January 08

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Two Months in Bangladesh

It has been a while since I have written a blog. I have completed 2 months in Dhaka in Dec 2014. Going back to November 2014, I had the chance to attend the Shelter Workshop that was organized jointly by Friendship, IFRC and Government of Bangladesh at Friendship Training Centre, Gaibandha district of Bangladesh. It had participation from about 20 different international and national organizations including UN. The objective of the workshop was to have minimum standards while constructing the shelters for people affected by disasters such as cyclones and floods. It was a memorable experience in many ways. I got to know many things around shelters (factors to be considered and their repair). After many years, I was involved in organizing the event. I had the opportunity to see the Friendship training centre which is a great piece of architecture. From far above, it appears to be a piece of land with grass growing on it. As one comes near, one realizes the entire training facility is below the ground level. It has water bodies and one gets the feeling of being very close to nature. I also got a chance to visit the char in river Brahmaputra. I got to witness another slow occurring natural disaster i.e. soil erosion on the banks of Brahmaputra. The char are the remote areas with no infrastructure, no electricity etc. The people are mainly involved in farming. I got to witness the great work the friendship is doing in these remote places to make people resilient to disasters. Friendship has constructed schools and shelters for the people impacted by floods. They have a weaving centre which makes scarves which is one of the sources of income for the people. Friendship also has a satellite clinic and got to see that GSK products are reaching these remote places. In last two months I have prepared a guideline on disaster response and am currently working on preparedness guideline. Initially, I was surprised on the PULSE assignment given to me and could not link my work at GSK and the upcoming assignment at Friendship. But after two months, I have found many similarities. Risk Assessment is the basic foundation for Disaster Preparedness and Response. In GSK, I was doing risk assessment for source change projects while at Friendship it was for disaster preparedness and response. The overall strategy and process remains the same. Also, one of the biggest learning from this assignment is that if one takes some efforts, there is no task on this earth which one cannot do. One has to only work sincerely for achieving the ultimate goal. This learning is also helping me cook food and once I go back I can cook a meal for my family.

Friendship Centre IMG_20141121_165229119_HDR Model of Char (Plinth raising) Friendship Centre On way to char through Brahmaputra river Frienship Scarf Weaving Centre Friendship School Friendhship School Weaving centre Women designing the scarf Satellite clinic GSK's Product A Coop Vegetable market on way to Dhaka
health awareness session on char

Frienship school

Cultivation on char

soil erosion

Soil erosion

Friendship Training Centre

A kid waiting for a ride on the other side of river

Brahmaputra river

On way to Char

Soil erosion due to river

Friendship Training Centre

Reception Area of training ventre

Myself

Speech by Friendship Director Runa Khan

Friendship Weaving Centre

DSCN1964

Brahmaputra river

On bank of char

On bank of char

On char moving towards community

preparing for workshop

group photo before visit to char

Soil erosion

on way to char

soil erosion

Preparing for Workshop
Vegetable market on way to Dhaka

A Coop

GSK's Product

Satellite clinic

Women designing the scarf

Weaving centre