Hi Vivek and all,
Glad to hear Namati is working on this. The news regarding dam disasters in the past 6 months (in Brazil, Laos, and Myanmar come to mind) has indeed
been quite troubling.
the main thing that stands out to me is: use local reference points to explain project
impacts/technology as much as possible.
For example, rather than simply “the water flow will now be 80 cubic meters/second,” in my experience it is more accessible and empowering if you can relate
it back to the last flood in recent memory of the community, or where on the
land water goes in wet season and compare it to that. Or, when talking about
size (height, width, etc) relate to a known landmark in the area.
As a small anecdote—recently when some government officials
visited our project area and asked during a community consultation “do you know
how many meters the water will rise?” one man answered “no I don’t know that, but
I know that it will go up to that mango tree over there.” While we had shared
both pieces of information during consultations, it was the local reference point
which “clicked” and I think much more meaningful and helpful in terms of him understanding and forming an opinion about the project, its impacts, etc.
I realize this type of approach is hard to capture in a
general document/guidance note for communities, as it depends on localization and project-specific technical understanding, but hopefully it might be
helpful for NGO/CSO actors using such a guidance note in their work with