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  • Writer's pictureCanopy Collective India

Reflections on the participatory workshop on Flood Toolkit Project

6th April 2024, at Living Labs, Tezpur, Assam

By Tahaj Hussain

Each year, Assam grapples with the wrath of floods, a natural calamity deeply rooted in the state's topography and monsoon patterns. Annually, the Brahmaputra River and its tributaries overflow during the monsoon season.The floods not only wreak havoc on homes, crops, and infrastructure but also pose significant threats to human lives and livelihoods. The floods lead to widespread displacement of thousands of people and animals alike. The displacement not only disrupts daily life but also poses significant challenges in terms of accessing basic necessities such as food, clean water, and healthcare. Furthermore, animals, including livestock and wildlife, are also affected, with many losing their habitats and facing threats to their survival. Thus a collaborative effort to address the pressing challenges posed by floods in Assam, a dynamic participatory workshop was organised by the Freshwater Working Group of the Canopy Collective, and engaged Greenhub India staff, as well as the filmmaking and Responsible Tourism fellowship alumni from Assam. The workshop aimed to introduce and delve into the flood toolkit project, fostering a comprehensive understanding of its purpose, components, and potential impact. 

A concise overview of the workshop's agenda and the flood toolkit project was provided, outlining its necessity, scope, beneficiaries, and potential collaborations. Participants were then divided into groups to engage in interactive activities like tree-building which aimed at understanding stakeholders, identifying problems, and brainstorming solutions and policies to flood-related challenges. The workshop delved into the concept of triple-loop learning, prompting participants to reflect on the effectiveness, efficiency, and ethical implications of flood management strategies. The ladder of citizen participation was explored, highlighting the importance of inclusive decision-making and community empowerment.

Participants can be seen brainstorming different ideas and solutions

Given the participants' backgrounds and training in media, social issues, and activism, they were assigned another group activity, drawing from their diverse backgrounds in media, social issues, and activism. They were tasked with designing a comprehensive communication strategy for the flood toolkit. They identified various stakeholders within the affected areas and brainstormed innovative methods to disseminate awareness, leveraging mediums such as videos and WhatsApp messages. Recognizing the influential power of social media, they proposed engaging local YouTube or Instagram influencers to kickstart the campaign, acknowledging the substantial reach and influence these platforms wield, especially among the youth demographic. Moreover, they emphasised the importance of engaging with local self-help groups, NGOs, youth organisations, and religious institutions, such as temples, mosques, and churches, to ensure a multifaceted approach that resonates with diverse audiences across the community. 

The workshop concluded with a feedback session, allowing participants to reflect on the day's activities, insights gained, and actionable next steps. In essence, the workshop served as a catalyst for collective action, empowering communities to tackle flood-related challenges proactively through collaborative dialogues.

         Participants while presenting their views and ideas 

                Wrapping up the session on a smiling note

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