Phase one of the Disaster Reduction Programme took place between 2001 and 2003, including several extensions, and provided funding to seven National Societies in disaster-prone countries in East Africa (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan) and South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan) to enhance their local disaster preparedness capacities.
Activities were implemented through National Society structures at the headquarters and branch levels, the aim being to leave behind sustainable national and community-based structures.
Implemented between 2005 and 2008, phase two of the programme was designed to respond to various specific risks prevalent in particular countries, namely Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia in Southern Africa and Bangladesh, India and Nepal in South Asia. In Southern Africa, activities focused on strengthening the resilience of rural communities in the face of the “triple threat” of combined drought, chronic food insecurity (poverty) and HIV and AIDS through a mix of interventions in the areas of agriculture and livestock. The exception was Mozambique, which put the emphasis on community-based preparedness activities for cyclones and floods. In South Asia, activities centred on strengthening the resilience of rural communities to weather-related hazards, in particular floods and landslides. In addition, Bangladesh engaged in an urban earthquake-preparedness initiative.
From its early planning stages, the Disaster Reduction Programme aimed to develop “global learning and expertise”. Different mechanisms were devised to facilitate the building and sharing of knowledge and capacities, including a web-based Disaster Management Information System and the identification of key lessons and the sharing of these lessons within and across National Societies, with the ultimate objective of informing policy and practice. Knowledge sharing also took the form of training, regional and global workshops, a disaster management working group, exchange visits between National Societies, and the production of case studies and publications.
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