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Adapting to Climate Change to Promote Disaster Risk Reduction

Location: Muzaffarpur

For the rural communities in Bihar, floods used to be a boon that occurred predictably, fertilized the land, and left homes unscathed. However, as a result of climate changes in the last decade, flooding in these rural areas is now erratic, severe, and destructive. Traditional crops can no longer be cultivated, and in the current conditions it is impossible for members of these very deprived and backward communities to attain minimal food security for their families. As a result, migration of male family members for work has become a routine hardship. It has become essential to intervene to bring new farming methods and other livelihood options to these vulnerable communities.

Funded by OXFAM India, IDF carried out a project in 40 targeted villages to introduce appropriate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and livelihood enhancement measures. The intervention also aimed to create an understanding of climate change and how to adapt to this phenomenon. Community-based organizations and resource centers were used to build awareness and spread information, experts provided training in innovative agricultural techniques, and staff educated community members about health and hygiene and emergency preparation measures to ensure their safety during times of flooding. IDF also conducted workshops to help government agencies to improve their implementation of benefits and services to the rural communities concerned, and established a network of NGO partners to replicate the program model and advocate for better services at the district level.

Following several years of intervention many farmers have adopted new agricultural techniques and are earning more secure incomes as a result. Migration has been reduced by 25 percent, health and hygiene standards have improved, and community members now have the information and capacity needed to assert their rights to regular employment benefits as well as emergency services.

Click here for the project report (pdf).

Villagers use mixed cropping, a flood-friendly agricultural technique