This short film showcases the implementation of a locally appropriate mechanism to evaluate a Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction Programme funded by the Swedish Red Cross. Four years ago, 877 families in the Jessore District of Bangladesh participated and after two years of implementation, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society decided to start evaluating the program by getting direct feedback from the people that were actually part of the plan of action.

The problem

Sometimes long term projects have a very low impact because designers, operators and communities are not in the same page; while the first ones spend much time in the office trying to find solutions to problems occurring in distant places; the second ones are in the field facing a very different situation from the one described in the operational plans; last, the people realise that their opinions, customs and lifestyle are not taken into account while launching the project.  The key when building strong social programmes is to collaborate all together and give constant feedback to achieve joint results.

 The innovation

‘My voice counts’ is a short documentary, produced by Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) with the help of the International Federation, that reflects an effective complaints and response system regarding the implementation process. This interesting material gathers testimonials from local people of Keshobpur and Monirampur Upazila, two of the most affected communities by climate change and raising disasters. It is quite interesting to meet locals’ thoughts and how they feel about working with the planners.

‘See the problem is that there are development agencies working here, but because I am only a Rishi, I can’t really approach them and tell them what I am entitled to. I am afraid to speak up and scared to ask for what I need. I feel really helpless’

Bikram Das – Sheikpura Village

‘In rural areas, people are afraid and shy -these are the two most common traits. If I say something, what if I face trouble later? This is why no-one wants to say anything. If there is a procedure to complain, people of the village would benefit from it.’

Shankori Rani Das – Kathaltala Village

By hearing the communities, BDRCS realized that they need a complaint and response mechanism with non-face-to-face contact, some ideas came up such as SMS, mailbox or even a phone call. To find a suitable way to develop it, people and volunteers organized groups to discuss the best way to do it. In the end, a secret mailbox was installed for the locals to write down their complaints and to start fixing together the whole programme.

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