When preparing for disasters, national governments and humanitarian organisations often don’t consider how to communicate effectively with people with disabilities and older people. This means that these groups are often not able to access the information they need about being prepared for disasters, including natural disasters such as flooding. Worse, it may mean that they do not know how to respond during an emergency. This is especially crucial in areas vulnerable to natural disasters like flooding, such as Bangladesh.
Leonard Cheshire will research the experiences of people with disabilities and older people in disaster-prone areas. It will involve them in every stage of research: planning, data collection, and dissemination. In particular, the organisation will use Photovoice methodology, which will train a small group of participants to use photos (or other creative means like drawings) to explain their experience of living in a disaster-prone area and what they see as inclusive and effective ways of communicating.
Using the evidence they gather, participants will help to create inclusive messaging on preparedness for disasters. This will feed into a toolkit for authorities to use to communicate about disasters in a more inclusive way. In sum, the approach means that solutions to disaster risk reduction are designed by the people it needs to reach.
Project outputs will include a toolkit, briefings, an open-access academic article and webinars
Leonard Cheshire’s research will show how people with disabilities, and older people, in Kurigram district perceive disaster-related messaging, and also uncover what they see as the barriers to accessing these messages. It also aims to answer the question of how disaster-related messaging can be made accessible in Kurigram District, and how it can be made more effective in terms of reaching people with disabilities and older people.
A key principle of this research is that making the evidence-gathering process inclusive (i.e. fully involving people with disabilities and older people) which will underpin stronger outcomes overall. Therefore, Leonard Cheshire will capture data on the process of doing the research throughout the project (e.g. recording dialogues between stakeholders at project learning workshops).
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