Amanullah, Morsalin, Jubaier, and Naim, are friends who study in class five in Londa Primary School in Patuakhali. They always go to the school, have tiffin, and play together. Just a few days ago, they discovered a new thing on their way from home to school- A map! They got very surprised and excited to see their own school, home, neighborhood and all other known and unknown places in their village on the map. One of the boys, Amanullah, said, “I can see my whole village on this map; my home, my uncle’s home, our school, river, almost everything! There are more maps like this in our village. We love to stand in front of the map when going to school or coming back home. it’s really fun to find different places of our village.”
Amanullah and other boys have a bit of knowledge about the legends on a map and can identify different things by it. But there were two special marks that they have found totally new in this map. Those are the vulnerability legends that is marked by two different stars- one for high-level vulnerability area and another for medium level vulnerability area. This helped them to understand their village vulnerability level. They also had lessons on this from their school peer educators; on vulnerability, disaster, and how to prepare themselves and their family for any disaster. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is running these school sessions under the Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction project where 30 Red Crescent Youth volunteers from each school conduct regular discussion sessions and provide training on first aid and disaster management. Under the same project, a participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) is done which involves the community people in drawing a social map of their own community which shows the vulnerability and risks. These maps are then placed in important public places in the community.
Coastal Disaster Risk Reduction or in short Coastal DRR is a project run by Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, with the support from American Red Cross, in three coastal districts named Patuakhali, Bagerhat and Cox’s Bazar. The project aims to train 30 peer educators from 20 schools, a total number of 600 educators, who will play the key role in making the communities better prepared for disasters.
Mohammad Shazed, American Red Cross