Reinforcing Rural Resilience

Reinforcing Rural Resilience through a Strong National Society

Project Overview

The Reinforcing Rural Resilience through a Strong National Society Program (RRRP) has been started on July 2021 which is being implemented by BDRCS and supported by Swiss Red Cross. The program aims to increase the disaster resilience capacities of the rural communities by strengthening the national society. The Programme will contribute to major global humanitarian and development frameworks including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Grand Bargain. Moreover, it also contributes to nine SDG targets.

The project has three focusing areas. First, it aims to enhance the disaster response capacities of the rural communities by reducing disaster risk and increased livelihood and food security also establishing sound coordination and establishment of local level Disaster Management Committees (DMC). Secondly, it focuses on the availability of access to healthcare and WASH facilities to increase the overall wellbeing of rural community to limit preexisting vulnerabilities which enables to better cope in the event of a disaster. Thirdly, the project focuses on institutional development of individual BDRCS units in risk prone zones and to deliver timely resource mobilization for better provision of humanitarian services.

Program Impact and goals

Rural communities are enabled and accompanied to become more resilient through the support of a stronger national society.

Program Outcomes

Outcome 1: Rural communities have reduced disaster risk and increased livelihood and food security.

Outcome 2: Rural communities have improved access to enhanced quality basic health care and WASH services and demonstrate changed health and hygiene behavior.

Outcome 3: Financial sustainability of BDRCS and selected branches has improved.

Outcome 4: Selected branches have improved organizational and service delivery capacity.

Figure: Theory of Change, RRRP

The Programme is contributing to major global humanitarian and development frameworks including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Grand Bargain. Moreover, it also contributes to the following SDGs and targets:

The programme’s strategic and thematic priorities are aligned with governmental policies and guidelines.  The Government of Bangladesh in recognition of the country’s proneness to disasters has formulated various laws and plans to develop an effective response capacity to the threat of natural disasters. The Disaster Management (DM) vision of the Government is to reduce the risk of people – especially the poor and the disadvantaged – to the effects of natural, environmental and human induced hazards to a manageable and acceptable humanitarian level and to have in place an efficient emergency response management system capable of handling large-scale disasters.

Location and Beneficiaries

The program focuses in two geographic areas in Gaibandha and Kurigram to implement activities under outcome 1 & 2. In Gaibandha, five unions of Sundarganj upazala and in Kurigram three unions of char Rajibpur have been selected which are the remotest and vulnerable in the case of all socio-economic indicators. The total number of beneficiaries under 88 communities is 2,37,045 individuals in 52,413 Households. The program is especially supporting the extremely poor households which make up about 10.04 % of the entire targeted population.  

Outcome 3 & 4 focuses to enhance capacity of National Society as well as local Red Crescent Units. The programme intends to strengthen the financial sustainability of BDRCS by developing their capacity in resource mobilisation (RM). The need to enhance RM capacity of BDRCS is strongly recognised as an existential imperative by numerous OCAC exercises (2014, 2018), the review of the last strategic plan (2017 – 2020) as well as the emerging NSD plan. Consequently, enhanced RM capacity of BDRCS is enshrined as a key strategic priority of BDRCS in the new SP 2021-25 that now has very clearly defined performance indicators to track progress during the course of next SP.  

Reviewing the existing RM policy and related guidelines against the findings of state of the art market assessment, proactive measures for sustainability of the National Society will be devised and tested. This will include developing and implementing donor (private and government) engagement strategies, building strategic partnerships with private sector and donor agencies, and intensifying the drive to widen national membership of BDRCS. BDRCS will be further supported in building upon new partnerships established during COVID-19 to expand donor bases and to institutionalize longer-term partnerships.  

With the support of SRC and IFRC, BDRCS intends to increase their resource mobilization capacity by developing a resource mobilization strategy.

Selected branches have improved organisational and service delivery capacity is the key thrust of outcome 4.

Essentially, the branch development component seeks to ensure organisational development of branches that shall manifest in, but not confined to, improved branch governance and operations (output 4.1) which in turn will permit better service delivery, improved engagement with local stakeholders, and an efficient and effective volunteer management system (output 4.2). In summary, the branch development plans (BDP) will be based on the guidance document of BDRCS for the branch selection process, which in turn will be based on the new SP, Dhaka Declaration, and BOCA outcomes.

The new SP of BDRCS strongly recognizes that sub-optimal achievements of earlier SP were in major part due to the absence of operational plans at NHQ and branches for the rolling out of the strategic plan. In the new strategic plan, BDRCS commits that not only NHQ but also all branches will be supported in developing an operational plan1 so that the branches have sense of ownership over the SP and can develop branch level annual operational plans in line with the broader strategy. Under the present programme, branches will be supported in maintaining the right balance between top-down planning, where the national SP influences the planning choices made at branch level, and bottom-up planning, whereby the needs and issues at branch level influence the direction of the OP. In fact, under this outcome, BDRCS will test the development of OPs that can be replicated to other branches across the country through their own resources.

Finally, planned investments will have to be made in establishing / strengthening the enabling conditions at NHQ to improve NHQ – branch connectedness, as can be seen in many of the lessons that have emerged, without which branch development outcomes will run the risk of being sub-optimal. The present programme has allocated resources to strengthen the enablers of branch development but then these have to be brought to the agenda of BDRCS and federation wide membership so that it is collectively pursued as BDRCS’s larger organisational development initiatives.

In 2022, based on the selection criteria, twelve RC units have been selected for branch development which are – Kushtia, Khulna City, Gopalganj, Magura, Brahmanbaria, Khagrachari, Laxipur, Munshiganj, Jamalpur, Bhola, Jhalokathi and Joypurhat.

Key Components

  • Disaster Risk Management: Strengthening DRM capacities of the local government institutions and the communities along with establishing comprehensive Early Warning System. In addition, mitigation options such as plinth raising of settlements, flood shelter, local market, school and road repair have been supported.
  • WASH: Universal sanitation coverage will be ensured through resource mobilization by implying co-financing strategy. Program will also focus on access to safe and sustainable WASH facilities and demonstrate improved hygiene behavior.
  • Livelihood and Food Security: Food security and livelihood solutions that may include crop and livelihoods diversification, enhance food preservation practices accompanied by appropriate orientation, training and skill development.
  • Health: Revitalization of 33 Community Clinics that exists in the program area will be supported through establishing new structures and repair of old and damaged clinics. Program will also support to (re)form community groups and community support groups, establish effective referral system and ensure training of Health Service Providers (HSP).
  • Natural Resource Management: Sustainable utilization of major natural resources to preserve the balance in the ecosystem. In this regard, establishment of compost pits, raising awareness via popular theatre on reducing use of pesticide and increasing use of organic fertilizer.

Transversal Topics

  • Linkage relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) mainstreaming
  • Conflict sensitive program management (CSPM) mainstreaming
  • Gender and diversity mainstreaming

Baseline Report: Hyperlink

[1] The operational plans (OP) and branch developments plans (BDP), despite significant overlaps that might be there, are distinct tools for the purposes of this prodoc. The new SP commits that all branches will be supported by NHQ in developing their own OPs that are aligned to new SP and Dhaka Declaration whereas the BDP will be an outcome of branches’ response to the guidance document for the branch development component and will be comprise a key basis for selection of branches. The latter will also include their perspective on strengthening governance / OD, programme management, branch level services and stakeholder networking, among other things.