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Introducing DRR to communities through street dramas

Youth actors performing in a community street drama

SRSD project has been using street dramas as one means of raising awareness at the community level. The themes focus on various aspects of DRR - the impact of disasters, roles of schools and communities in times of disaster, and importance on disaster preparedness. The skits acted out are based on real life events that have taken place in Kailali, community members observing these events can easily relate. In Kailali District, the Mohana and Kandara River and its tributaries, annually inundate adjacent communities and erode riverbanks and productive land. They cause loss of life, loss of crops and arable land, and loss of key assets such as livestock and housing.

When a drama is performed, observes, which include students, teachers, parents and community members, have shared how they are deeply touched as they witness scenes depicting the hardships they are faced every year during the monsoon season. In addition to loss of crops, land, livestock and housing, flooding damages infrastructure, including roads, irrigation canals, schools and health posts, and makes accessing clean drinking water sources and sanitation services difficult. Flooding also separates children from schools, and damages school equipment such as books, uniforms, and school infrastructure. Some of the community members observing the skits have lost family members.

While the events acted out are all too familiar for the communities, the aim is to introduce preparedness measures. While community members expect annual flooding, preparedness measures to mitigate the risks associated with disasters is absent. The skits introduce simple measures such as storing food, water and seeds.

The street dramas serve as one tool to introduce risk reduction to communities. The aim of SRSD is not only to help schools to become more disaster resilient, but leverages school-based activities to improve community-level DRR awareness. Following this initial introduction of DRR, community members will be included in participatory vulnerable and capacity analysis (VCA) and decide on mitigation measures suitable for their communities.

One of the spectators of street drama, Ms. Parma Devi Chaudhary of Udasipur VDC said, “I was very impressed with the subject of the street drama and the characters played by actors really touched my heart. I realize now, we were not able to do such things before in order to reduce the risks. It happened due to lack of knowledge on disaster preparedness. I am not only making myself vulnerable but my children too. I completely understood now. I am going to implement what I learnt through street drama in my home and community to protect my children, my house, my land, my cattle and village”.

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