The good news is that there is hope. Agencies such as Concern are already implementing practical solutions that seek to combat the ravages of climate change. At a micro level Concern is working with coastal communities to ensure that they can be better prepared for disasters.
In Freetown for example, Concern’s disaster risk reduction work has centred on strengthening and supporting the Community Disaster Management Committees (CDMCs), the local level government structures responsible for disaster risk reduction and emergency response. It helped organize the CDMCs into an umbrella group, Community Disaster Management and Emergency Response Team (CODMERT), a community based organisation that coordinates and provides additional support to individual CDMCs.
The work of CDMCs and CODMERT have focused mainly on awareness raising activities and changing local level behaviours in order to reduce risk. They use a participatory approach to assess the risk context and as a means of engaging residents in behavioural change. They run campaigns focused on safe practices, including those to help reduce the risks of fire, flood, cholera, landslides, and some of the other major hazards within Freetown. They also respond to emergencies when they arise, such as the 2012 cholera outbreak, the 2014 Ebola outbreak and the current landslides.
Another Concern initiative aimed at supporting coastal communities is the Paribartan project implemented in Bangladesh. The project works with communities along the coasts of the Bay of Bengal to increase their resilience to the effects of climate change and coastal flooding. In collaboration with local communities, a number of successful models that address climate change have been implemented. They include the following: a composite agriculture model, a rain-water harvesting model, homestead gardening, poly-bed cultivation and energy-efficient stoves.