiders. Indigenous knowledge is essentially local knowledge which is practiced in the localsituations and, therefore there would be thousands of innovative ways that the community woulduse and adapt such knowledge for their survival against the odds of nature.Indigenous knowledge on DRR could have many dimensions – technological, economic, socialand cultural etc. Technological aspects of indigenous knowledge are most visible as compared toothers and can be used in other contexts as well. Many communities have also developed theirindigenous economic strategies to deal with the disaster situations. Social and communityrelations and social dynamics play an important role in mitigating disaster impacts. Cultural
values and religious beliefs also help in perceiving and responding to disasters. All these aspectsneed to be seen and developed in totality for strengthening community response.Archana Chatterjee, WWF-India, New DelhiThese issues are very relevant to my work. From WWF perspective:a. WWF has used the “Climate Witness” approach to capture such stories from the ground. We have compiled the stories from Ladakh and Sunderbans and produced it in form of a publication. This is available digitally too for wider dissemination. Secondly, film is a very powerful medium for communication in local language. We have made a film in Ladakhi (as well as English) titled Living with Change, which is also available with WWF-India. Details are available at: http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/problems/people_at_risk/personal_stor ies/b. Currently, we are working with youth and children in Ladakh through local language media tools to convey the messages linked to DRR and CCA.c. We have also participated in an initiative of Sikkim Government to develop a village “Springs Atlas” (http://sikkimsprings.org/)Benefits of the Springs Atlas include: • Better understanding of the spring water resource by providing details of various studies and reports online at one platform. For students resource material is provided to enhance their knowledge about the springs, their typology, origin, threats and ways and means of reviving them through ground water recharge. • Extensive survey of the springs in Sikkim by providing their location superimposed on Google Earth platform along with basic information of the spring like dependence, location, elevation, discharge etc. help in identifying critical springs and thereby prioritizing them. • Findings of experiment on reviving critical springs in various drought prone areas are also provided along with hydrographs. This learning will help in up scaling and expanding this initiative in other locations. • Weather data from spatially disaggregated datasets is also provided for use. This data is updated from the Automated Weather Stations located in the blocks.Thus, as far as communication is concerned, to reach out to target communities, it is importantto use local language in the final knowledge product. Visual media is quite powerful and storiesbacked by scientific explanations make good advocacy material too.Prashant Khattri, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, Wardha,Maharashtra, IndiaThe Anthropological approach has always focused on understanding the emic (insiders) point ofview. This approach is reflected best when an anthropologist tries to understand the localknowledge of the people regarding resilience or coping from a disaster situation. Understandingthe indigenous knowledge regarding disaster preparedness and coping is based on the fact thatpeople develop some knowledge in order to adapt to their environment, which is based on theirpast experience with similar situations. It is a fact that when the tsunami hit the Indian sub-continent, many tribes living in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands saved themselves fromdevastation. This was made possible because of their reliance on indigenous knowledge ofnatural warning signals in the form of movement and activity of birds, animals and aquatic life.Over a long period of time they must have observed such signals which became incorporated intheir collective consciousness. This type of knowledge gets transmitted from generation togeneration in the form of oral tradition. This type of knowledge is not documented by thecommunity, but it has shown its importance time and again in case of an emergency.
Now, it has been fully realized that the indigenous knowledge system can become an importanttool in disaster management. It is of such an importance that the national policy on disastermanagement approved by the union cabinet on October 22, 2009 has devoted a separate sectionon knowledge management for better disaster management and in this section it also talks aboutthe importance of indigenous knowledge “which is handed down right from ancient times by wayof tried and tested practices in facing disasters in different parts of India.” Although, much needsto be done in the form of actual documentation and dissemination of this kind of knowledge.My experience of working in a village community inundated by floods revealed that peopledeveloped their own knowledge of dealing with such situations. This kind of indigenousknowledge can largely be divided into technological, economic and environmental. Thetechnological dimension deals with the local understanding and know-how of building flood-proof,make-shift huts that can be carried on a bullock-cart in case of floods inundating the entire area.The economic dimension suggests that people are not dependent upon a single source of incomeand are engaged in multiple economic activities, so that they can fall back on the alternatives incase of floods destroying their fields. The environmental dimension is the most interesting whichcomprises their knowledge of identifying environmental signal of an approaching flood.Venu Arora, Ideosync Media Combine, Faridabad, Haryana, IndiaIdeosync Media Combine is a Communication for social change organization and we have beenworking on a wide variety of issues including health, adolescent sexuality, gender andgovernance to name a few. Over the last seven years our intensive work with the Ministry ofInformation & Broadcasting, Government of India and local partners in establishing Communityradio stations has been very inspiring.In response to this query and for the consideration of this group I would like to share thefollowing points: 1. It is essential to create communication processes right at the start of the project planning phase and not towards the end when you are looking for just materials. Communication is a much more intensive and long term engagement that projects need to make. 2. Participatory communication is key for social change. It is essential to identify and put into process methodologies that engage community members to create their own media and enable the communities to take charge of the process of knowledge creation and sharing. This also enables the community to become empowered watchdogs especially for difficult to achieve social change issues like climate change. 3. The simplified understanding that providing information would lead to change in knowledge levels in community members and affect their attitude and practice does not quite work in a complex web of everyday life that people live. Therefore it is necessary to understand how practices and norms get reinforced and entrenched. Initiating conversations among community members, through a variety of innovative dialogue creating mechanisms leads to local innovation and modification of practices in the long term. Communication for social change needs to therefore become part of the everyday lives of people and enable the change to emerge from within community structures. 4. It is essential for donors and partners to understand the need for innovative monitoring and evaluation tools that capture the essence of the process of social change being brought about through participatory media and communication. Short term impact verifications and log frames will not capture the qualitative learning process that a truly participatory communication methodology initiates.
Ideosync will be very happy to partner with organizations to develop innovative methodologiesthrough which community media, new and old media technologies can be accessed by localcommunities to generate and disseminate their own knowledge and bring about social change ontheir own terms.Amit Choubey, Sri Someswar Nath Mahadev Trust, Champaran, Bihar, IndiaWe are working for DRR in east Champaran district of Areraj Block, Bihar in the surrounding areaof Narayani river, people call it Gandak also.I want to contribute few points only:What do we need to address? 1. The pre and post effect on population, animals and environment (Trees and crops). 2. Training and knowledge transfer (Both way) 3. Local youth and women Teams for rescue and their training like swimming. 4. Fixing up sustainable model with right mix of traditional ways and latest technology, so that technology will compliment the existing traditional methods. 5. There are few traditional methods like creating rural water body pond and other small water bodies for fisheries. 6. They dig small water bodies for brick making. 7. They cultivate water born crops and fruits in the delta of the flood affected region. 8. Built small canals which they call "Hatta" in the agricultural area to retain water. 9. To train and keep volunteers motivated we need to design some training and activity throughout the year to keep them motivated.Sunil D Santha, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai,Maharashtra, IndiaThe query and initiative is very relevant and would certainly strengthen community-baseddisaster risk reduction initiatives across the world. Local Knowledge Systems can act as effectiveearly warning systems. I have been working in this dimension looking at how local knowledgesystems can be integrated to scientific early warning systems. Earlier, I had looked at thepossibility of capturing the various spheres of local knowledge with respect to monsoonprediction in India. The corresponding paper titled “A Societal Knowledge Management System:Harnessing Indigenous Wisdom to Build Sustainable Predictors for Adaptation to Climate Change”By Sunil D Santha, Bardo Fraunholz and Chandana Unnithan , published in International Journalof Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, is available at:http://tiss.academia.edu/SunilSantha/Papers/771163/A_societal_knowledge_management_system_harnessing_indigenous_wisdom_to_build_sustainable_predictors_for_adaptation_to_climate_changeAn initial field-level enquiry and survey of literature related to monsoon prediction in Indiapresented in the paper revealed certain important traditional knowledge spheres. The knowledgespheres could be classified as those pertaining to:
(a) The characteristics of rain: For instance, farmers in Kerala believe that heavy rains willfollow a very hot summer month.(b) Atmospheric patterns: For example, farmers anticipate heavy rains within a couple ofhours if their sky attains a dark color, - as dark as crow’s egg. Conversely, they predict droughtconditions, if the sky acquires a faint yellow color.(c) Characteristics of celestial bodies: Rural populations in India observe that the presenceof rings or halo around the sun or moon indicates imminent rain.(d) Characteristics of wind movement: Farmers in Tamil Nadu observe that the Northeastwind brings rain and the northwest wind wipes out the rain. They also expect a good rain inOctober- November, if there is more wind during July-August.(e) Bio-indicators: The good foliage of Mahuda (Madhuca Latifolia) tree indicates goodmonsoons.(f) Calendar months and constellations: farmers in Saurashtra region plan their farmingactivities by referring to the traditional calendars and almanacs.(g) Astrological methods: These knowledge spheres are based on certain key principlesrelated to planetary movements and constellations but were not included in the paper.(h) Festivals and rituals: For example, local communities associate the commencement ortermination of monsoons with certain festivals and rituals respectively. For example, localcommunities in north India, predict the occurrence of rain by observing the wind directionduring Holi.Presently, I am involved in a research project that attempts to capture local knowledge systemsas Early Warning Systems (EWS) with respect to coastal hazards in Kerala. The studyis providing interesting insights. After a preliminary review of secondary literature on the field,we have conducted in-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to capture localknowledge. I would be happy to share my understanding on the same in your esteemed effort tostrengthen traditional DRR practices.Gyaneshwar Singh, Independent Consultant, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaYou have raised very good query. The compilation and promotion of Traditional DRR & CCAKnowledge is the need of current hour.I am of opinion that Dr Alka Singh can support you on this issue. Her address is as under:Dr Alka SinghPresidentAMRITA, A PEOPLES VOICEHead Office:Plot No. 125, Leelapur Road, Chack Hariharvan, Jhunsi,Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Pincode-221506, IndiaK. Karthik Pyramanic Shyam Sundar, KISEA, Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, India
I am K. Karthik Pyramanic Shyam Sundar, and have some knowledge and experience in workingamong the fishing community people. Have been working for the fishing community affected bytsunami and by floods every year. We also have some village level task force group trainees inmy operating area. I would be interested in being part of this initiative.Man B.Thapa, UNDP, Kabul, AfghanistanI regularly read the queries and responses on the Solution Exchange and learned a lot from suchdiscussions/ contributions. This one on the Indigenous Knowledge (IK), I read at the very firstday and also watch the short video, as this is one of my fields of interest.Well, in my experience working in the field of disaster management in Asia, I have seen severalwonderful IK and management practices on flood and landslide control/management (in caseof Nepal) and building designs (in Nias, Indonesia) among others in a scattered and scantymanner. I am sure there are several other such IK and Indigenous Management Practices (IMPs)that exist today in many remote and isolated disaster prone hamlets and communities in differentparts of the world. In my understanding, very little documentations of such knowledge andpractices, especially in the field of disaster management exists in our part of the world.The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction(UNISDR) publication “Indigenous Knowledge for DRR” (2008) is one of them. Having said this,there are several good documentations and publications in the field of natural resources (forest,rangeland/ pasture, irrigation systems, etc.) management in South Asia. Before saying “this or that IK or IMPs" is “good or bad”, we (development – disastermanagement actors/ workers and researchers) must examine what are the strengths andweakness of such IK and IMPs. As a development actor our roles at the community level is toscale up or built on the strong aspects of IK and IMPs and improve/ strengthen the weak areasof such knowledge and practices through our technical knowledge and experiences ratherintroducing only exogenous knowledge and practices, which in many cases are costly and takestime to adjust in new environment. I believe that many such IK and IMPs are developed basedon them and their felt need, with a very constraint financial resources and other form of supportfrom external actors. Therefore, such IK and IMPs are cost effective, adjusted to local context,useful and practical even in present context. Similarly, many studies especially in Nepal revealedthat community members or farmers picked quickly on any technologies and practices that arebuilt on IK than the entire exogenous. However, due to rapid urbanization, accessibility andmovements, external supports, heterogeneous society/community etc. such IK and IMPs areeroded and less in practice.Therefore, my suggestions are as follows: • Let us try to document such IK and IMPs on disaster management whatever are still in practices and existed at the community level where we work. • Sharing and validation of knowledge and practices through workshops/ meetings; • Use/ replicate such IK and IMPs based on our need and context. I believe that all IK and IMPs may not be suitable in each and every communities and challenges; and • Based on validation, publish such IK and IMPs as source book and disseminate. I believe that academic and research institutions will be immensely benefited including development actors like us from such documentation and knowledge sharing.Shalini Jain, SEEDS, New DelhiLocal women have worked with men to effectively change the ecological profile of the area bypreventing deforestation and recharging water resources. The could be best exhibited through an
initiative that started in 1976 as a spontaneous nonviolent protest against indiscriminatedeforestation, which had been resulting in frequent floods and landslides. Women organized asenvironmental activists and acted as human shields preventing trees from being cut down. Thiswas a people led movement, which has now transformed the way the state and local governmentlooked at the forestry and natural resource management. It is an ongoing process, noworganized in the form of a registered body called the Dasholi Gram Samaj Mandal.The movement was initiated in Dasholi Village of Chamoli district of the then undivided state ofUttar Pradesh. The women of Dasholi Gram then mobilized women’s groups from neighboringvillages. This later spread to other districts in the region that included Uttarkashi, Tehri Garhwaland Pauri Garhwal. Dasholi Gram Samaj Mandal is the institution now, anchoring theconservation of natural resources – jal, jangal aur jameen or water, forest and land to reducedisaster risk in the region. The partners are women’s groups from villages that are dependent onthe local forest for their essential needs, like water, fodder and firewood. The initiative introducedfundamental shifts in gender elations due to women’s positioning as community leaders. Theiractions resulted in the regeneration of the forest, a reduction in the drudgery borne by the villagewomen, and less in damage from floods and landslides.This is a good practice because the efforts of the local women’s groups under the leadership ofDasholi Gram Swaraj Mandal have effectively changed the ecological profile of the area(confirmed by satellite pictures) by preventing deforestation and recharging water resources. It isalso an unprecedented model of people led disaster risk reduction and development. Thisexample elicited that local wisdom and action can bring transformative shifts in development andDRR practice. Besides, this the empowerment of women lies in their organization and action;outside development actors such as government, NGOs and donor agencies need to create onlythe conducive conditions for local women to reach their potential and take action.For more information please go through the links belowhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chipko_movementhttp://www.rmaf.org.ph/madc/items/browse/tag/Dasholi+Gram+Swarajya+Mandalhttp://www.lokashakti.org/dev/encyclopedia/groups/727-dasholi-gram-swarajya-mandalhttp://www.gender-climate.org/pdfs/Gender_Perspectives_Integrating_DRR_CC_Good%20Practices.pdfAnnie George, BEDROCK, Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, IndiaWe did a Study for OXFAM America on Understanding the increase in capacities of localleadership for DRR post- tsunami and stumbled across some very interesting observations. Themost striking thing was that indigenous capacities do exist but atrophy in inverse proportion tothe external support systems available. In areas which are not generally accessed by formalsystems like Govt/ NGOs, especially where there is a cohesive community with strong traditionalgovernance mechanisms, like tribal communities, they have evolved their own indigenousmethods of EWS, tracking the oncoming floods, rescue and rehabilitation!!!In one flood-prone tribal community living in a flood prone area, in Cudallore, Tamil Nadu, theyhad constituted small groups of youth who would monitor the level of the rising water in the riverwith notches on a stick. When it started reaching their pre- marked danger points, the youthwould inform the rest of the community who would then gather whatever they had to and leavefor higher areas. They had a mechanism of tying ropes across the river so that they could holdon to that while crossing the flooded river and not get lost in the flow or lose their direction. Theyalso had a method of collecting some money per month per family which then went into meetingtheir needs while they were without livelihood support during the floods. They have managed tosuccessfully face frequent flooding this way. The Tribal Leader has the final say in all their
activities and this single voice of control is also useful during such emergency situations. Theconcept of a disaster management fund was seen common across both tribal communitiesstudied.On studying two slightly more developed villages, with similar vulnerabilities but different supportstructures, we found to our surprise that the village closer to a semi- urban area where theycould move during calamities, was ill prepared as far as coping mechanisms were concerned andnonchalantly replied that they move to the neighboring place and live on Government led reliefsystems till the floods recede. On the other had, the other village which did not have suchsupport systems had their escape routes planned out and the traditional governance systemstaking more responsibilities to safeguard their constituency.This led us to feel that in our haste to set up DRR systems, we do not pay attention to theexisting traditional systems and practices, thereby not only eroding their knowledge andcapacities, but also leaving them more vulnerable without our continued hand-holding support.NGOs working in DRR should make it a point to understand, respect and build upon traditionalsystems and practices and existing governance structures, before attempting something thatcould be totally alien to their style of life.Looking forward to a discussion on this extremely interesting subject, with a view to reorientourselves to what we loosely term "participatory planning processes".Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, New DelhiIt is a known fact that communities dependent on natural resources are closer to nature andunderstand its behavior. This is specifically true for the tribals and farmers as their daily needs aswell as livelihood is dependent on the natural resources be it for subsistence food materials likeroots, mushrooms, leafy vegetables etc or water for their crops. Old community members livingnear rivers tell us during discussion on past disaster that earlier, possibility of flooding wasmeasured by the river flow sound as there was no scientific warning mechanism. We also havemany traditional mechanism of building our houses-starting with the wooden houses in hilly areasto netted/tied/mushroom shaped roofs of coastal belts or use of bamboo/poles as pillars in mudhouses to ensure that the impact is least on the assets. The variety of rice grains across thedifferent plains of India are also signs of robust coping mechanism of the community to ensuresubsistence harvest. For a study that specifically relates to early warning system, please refer toa study supported by ILO way back in 2000-2001 in Durgapur, West Bengal and Mayurbhanj,Orissa which looked at the issues which you would like to focus on. (Click here to viewreport: ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res08040901.pdf (Size: 112 KB).You could also like to contact Mr. Bishwa Ranjan Behra, Secretary, Society ofDevelopment Action, Mayurbhanj who was involved in this project.Dipankar Dasgupta, Kolkata, West Bengal, IndiaThere are numerous examples of traditional knowledge & cultural practices that needs to bedocumented and utilized. This will assist in making ‘development sustainable’ as it willstrengthen safety norms, protect & strengthen ecosystems and facilitate community participation.This, in turn, will strengthen DRR & CCA actions and make it low-cost, replicable andsustainable as such practices are ‘culturally sensitive’.There are numerous examples of such traditional knowledge and practices - use of wild foods,food preservation & preparation, water collection & storage practices, use of medicinal plants,
traditional architecture & housing designs, traditional knowledge of preparedness, mitigation aswell as early warning systems against cyclones, floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides andtsunamis (early warning knowledge practiced by ‘primitive tribes’ like the Jarwas of the Andaman& Nicobar islands) who escaped the Tsunami waves.There is a positive example of how communities living on the India-Bangladesh border of Nadia& Murshidabad districts in West Bengal have adopted the housing designs & tube well raisingtechniques used by communities living in flood-prone areas of Bangladesh. Later on, when theydeveloped confidence in their own preparedness, early recovery & mitigation skills, they totallychanged the cropping pattern and other livelihood practices.There is also the example of the Misings living on the Brahmaputra River Basin, who live onraised houses & build raised earthen mounds which are used by them for markets or buildingcommunity centres or schools and double-up as shelters during severe floods. They have boatsas an equally valuable asset. The most interesting aspect of their coping mechanism is that theybecome fishermen during flood seasons, using their boats and become farmers during the Rabiseason when they usually get a bumper crop. Inspite of the success of theMisings to managefloods and remaining prosperous while all the other surrounding communities suffer due toregular floods, nobody including the government, NGOs or other communities haveadopted it as the Misings are treated as communities who are down the socialorder.It is thus of paramount importance to design the tools and methodologies of documentingtraditional practices in a manner keeping in mind the cultural ethos f different stakeholders whoare supposed to use them. It should be open-ended in terms of tools – case studies, interactivemeetings, action research or audio-visuals. It is not only prudent to document it geo-climaticallyand thematically but also tribe or sect wise. I am suggesting this is that during my involvement inan action research project many years back on ‘Tribal Medicine’, we found that not only the samesect term or identify the same plant differently but they have knowledge of the same plantsbeing used successfully for treating different diseases.However, the most important aspect that this initiative should keep in mind is how it will be ableto overcome various cultural and other obstacles that it would have to face when one approachesthe policy makers and those who overtly depend on ‘project support’ to continue their activitiesto adopt traditional knowledge & cultural practices.K N Vajpai, Climate Himalaya, Uttarakhand, IndiaA very interesting aspect thought of and much appreciate that the DM & CC Community of UNSolution Exchange with Safer world are taking it forward.On DRR front in Himalayan Mountains, it is far more important that we consider the indigenousknowledge and validate it with empirical evidences to put such aspects in practice. Whateverknowledge our forefathers had in this region is either not available in literature or is notaccessible now.We have practices related to earthquake hazards, and I know that whenever there is an earthquake we have the practice of quickly standing just below our main gate and always shouldremain alert during whole night in cases of aftershocks tremors. In mountains there is practice ofputting most valuable items with you before going to sleep during night and keeping the livestockfree in their living places during such instances.
Here we have various indigenous methods of building construction that contains the indigenousscience to cope with major earthquakes and thunderstorm related calamities. One can observethat during 1991 earthquake in Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand, families those were living in traditionalhouses survived most, while major death tolls were in new construction (mostly RCC basedbuildings). One can still see the old houses in major hit region of Uttarkashi those still standing.In high altitude regions i.e. +3500 Mt. from MSL, people use light weight material to constructionhouses e.g. roof with local grasses, floor with wooden structures, and similar support throughwooden framed re-enforcement measures.Similarly toward climate change adaptation measures we have various types of cropping systemsand agriculture practices those adapt towards rain-fed farming and harsh climatic conditions. Thehomestead gardening system, traditional water management techniques, soil conservationmeasure and system were developed in accordance with the geomorphological setup and variedclimatic conditions.There are a number of such local and regional examples across Indian Himalayan region thosecould certainly be useful in future considering the DRR and CCA measures.On the point of capturing such practices I would suggest that following innovative communicationtools those could be considered: • Listing out the major stakeholders in the focus region those are working and associated with DRR and CCA related aspects. This could be done through selecting and focusing on a few lead partners and through them reaching to other stakeholders. For this initially get connected with maximum number of organization and finally targeting a selected one. • Publicizing regular messages through print and electronic media including radio networks for such initiative and by giving appropriate contact details to contact. For example local and regional newspapers and magazines have more outreach than national channels. • Considering the network of research institutions, universities and colleges could be helpful in developing and communicating message across and getting it as well. • Reviewing the existing literature available with various cultural groups and organizations in those regions promoting the local culture. • Discussion and networking with various DRR linked institutions at district and state level will help in capturing them appropriately as well.I hope that they are useful.V G Reddy, Rural Reconstruction and Development Society (RRDS), Gudur, NelloreDistrict, Andhra Pradesh, IndiaRRDS is a NGO working in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh. RRDS has experience in working inemergencies for example, the Tsunami, particularly for the fishing community.Rural Reconstruction and Development Society (RRDS) was started by a group of likemindedsocial workers in the year 1991 to reach out to the poor and needy Dalits, Tribals, Fisher folk,Women, children and small and marginal farmers in the remote parts of rural areas of NelloreDistrict, Andhra Pradesh and works irrespective of caste, creed, color, religion and sex. RRDS hasbeen playing a facilitative role in the social transformation of the community and empowering thedisadvantaged people by guiding individuals and community-based organizations(CBO). Sanghams are the basic units to make the community more vibrant to fight against
injustice and involved development process. Community sensitization, capacity building andprocess development are the phases involved in our efforts.RRDS has missionary zeal for reduction of poverty in the lives of target communities byempowering them through united action with special emphasis on women, children, fishingcommunity and also agricultural labor as these are the most affected among the rural populationand are living in pitiable conditions. It believes that the target group women, children andagricultural laborers are exploited and need to be organized as a pressure group to exertpressure on politicians and bureaucrats to implement programmes meant for their welfare. Thusthe organization allows space and opportunity to initiate programmes of their own which couldhelp them to break the century old bondage and subjugation. The promoted people’sorganizations are perceived as power equations of the poor that can successfully addressprevailing values, rituals and procedures as well as existing situations and conditions thatcontribute to marginalization and exploitation. Further details are available at:http://www.rrds.org/about_us.htmlWe have organized Disaster Preparedness capacity building programmes among youth andvolunteers. We have documented traditional knowledge of the fishing community .We areinterested in participating in this workshop. Kindly send further details.Sunder Subramanian, Independent International and InfrastructureConsultant/Advisor, Naiad, Uttar Pradesh, India (Response 2)In addition to my earlier response on the query raised by Vijayalakshmi, Id also like to point youto some very interesting work carried out byTerralingua, on a project called VITEK (Vitality Indexof Traditional Environmental Knowledge).Efforts to document and assess traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) have grownexponentially in recent decades, stimulated by the concomitant rise in its perceived value. Thisreappraisal is a direct consequence of global environmental and social change as well as manifoldthreats to the survival and integrity of indigenous peoples and their cultural heritages around theworld. The locally-distinctive systems of knowledge, belief and practice held by small-scaleindigenous societies or distinctive sociocultural segments within more complex societies contain awealth of basic and practical information about the natural world, its components andrelationships among them.For many impoverished groups, this aboriginal or folk wisdom constitutes the main economicasset that they control. Conservation scientists have emphasized the important contributionthat TEK makes to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Yet many observers,including local groups themselves, have expressed concerns that slowly accumulated, locallyadapted knowledge is disappearing or declining at an alarming rate and therefore pro-activemeasures are needed to preserve and protect it. Although it is possible to point to a number ofpolicy vehicles enacted at international, national, and lower levels which are aimed at reinforcingor reviving TEK, it remains very unclear and unknown what overall impact, if any, these havereally made. The development of TEK indicators represents the most recent chapter in the searchfor more effective policies. Such indicators are intended to identify and measure key componentsof TEK and thereby provide a clear and systematic basis for tracking changes over time.The present study was made in an attempt to contribute something to this exploratory enterpriseof developing reliable indicators of TEK. In this report, we describe and justify a robust yetpractical methodology for collecting and analyzing data leading to the creation of a locally-appropriate, globally-applicable indicator focused on trends of retention or loss of TEK over time.The proposed index, which we call the VITEK (acronym for "Vitality Index of Traditional
Environmental Knowledge"); will be the first of its kind. It will focus on rating the vitality statusof TEK (i.e. inferable trends of retention or loss over time) within selected groups and allow forrelative comparisons of that status among groups at different scales of inclusiveness. Anotherintended feature is to measure the vitality status of different semantic/behavioral domains withinthe rubric of TEK in order to identify which types of knowledge are most vulnerable to change.The report includes a comprehensive literature review and evaluation of methods that have beenused to measure different aspects of traditional knowledge as well as a synthesis of the majorfindings from studies of TEK variation and change. Using this body of work as precedent, we thenformulate a protocol for making a quantitative assessment of the vitality of traditional knowledgeat the local level (i.e. community or group of related communities) and representing the trendpattern in a statistical form for comparative purposes. We begin this report by summarizingwhy TEK is valuable and worthy of protection and how the VITEK can contribute to this goal.You can check out the web-pages at http://www.terralingua.org/projects/vitek/vitek.htm andalso access the report on the project.Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi (Response 2)Most well-known UNISDR document is “Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: GoodPractices and Lessons Learned from Experiences in the Asia-Pacific Region” which has capturedthe traditional knowledge. It is unfortunate as we really more on scientific analysis, people’straditional knowledge tends to be viewed as not suitable but why should we always depend onwritten language and not give credit to experience of oral history and skilled hands….I am also attaching two thought provoking articles talking about Traditional knowledge in DRR inSikkim, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh specially the Bundelkhand area. To read the articles clickftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res06111102.pdf (Size: 112 KB). Andftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res06111103.pdf (Size: 112 KB).In your group of stakeholders you could involve Anthropologist who study traditional society andlook at different aspects of their survival as well as living in harmony within a given environmentWhat I feel is that we need to undertake more action oriented research projects and look at thetraditional knowledge over a span of period and review then from a scientific angle.For dissemination we need to involve all types of media both print and audio-visual which istraditional as well as modern.H.S.Sharma, Sobha Sariya Engineering College, Sikar, Rajasthan, India*In the Tsunami which hit regions, you may be surprised to know and note that not a single ONGE(tribal people of Andaman & Nicobar Islands) was killed because they had the traditionalknowledge that when the sea is extraordinarily quit, run away, passed on to them by their group.Satheesh KK Sridharan, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India*The age old traditional practices and knowledge within the communities certainly help them to bea part of, modern and scientific methods of DRR, but unfortunately we cantclearly differentiate the Myths that are very prevalent in the communities vs. the real good(potential) knowledge and practices.
I totally agree with Abha Mishra that involvement of Anthropologist is need of the hour to clearlyunderstand the traditional knowledge and the myths as there is a thin line which differentiateboth.Anthony Chettri, Caritas India, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India*I am also of the opinion that the Indigenous knowledge (IK) or local wisdom to face the changeshappening due to climate change and continuous affect of disaster on the livelihood of the peopleneeds to be well studied and documented. This will help us to really work on it for betterscientific/environmental viability for better scaling up and replication.Caritas India, the organization where I work, has been working on DRR for long time. We havenot yet made any framework for capturing such practices but would be glad to work on that.My personal suggestion is that can we form a small network, all over India at least with thepeople who are interested, and brain storm to make a proper frame work to collect such IK andcome together with experts to see it from scientific lens. The members of network can collectinformation from their target field and document it either through video or case study....We need to work in a team for that so that we can have data from all over India to make acomprehensive data base to refer and then collectively initiate advocacy in policy change.Jyotiraj Patra, Concern Worldwide India, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India*While a rich repertoire of traditional knowledge system exists, the primary challengeof ‘knowledge integration’ further reinforces the dichotomy between traditionalknowledge systems (TKS) and the modern techno-scientific knowledge systems. Further, this is more pronounced in the realm of DRR and CCA which mostly deal withuncertainties and surprises associated with a changing global climate. The query’s emphasis on‘knowledge in to action’ rightly captures this.The People’s Biodiversity Registers Program (PBR) in India has been successful in not onlycollecting and documenting a variety of traditional knowledge but has also strengthened itssystematic integration in to the global scientific knowledge domain (Gadgil, M., P. R. SeshagiriRao, G. Utkarsh, P. Pramod, and A. Chhatre. 2000. New meanings for old knowledge: thepeoples biodiversity registers program. Ecological Applications 10:1307–1317). Commonalitiesexist between the PBR approach and some of the Participatory Risk Analysis (PRA) processes likeHazard Vulnerabilities and Capacity Assessment (HVCA) and Climate Risk and VulnerabilityAssessment (CRVA) based on which the community-level disaster preparedness plans aredesigned.While CRiSTAL (Community-based Risk Screening Tool-Adaptation and Livelihood) is ascreening tool designed to help integrate risk reduction and climate change adaptation intocommunity-level projects, the tool could be effectively used to capture and integrate traditionalknowledge for climate adaptation and risk reduction planning (http://www.iisd.org/cristaltool/).Participatory GIS (P-GIS) has been effective in incorporating traditional knowledge in to aGIS platform and thereby facilitating the subsequent integration of this knowledge system in topolicy planning and decision making on critical issues of CCA and DRR. Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!