Interview by Nisma Le Boul | London, January 2nd
What does your organisation do?
Krisoker Sor is a non-profit organisation founded in 2007, but has been working at the local level with the East Sujonkathi costal community in Bangladesh since 1999. Our prime concern is the endogenous development of a tiny community. Krisoker Sor’s ambition is to set a clear link between disaster risk reduction strategies with climate change and sustainable development initiatives. We see sustainable development and community as a whole by implementing community projects with a “holistic approach” to development. Our organisation relies on the “power of the community” to implement research based activities (i.e Eco system DRR project) to influence DRR strategies at local, national, regional and global levels.
How would you describe its role as part of civil-society
Our organisation plays an important role as part of Bangladesh’s civil society. Despite not being funded, Krisoker Sor has fostered solid relationships with diverse DRR stakeholders for increased impact on the ground. All projects are implemented in collaboration with local and national government representatives, local community groups, NGO’s and/or academic networks. Additionally, we have utilized over 1,000 volunteers to support our activities.
What is your role, what does it entail?
I believe that I have a “facilitator” role within the community. Community is and should become the main actor of its own development. My goal is to ensure that the voice of our community is heard By policy makers at the international level, and that local knowledge is recognized and incorporated into DRR decision-making processes.
When did your organisation join GNDR?
Krisoker Sor joined the network in 2014.
Why did you join GNDR?
In 2015, our organisation took part in a UNISDR workshop in Geneva hosted by Margareta Whalström, President of the Swiss Red Cross, for the first review of the draft of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). GNDR was one of the thirteen civil society organisations that attended this workshop. During this event I had the pleasure to meet Marcus Oxley who was the current Executive Director of GNDR and encouraged Krisoker Sor to join the network.
Consider 3 benefits for Krisoker Sor of being a GNDR member?
GNDR is a strong global network that has over 850 members worldwide. The opportunity for sharing knowledge with those members is a huge benefit. Through its programmes in Disaster Risk Reduction, GNDR influences international frameworks to consider the crucial role of communities locally for a greater impact. Last but not least, GNDR has a real “family” vibe and it has been a pleasure to work with its Secretariat.
Name one area of improvement for GNDR
I would point out GNDR’s lack of funding. Despite its great work on the ground, an increased financial capacity would mean extra support for its members.
What do you think are your biggest achievements as an organisation?
For 17 years now, our organisation relies on volunteers to implement its projects. Our aspiration is to work for and with the community, hand in hand. Our network is very active and vibrant; since 2001 we have supported 700 households in the community. We believe that we are contributing to a “change of mentality” regarding sustainable development and disaster reduction at local, national but also global levels. In 2016 Kirsoker Sor shared its approach at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi focused on “Building Back Better”, one more step towards the translation of local reality in international DRR policy-making.
Has your organisation received any awards?
- In 2015, our sister organisation “East Sujonkathi Somaj” was chosen as one of UNISDR’s “Global Champions of disaster risk reduction” for their integration of child volunteers into East Sujonkathi’s DRR initiative following the devastating cyclone Sidr.
- Krisoker Sor received the 2013 “Sociologists Without Borders” (SSF) award for our project “Relocating, in-danger Ecosystem”.
What should GNDR do to sustain or increase members' engagement or participation?
GNDR must multiply collaborative actions at the local level. Reinforcing DRR initiatives will guarantee more efficiency and impact on resolving development issues in Bangladesh.