Thirty two women and men from Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Kandhamal, Puri and Bhubaneswar, were felicitated on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, in an event organised by Young India and ActionAid Association in Konark, Odisha on August 19. Nearly 100 people, including leaders from the communities, participated. The meeting was an opportunity for people from across Odisha to come together and share their wide-ranging experiences related to community contingency plans, school safety audits, women’s leadership-building on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), transparency and accountability in emergency response and timely assistance to disaster-affected communities through relief material and housing.
Shri Tusharkanti Behera, the Honourable Minister of Electronics, Information Technology, Sports and Youth Services, Government of Odisha, inaugurated the programme. In his address he congratulated Young India and ActionAid Association, and appreciated their response during disasters and long-term efforts towards DRR and women’s leadership-building.
Sushri Rojina Das, Tehsildar, Kakatpur, who participated in the programme, shared in her address that civil society organisations have played a vital role in emergency response and their support has helped the government to reach out to the worst-affected areas and the most vulnerable populations. Women from the community as well as the organisations have extended a huge support in responding to emergencies effectively, she added.
“Women from the communities as well as at the organisational level have played an important role in emergency response. This effort of felicitating women humanitarians is, therefore, a process of recognising their contributions towards disaster risk reduction,” said N. A. Shah Ansari, President, Young India, while sharing the objectives of the meeting.
“Women are often the first ones to respond to disasters and the last ones to leave. Their contributions deserve to be celebrated. This World Humanitarian Day, we salute the efforts of women humanitarians,” said Debabrat Patra, Regional Manager, Odisha Regional Office, ActionAid Association, while addressing the participants. He also shared that in all processes of emergency response, ActionAid Association keeps women at the centre to ensure that their vulnerabilities are reduced, and they become more resilient to face any future disasters. “This initiative of felicitating women humanitarians is an opportunity for us to honour the work of those women who have for long been standing courageously on the frontlines and working tirelessly for their communities in some of the most difficult terrains,” he added.
Ghasiram Panda, Programme Manager, ActionAid Association, urged the government to undertake long-term measures to reduce disaster-related risks and vulnerabilities. “The most vulnerable sections of our population, like single women, should be identified and provided with land, housing and other social security support as part of the efforts to reduce risks of disasters,” he mentioned.
Among others present at the meeting were Pushpasree Devi, Programme Manager, ActionAid Association; Sudatta Khuntia, National Lead, Education Synergy Group, ActionAid Association; B. N. Durga, Programme Officer, ActionAid Association; Lopamudra Behera, Programme Officer, ActionAid Association; Sadashiv Swain, Secretary, Center for Child and Women Development (CCWD); Pradeep Dash, Antaranga; and leaders of Sneha Abhiyan.