Publication Date

1999

Abstract

Bangladesh, from time immemorial, has been suffering from unsparing natural calamities. Being a riverine country and having mountains on three sides of its border, floods are an almost annual unwelcome event here. The prolonged flood of 1998 was one of the most severe in recent memory. Almost two-thirds of the country was affected by this flood which caused tremendous damage of lives and property. Government efforts were not enough to face this acute problem. Several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were involved in relief and rehabilitation activities. As a large national NGO, BRAC participated actively in the flood operation and implemented a nation-wide relief and rehabilitation program, which contributed to flood-stricken people to reduce their suffering. This is the first time that BRAC involved its Training and Resource Centres (TARC) as a centre of relief activities. So TARCs involved their full strength of staff, as well as resources, to address the problem. In my study, I tried to determine and assess the role of TARCs, as well as the perceptions of the flood-affected people who received BRAC's support during the flood of 1998. In order to get a clear picture in the study, I used questionnaires and a checklist for in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. I interviewed twenty trainers from two TARCs, and facilitated a focus group discussion with the TARC managers. I talked to the Program Coordinator of BRAC Relief and Rehabilitation Programs to get complete information on the flood activities of BRAC. I also talked to the Director of Training Division to gain a clear picture of the activities done by TARCs because TARC is under the management of the Training Division. Finally, I interviewed forty flood-affected people to gain a clear perception of the effects of BRAC's efforts on them. Through my efforts to learn about the role of TARCs during the flood of 1998, I gained true insight about the suffering of the people, as well as the commitment and competence of the staff of BRAC. TARCs proved their organizing and managing capabilities in distributing the relief materials and maintaining strong liaison with the agencies (GO-NGO) and groups working on the relief activities during the flood. The findings of my research study made me confident to recommend to BRAC the further use of TARCs as the centers of implementing nation-wide programs, and using the TARCs as the central local office of all the BRAC programs working in that location.

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