In December 2020, Words. Rhythms. Images. received a grant from the HIF to pilot community-led video content, capturing the experiences of people with disabilities and older people during floods in Kerala. This proved to be a useful tool for inclusive change during flood preparation, rescue and rehabilitation processes.
In December 2021, the HIF granted Words. Rhythms. Images. follow on funding to explore how video-based storytelling can be used by community members in villages, low-income communities and slums that face water stress in and around Dehradun city, Uttarakhand. WRI will explore how video-based storytelling can be used to identify local water scarcity and flooding issues, and how these stories can be packaged as a digital advocacy tool.
Despite growing awareness of the importance of inclusive humanitarian response, there is limited evidence that people with disability and older people are being included.
Elrha, Gap Analysis: the Inclusion of People with Disability and Older People in Humanitarian Response. Page 67
Special needs of people with disabilities and older people are often not taken into account when designing flood preparedness, rescue, and rehabilitation strategies in flood-affected regions, or when thinking about ensuring reliable access to clean water through periods of water scarcity, even though these groups are more vulnerable and require consistent support to keep themselves safe. Often decision makers, gatekeepers, and implementers are able-bodied and do not take disabilities into account when designing programs and operations. The one-size-fits-all solutions that come from such a perspective can put these groups in vulnerable and undignified situations.
In the first phase of the project, the focus was on sensitizing communities and other stakeholders to the needs of people with disabilities and older people during floods to make response processes more inclusive and accessible.
In the second phase of the project, Words. Rhythms. Images. are focused on reliable access to clean water and building the capacities of communities to capture issues of water stress and use them for digital advocacy.
In the first phase of funding, WRI directly tackled the problem of lack of awareness and sensitivity towards people with disabilities and older people when designing and rolling out flood preparedness and response strategies, by designing a community engagement model using participatory videos.
The model included bringing together community members, rescue workers, and volunteers with people with disabilities and older people to understand challenges they faced during flood mitigation. The end product intended to be used by other communities in other geographies to make their flood preparedness and response strategies more sensitive to the needs of older people and people with disabilities.
In the second phase of funding, WRI are doing just that. They are exploring how video-based storytelling can be used by community members in Dehradun to identify local water scarcity and flooding issues, and how they can package these stories as a digital advocacy tool. They are aiming to build the capacities of communities to capture issues of water stress via a mobile phone, and package short, impactful videos that can be disseminated to encourage local authorities to implement long-term solutions. The video creation process is customized for low-resource settings so that those with a basic smart phone and access to a personal or community computer/laptop can devise advocacy techniques to trigger solution building.
With the first phase of funding, WRI developed videos that can be used as a tool to make preparedness, rescue, and rehabilitation process more inclusive and sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities and older people. The videos were disseminated to those on the frontlines such as rescue workers, first responders, medical practitioners and other stakeholders such as policy makers, government officials, NGOs, and educational institutions to shed light on this often overlooked issue.
With the second phase of funding, WRI expects that, by the end of the project, community members will have the capacities and tools to highlight the issues that most impact their day-to-day lives. They will be able to articulate them to the right authorities/sources so that a tangible sustainable solution is implemented. The project focuses on solution identification to trigger conversations and actions that are community-led, instead of led by authorities and decision makers who are not directly impacted by the issues of water stress. While the intervention is focused on water scarcity and flooding, any member of the community can use this method of video-based storytelling as an advocacy tool for any issue they want to take up.
Read WRI's project blog on the power of storytelling for understanding how flooding in Kerala impacts the elderly and people living with disabilitiesView
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