Bangladesh flood relief Project

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After making a donation to assist ActionAid’s Haiti Aid Relief campaign in 2010, Ramboll have decided to continue their support. This year the Ramboll Group and its Foundation of Trustees have donated nearly £30,000 directly to the charity for its new flood relief project.

ActionAid Bangladesh has developed a project with the main aim of improving the immediate and long-term living conditions of people affected by flooding in Tala Upazila, by providing durable flood resilient shelters.

Ramboll is supporting the design and construction of 25 flood relief shelters for 25 households which consist of 125 marginalised people in the Dalit Balia Rishi Para community. They are considered as lower cast in the Hindu community due to their religious ethnicity.
The project has been set up and is being managed voluntarily by myself Elliott Connolly and Nicholas O’Brien, from Ramboll’s London office.  Ramboll’s UK Charity Task Group is providing the funding which is supporting our direct involvement.  This includes the recent visit to the Dalit Balia Rishi Para community, and designing the shelters in a way which makes them culturally acceptable, cost-effective, sustainable and above all, efficient.

Following a start-up week in Bangladesh, attending numerous meetings with ActionAid project managers, implementing partners, NGOs and government representatives, we are now progressing well with the project. A key part of the trip involved visiting the planned site and participating in a consultation and brainstorming session with the community which gave us insights into their way of life, and what they would require and also want from the shelter design. This allowed us to then establish how best to work together with ActionAid to come up with the most effective solution; a design which provides the community with not only a home but also an efficient shelter capable of withstanding the monsoon season.

Following the construction of a pilot shelter towards the end of February, we shall return to Bangladesh. Here we will help to begin and manage the building process, so that all 25 shelters are constructed before the monsoon season begins and the floods start to develop.

It’s great to know that our work will positively affect a whole community, not only will the living standards for the villagers improve but, potentially, lives will also be saved.
More information on ActionAid can be found here (http://www.actionaid.org.uk/100002/about_us.html).

Elliot Connolly is a Graduate Structural engineer in the London office.