Thanks Chioma for disseminating the expert feedback.
Regarding root cause, Our research and experience of working in urban areas revealed that the underlying reasons of fire occurrences in slums include lack of awareness about the risk factors that can cause fire, certain behaviors and practices (such as using unsafe cooking facilities, burning waste materials very close to the houses, throwing cigarette butts without putting out the fire), makeshift electrical wiring, etc. Our proposed initiative is designed to address these root causes of fire occurrence. Moreover, sometimes slums are set to fire intentionally for eviction. Establishment of an effective fire hazard prevention mechanism is expected to reduce this risk as well. However, overcrowding in urban slums is inevitable due to dweller’s limited earning with high living cost in urban area. Consequently, the proposed intervention capitalizes this potential huge slum dwellers by forming representative groups and encourages collective actions towards reducing fire hazard.
Concerning the focus of our intervention, Our idea focuses on addressing the issue of fire hazard on two levels. On one level, a major focus obviously is to educate and aware slum dwellers regarding the causes of fire hazard and prevention measures. However, at the same time the focus is also on developing a functional mechanism for fire hazard prevention which involves community capacity building, equipping the community with simple preventive tools, access to water reservoirs and connecting them with the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence (BFSCD) authorities.
With respect to ensuring participation of the community we believe that, Risk of fire hazard significantly contributes to perpetuate vulnerability of urban slum dwellers. Hence there is already a need among slum communities for undertaking an initiative such as this. Community members also expressed their interest during consultation with the beneficiaries. BRAC has 44 years’ of experience in successfully developing and implementing community led interventions for realizing people’s own potentials and addressing the root causes of social injustice. BRAC’s Community Empowerment program (http://cep.brac.net), Human rights and Legal Aid Service Programme (http://hrls.brac.net) are some of the notable examples of engaging community in participatory manner. In our proposed initiative, BRAC will act like a facilitator while ensuring the participation of the slum community from the very beginning of the projects by creating a sense of ownership among the slum dwellers. We strongly believe that demonstrating the benefits of this initiative for reducing fire hazard risk collectively and upholding the sense of ownership in this mechanism among community members will act as a prime catalyst for participation.
Hi Rehana, thanks for your note. Yes, our ideas are very much aligned - at BRAC we have been thinking for sometime about setting up establishing some sort of community information and resource centers. Our urban development programme is a new initiative and we are looking forward to link up with others to explore effective solutions, learn and scale up. I will be happy to link up with your 2 initiatives. Cheers. Kazi