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1. Title

Implementation of Folk-Song Program in disaster awareness raising

ID: DRH 53 Participants of the Folk-Song Program peforming at the stage
Hazard: Landslide , Flood , Flash flood , Climate change impact

Process Technology (PT)

Proposer: Binaya Kumar Mishra
Country: NEPAL;
Date posted: 22 October 2009
Date published: 29 December 2009
Copyright © 2009 Binaya Kumar Mishra (proposer). All rights reserved.

Participants of the Folk-Song Program peforming at the stage

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Binaya Kumar Mishra (Research fellow)
Kaoru Takara (Professor)
Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Uji Campus,
Kyoto University, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan. Tel.: +81-774384133,
Fax: +81-774384130; Email: mishra@flood.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp

2. Major significance / Summary

In country like Nepal, most of the disaster awareness raising education/training programs has been able to attract only educated and leading people of the community. The implementation of Folk-Songs like programs with disaster awareness theme can be useful in attracting the children, women, minorities and other marginalized groups who generally don’t take part in other such activities.

3. Keywords

Folk-Song, disaster reduction, public event, effective, marginalized people

II. Categories

4. Focus of this information

Process Technology (PT)

5. Users

5-1. Anticipated users: Community leaders (voluntary base) , NGO/NPO project managers and staff , International organizations (UN organizations and programmes, WB, ADRC, EC, etc.) , Rural planners , Environmental/Ecological specialists

5-2. Other users: Policy makers , Motivated researchers , Local residents

6. Hazards focused

Landslide , Flood , Flash flood , Climate change impact

7. Elements at risk

Human lives , Business and livelihoods , Infrastructure , Buildings , Rural areas , River banks and fluvial basin , Mountain slopes , Agricultural lands

III. Contact Information

8. Proposer(s) information (Writer of this template)

Binaya Kumar Mishra (Research fellow)
Kaoru Takara (Professor)
Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Uji Campus,
Kyoto University, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan. Tel.: +81-774384133,
Fax: +81-774384130; Email: mishra@flood.dpri.kyoto-u.ac.jp

9. Country(ies)/region(s) where the technology/knowledge/practice originated


Various districts of Nepal (for example, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Banke, Bardiya)

10. Names and institutions of technology/knowledge developers

Practical Action Nepal (a non-profit organization)

11. Title of relevant projects if any

(i) Flood security projects in Nepal
(ii) Disaster risk reduction and climate change projects in Nepal

12. References and publications

See the website of Practical Action Nepal below for more information.

13. Note on ownership if any

No restriction for the non-commercial use. Usage has been encouraged for disaster awareness raising, however credit should be given to the Practical Action Nepal.
See website: http://practicalaction.org/dipecho/dipecho_video
Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

IV. Background

14. Disaster events and/or societal circumstances, which became the driving force either for developing the technology/knowledge or enhancing its practice

Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disaster. There is a high risk of floods in the plain (Figure 1) and landslide in the hills. The frequency of such disaster is increasing year by year. Low awareness level in terms of disaster preparedness and management, lack of efficient mechanisms and capacity to deal with these natural disasters have severe impacts on the lives of the people, property and economy at large. 



Figure1:  Flood in Sunsari due to Sapta Koshi  River Eastern Embankment Breach on 21-08-2008. (Source: UN-NIP)


Raising awareness of risks and an understanding of the factors which underlie them are critical to reducing vulnerability. Only by understanding fully the risks can people plan their response. Different kinds of programs/training are found to be conducted for the disaster awareness raising in the rural community. However, rural women, children and minors, who are the most affected group by any natural disaster, are unable to get attracted by the usual disaster awareness trainings/programs because of illiteracy, poverty, religious/cultural obligations etc. 

In this regard, the implementation of Folk-Song like programs (Figure 2) can be highly effective to rural people, particularly the marginalized people, for disaster awareness raising.



      Figure 2: Folk-Song program for the diasaster awareness in Chitwan, Nepal 

V. Description

15. Feature and attribute

If the mediums of communication are based on local language to raise awareness, the marginalized group of the community are found to be largely benefitted. Song or "Dohari" competitions are common events throughout the year, the traditional form of song being a dialogue between two individuals or groups, male and female. This form lends itself naturally to a "questions and answers" or dialogue structure within a song with competitions being hard fought and creative in their attempts to achieve the most innovative or amusing stories.

The proposed technology of implementation of Folk-Song program for disaster aswareness raising is simple to implement in practice. In addition, the technology is inexpensive. Such technology can be useful to various types of natural disasters. Since the technology is based on local language and culture, it can effectively attract and make the rural uneducated, women, children, minors etc., who generally do not participate in other community awareness programs, understand the nature of disasters, their tangible/intangible impacts and the importance of existing protective measures.

16. Necessary process to implement

To implement the proposed technology of Folk-Song like cultural program, the training team needs to contact the local community leaders and governmental/non-governmental organization people as the first step. After discussion with the local leaders, decisions are made on the place for the Folk-Song competition event, probable participants, disaster theme explanation to the participants, event information to the expected people through loud speakers and others that required for successful completion of any such program.

Given basic information or messages competitors create their own songs. Based on their performance in term of their songs' strength and performance skill to communicate the messege for disaster awareness raising, the winner is declared by the selected judges. These make the competitors as well as the participants, specially marginalized who do not possess other forms of entertainment, interested to take part in such disaster awareness raising.

17. Strength and limitations

The proposed technology will enable effectively to know about the nature of disasters, their impact and how to cope with the disasters. In particular, the rural women, children, uneducated men and other marginalized people who are not able to access the disaster raising programs delivered through TV, radio, school etc. will be largely benefitted (Figure 3). Like the street drama events the Folk-Song or "Dohari" competitions have proved an alternative means of communicating risk messages to audiences which might not have been accessible through more formal approaches. However, the proposed technology may not be effective to urban people.         


Figure 3: Folk-Song program with the presence of large marginalized group of people.

18. Lessons learned through implementation if any

The technology was found to be largely effective after the implementation of the Folk-Song Program for flood disaster awareness raising in the various districts of Nepal. Villagers who were not attentive to the importance existing early warning system and other structural components were found to be largely careful to siren sound, safety of river bank, levee etc. after such program was implemented. Hence, the programs like this can be largely effective in the rural sector of the developing/under-developed nations.

VI. Resources required

19. Facilities and equipments required

Local community leaders/technicians and governmental/non-governmental organizations can play important roles in the implementation of such cultural-based Folk-Song competition program in disaster awareness raising. A venue for the event needs to be prepared for watching the program. The venue should be such that it can accommodate the expected people. Arrangement of loudspeakers, chair, carpets, drinking water, and sanitation facilities need to be made at program venue. Sometime, such program may be more effective in night. In this case, there should be good facility of lights.

20. Costs, organization, manpower, etc.

Budget is required for the manpower involved in training program, expenses in the preparatory works with local leaders, governmental organization, transportation, communication etc. Other costs will include labor cost involved in carrying the arrangement of the program, the rental hiring cost of loudspeaker, chair, carpet, lights etc for the event and the prize money for participants of Folk-Song Program.

VII. Message from the proposer if any

21. Message

VIII. Self evaluation in relation to applicability

22. How do you evaluate the technology/knowledge that you have proposed?

It is a technology/knowledge that has fair applicability demonstrated by implementation in one or more field sites.

23. Notes on the applicability if any

IX. Application examples


    E1-1. Project name if available

    (i) Flood security projects in Nepal, and (ii) Disaster risk reduction and climate change projects in Nepal

    E1-2. Place

    Chitwan district, Nepal  (See video with file name flood1  attached at the end)             

    E1-3. Year


    E1-4. Investor

    Practical Action Nepal (a non-profit organization)

    E1-5. People involved

    Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

    E1-6. Monetary costs incurred

    Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

    E1-7. Total workload required

    Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

    E1-8. Evidence of positive result

    After the implementation of program, the vulnerable villagers are largely sensitive to evacuation, and hence enable to reduce the disaster damage losses (Figure 4). It has also helped reduce loss of lives and assets - from landslide, floods and other forms of natural disaster - through the use of early warning systems, local preparedness planning and other initiatives.


    Figure 4: People evacuating their belonging effectively to safe place after hearing the warning siren at Chitwan, Nepal.


    Basanta Chaudhari, a resident of Bagaincha tole expressed his experience as“As soon as we heard the sound of the siren, we came out of our house, we took our cattle to a nearby highland area, called Thule Chour, and shifted our valuables from the ground floor to the upper floor of the house.”


    E2-1. Project name if available

    (i) Flood security projects in Nepal, and (ii) Disaster risk reduction and climate change projects in Nepal

    E2-2. Place

    Banke district, Nepal


                   Figure 5: Folk-Song program being implemented at Banke, Nepal

    E2-3. Year


    E2-4. Investor

    Practical Action Nepal (a non-profit organization)

    E2-5. People involved

    Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

    E2-6. Monetary costs incurred

    Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

    E2-7. Total workload required

    Contact email: info@practicalaction.org.np

    E2-8. Evidence of positive result

    This was the first time that Biraha (Awadhi) and Kathaura (Tharu) song competitions had been used for public awareness purposes. This program was a part of the project intended for reducing vulnerability to the flood. For example, the implementation of Folk-Song program led the local marginalized people to know the importance of newly constructed flood warning siren.

    Many farmers in Joraiya, Khalla Tepari, Gulaldeva, Bisambharpur and Sidhanawa villages, on hearing the warning, started taking their ploughs, oxen and agricultural tools to higher land. Traditionally farmers here leave their tools and oxen near their farm land, as it can be distant from their homes, but as in past years, when there was no warning, they had often been lost, they moved them in advance this time.

    Fishermen, such as Balak Godia, Bahur Godia and their friends, were fishing on the Rapti on 28th June. On hearing the sound of the siren from the Joraiya area about 6.45 pm, they realized the threat and returned quickly to the river bank, stating if they had not heard the siren they might have remained fishing ‘till midnight, possibly camping on one of the many islands in the river. If they had it could have been disastrous.

X. Other related parallel initiatives if any


XI. Remarks for version upgrade


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