What really is Disaster Preparedness? Disaster preparedness refers to measures taken to anticipate and reduce the effects of disasters.
Climate change, which includes global warming and its attending environmental impacts, is a serious and pervasive challenge for local (rural people who are adversely affected) and global communities.
The climate is the average weather over a period of decades, ranging from 30 years or more.
Climate change is different from the climate system (which includes the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and/or cryosphere) beyond natural variation (Chadwick, 2016) that persist for extended periods of time (for decades or longer) and can be attributed directly and indirectly to human activities all over the world.
The changing climate affects the ecosystems upon which we depend, human health, food and water supplies, livelihoods, infrastructure, and security (IPCC, 2013). Current and future climate changes are the direct and indirect result of human actions. Human behaviours are responsible for changing the climate, but human behaviours can also mitigate climate change (IPCC, 2013)
Agriculture is the mainstay of many African countries, contributing to food security and employment of rural households. Climate variability and change have adversely affected this sector and the situation is expected to worsen in the future.
Agriculture is also playing a role by having an adverse environmental impact through deforestation, stressed water resources and further contributing to greenhouse emission. Globally, the agricultural sector is more vulnerable to climate change than any other sector and is faced with numerous challenges, such as coping with the adverse impacts of drought and flooding more especially in Africa and Asia.
Climate change communication is fairly a new area which examines a range of factors that affect and are affected by how we communicate about climate change. It began to develop a presence in scholarly journals in the early to mid-1990s with a key focus on public understanding of climate change, risk perceptions and adaptations.
Communicating climate change effectively is an essential step towards creating an enabling environment for widespread societal adaptation. Yet less attention has been placed upon exploring what is known about effectively communicating climate change for adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa despite their uniqueness. Credit: giz.de
Rural farmers are quite a special set of people to work with when it comes to issues of introducing new technologies, methods and strategies of adaptation to climate change. Most communities tend to resist strategies termed ‘foreign’ but rather prefers when they are involved in the process of developing such intervention/adaptation strategy.
Effective communication can help to bridge the science-action gap on climate change, allowing individuals and communities to understand the problem, raise awareness, encourage dialogue and influence behavioural change (Moser and Dilling, 2012)
The end objective is to drive positive behavioural change among rural farmers through improvement/adaptation of indigenous technologies.
Effectively communicating to farmers will help prepare farmers for extreme events triggered by climate change. Disaster preparedness refers to measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters. That is, to predict and, where possible, prevent disasters, mitigate their impact on vulnerable populations, and respond to and effectively cope with their consequences. Credit: Ipsnews.net
Disaster preparedness provides a platform to design effective, realistic and coordinated planning, reduces duplication of efforts and increase the overall effectiveness of National Societies, household and community member’s disaster preparedness and response efforts. Disaster preparedness activities embedded with risk reduction measures can prevent disaster situations and also result in saving maximum lives and livelihoods during any disaster situation, enabling the affected population to get back to normalcy within a short time period.
Disaster preparedness is a continuous and integrated process resulting from a wide range of risk reduction activities and resources rather than from a distinct sector driven activity by itself. It requires the contributions of many different areas/sectors ranging from training and logistics, to health care, recovery, livelihood to institutional development.
This for farmers involves measure taken to reduce such impact like planting trees, cover crops to reducing impact of rainfall, free water ways to reduce flooding and drought management to manage water stress.
In conclusion communicating the science of climate change calls for us to be more than narrators of doom, to promote a more active hope, realistic goals, imaginable paths and a meaningful role for the individual in the collective response by considering the needs and aspirations of rural farmers either individually or as community groups we can support conversations around the topic of climate change, and in doing so we can inspire positive action against the negative effects of climate change caused by human activities.
We can always do more.
Featured Image Credit: icrisat
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