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UNICEF_BCC_in_emergenciesSouth Asia is a region that is frequently visited by natural disasters - floods, earthquakes, droughts, tsunamis and other natural phenomena. These have resulted
in large scale loss of lives, devastation and humanitarian crises. This tragic reality impels us to be better prepared in disaster and risk communication, an area that has often been neglected in emergencies. Communication preparedness when a disaster strikes allows us to proactively assist as well as mobilise partner agencies, families and communities in mitigating the impact of such natural disaster.

Preparing and responding successfully to emergencies require that evidence-based behaviour change communication strategies become an integral part of emergency preparedness plans and training. Our communication efforts will result in improved health, hygiene, protective and caring practices. It will also lead to positive collective action and informed demand among affected communities for emergency assistance, supplies and services. All these actions are crucial in protecting and promoting the well-being of children, women and their families when a disaster strikes.

Experience has shown that affected members of communities can become effective agents of behaviour change and mobilisers for disaster preparedness and response. We emphasise the participation of adults, children and young people in recovery, relief and rehabilitation as integral to any strategic communication action plan. Participation has proven to promote psychosocial healing and cohesion among affected community members during times of crises. That affected communities are too shocked or helpless to take responsibilities for their own survival and recovery has proven to be a myth. On the contrary, many affected people, especially the children, find healing and strength and are therefore able to return to normalcy faster when they participate in helping others during and after an emergency. This has been proven for example, by the many inspiring stories shared by both children and adults who were affected by natural disasters in 2004
and 2005 like the tsunami that hit India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka, the floods in Bangladesh and India, and the earthquake that hit northern India and Pakistan.

We extend our gratitude to the many partners and colleagues who contributed their time, expertise and experiences into the preparation of this Toolkit. UNICEF ROSA is pleased to share this Toolkit and invites you to use the many resources it makes available to guide you in training staff and partners as well as in planning, implementing and monitoring behaviour change communication that supports hygiene, health and child protection goals in emergency situations in South Asia.