Fostering Community Preparedness to Cope with Drought: new initiatives and results from a study involving ODL and ICT from South Central India
Drought has emerged as a key concern in the context of climate variability induced by Climate Change processes and over a billion people are vulnerable, according to UN estimates. Drought preparedness is recognized as the preferred way to cope over relief, and information is the key. Improved access to contemporary ICT in the form of mobile phones and the Internet can help address the challenge of information deficiency in this matter. We have tried to develop an integrated approach for improving the capacity of rural communities by bringing together agricultural information with methods of ODL and effective exchange or delivery using videoconferencing. This has also enabled skill building among vulnerable rural communities in the use of color-coded maps derived from satellite imagery and GIS platforms. ICRISAT in partnership with a community based all- women micro-credit organization, the Adarsha Mahila Samaikhya (AMS), in South Central India has developed this blend of techniques to help the AMS and rural communities to anticipate how vulnerable their villages would be to drought in a season. This is an ongoing partnership, and we report here on joint studies carried out during March 2008-September 2009.