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Supporting Sustainable Livelihoods: Case Study on our Tasar Operations conducted by United Nations - World Food Programme & International Fund for Agricultural Development.
New Initiative: Community Based Disaster Management  
AT India new initiative includes the Disaster Management which has been launched with a view to build the organization capacity and also capacity of local communities in preparedness, respond during and post disasters that have become the regular phenomenon in Uttarakhand. The initiative called "Disaster Management at Grassroots Level Along With Restoration of Livelihood Opportunities in Mountain districts of Uttarakhand, launched recently after the Kedar Nath deluge. The program has been covering 5 districts viz. Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Tehri and Pauri Garhwal with the objective of:

i. Setting up a disaster management unit within the organization to assist communities to set up community based early warning system for which the project has been focusing to build organization capacity and in turn to create the capacity of the communities residing in remote mountain villages by facilitating relevant capacity buildings programs. Under this component of the project nearly 5000 households of 450 villages of the said districts are being covered.

ii. Assisting disaster affected communities in restoring their livelihood post disaster which has shattered the pilgrim tourist based livelihood system of large number households in Uttarakhand. This particular component of the project aims at creation of decentralized processing units to assist 2500 women spices producers of 125 disasters affected villages of 3 selected districts viz. Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Tehri of the state of Uttarakhand.

A trained disaster management wing within organization is a demand driven activity as there has been frequent occurrence of disasters in AT India program areas for last 2-3 years. It is imperative to focus on the disaster related issue in mountain region specifically to build community capacity to integrate the DRR in developmental programs in turn AT India together could built the capacity of local community in disaster management and mitigation. The case in point is the June 2013 disasters which have had the adverse impact on the livelihood system of the people due to destruction of road connectivity eventually resulted in increased transportation cost due to which production cost hiked. Therefore the program on one hand addresses disaster management / mitigation issue on the other hand work towards strengthen the livelihood by creating decentralized processing of spices in the most affected areas.

The Program has been started recently from April 2014 and so far has conducted the following activities in the area.

1. Finalizing villages and Selection of community level DRR volunteers:
The project has been working under the leadership of experience Project Manager who have adequate experience in disaster management and rural development. At The district level the day to day activities are being carried out under the supervision of District Coordinators of AT India. The orientation under the program has been conducted for the district level team on the project objectives, outcome and impact. Similarly the orientation has been conducted for the selected village volunteers. The team has been given the criteria for the selection of the villages as follows:-
i. Most disaster affected villages during 2012 and 2013 disaster.
ii. Villages located near to river and tributaries.
iii. Villages near to land slide zones.
iv. Villages that have past history of disaster or experienced any kind of natural calamities.

After the orientation district wise work plan have been formulated to conduct the village level meetings in order to share the proposed interventions, its objectives and time frame.

2. Orientation of the team on DRR terminology:
As part of the capacity building of the team training has been conducted with a view to familiarize with the various terms used in disaster management / DRR and to build the capacity on vulnerability assessment, hazards / risk identifications, preparedness and mitigation.

3. Training on Risk/Hazard analysis and facilitating village DRR plans:
A four days training have been organized for the project team and selected village volunteers on TOT mode by the trainers from ASK Gurgaon. A team of 33 persons comprising the District Coordinators, Valley Coordinators and volunteers attended the workshop. The objective of training was to impart skills on Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) in such a way that they in turn build the capacity of the village communities in their respective areas. Hence the training had been conducted in TOT mode to develop the team as master trainer(s) to be able to train communities.

4. Training on Search and Rescue (SAR):
A week long training on SAR have been organized in collaboration with Disaster Management and Mitigation Center (DMMC) Dehradun, Uttarakhand to impart basic but practical training on SAR and first aid. The participants for SAR training were from district project team and village volunteers. During the training participants had been encouraged to develop wide level coordination with concerned departments / agencies at the district and Block level such as local police stations, volunteers trained by the Government so that search and rescue operation can be conducted jointly in any emergency situation at their respective area.

5. Training of village volunteers on Risk/Hazard analysis at community level:
Training of village volunteers on risk hazards analysis is underway at cluster / valley level. These trainings are being conducted with the objectives to equip them with facilitation skills in regard to conducting village level mapping for risk, vulnerability and resources available in the particular village and present and assist Gram Panchayats to prepare village contingency and development plans in a participatory manner in near terms.

6. Observation Study Tour on community based early warning (CBEW) system:
Since the programs one of the important components is to pilot / setup early warning system therefore a week long exposure visit had been conducted recently to see and understand early warning system operational in UP/ Nepal area. The team were given the knowledge and understanding on functioning of CBEW including the usage and messaging process by an NGO called Purvanchal Gramin Vikas Sansthan (PVKS) working on the disaster management issues in UP / Nepal area. During the exposure the project team has learnt the operational aspects of the system of community based early warning system including early warning, tools/adapted, measures used in early warning system at community level.

7. Prepared watershed maps of proposed area:
AT India in order to broaden its network and collaboration recently conducted the meeting with the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) Roorkee, Uttarakhand for leveraging technical support to establish the early warning system in mountain region. The Senior Hydrologist of this premier institute was contacted for extending technical guidance in regard to establishing CBEW.