Department of Environmental Sciences
Geography / Urban and Regional Studies
Klingelbergstrasse 27
CH-4056 Basel

+41 (0)61 207 36 44

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Overall concept





Environmental change and related disasters proceed at an alarming rate while practical approaches to respond to these issues do not. This applied research project draws attention to local initiatives to better handle the impact of disaster, to train for and obtain resilience to deal with the next disaster. The project is about poor people, farmers, fishermen and women and their livelihood strategies, but also about local NGOs and their creativity, commitment and initiatives in coping with disaster, about how they secure resources, how they choose to invest, how knowledge is being used and how investments are being made in common efforts to sustain livelihoods. The project is also about young Swiss researchers being trained in India by local NGOs to acquire local knowledge through field-based research embedded in NGO work and related community networks. As such, the project is as much about local capacity building from a viewpoint of learning from local people and local NGOs as it is about the capacity building of the new Swiss professional generation. The project adopts an adaptive resource management approach that focuses on Action Research and Policy Change in Development. Tentatively, eight research projects are being carried out.

Funded by the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries of the Swiss Academy of Sciences and the Swiss Development Corporation, and research funds from the University of Basel. The studies relate to:

I. Livelihood security strategies in the informal/unorganized sector of disaster affected areas

  • Impact of climate change on livelihoods of the poor among disaster victims in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu (Silja Ramseier)
  • Disaster recovery of small businesses in India's informal sector: difficulties and chances (Esther Gloor)
  • Business strategies of micro enterprises in disaster affected areas of Gujarat, India 2008. A study based on a pilot survey of micro enterprises organized in a Chamber of Commerce for Industry and Small Scale Businesses, as measured against a control group of micro enterprises not organized (Master's thesis Nadezhda Sliwa)

II. Mitigating disaster impact - effectiveness, problems and potentials of selected technical approaches

  • Setting up an emergency response guideline for local organizations (Christoph Schlumpf)
  • The flood of 2005 compared to the flood of 2007 in two communities of Kheda and Bhuj (Daniel Rufener)

III. Microcredit impact and effectiveness in security livelihoods. Analyses of recipients' data, problems and potentials in selected disaster impact areas

  • The impact of AIDMI's microinsurance scheme Afat Vimo in disaster-affected areas. Case studies from Gujarat (Claudia Wipf)
  • The impact of AIDMI's microcredit schemes - case studies about beneficiaries in Bhuj, Ahmedabad and Kheda (Basil Gilliéron)

IV. Different responses to disaster and adaptability of disaster mitigation strategies in different disaster impact areas - a synthesis. Analyses of the differential adaptation to disaster in earthquake, flood areas and urban riot affected communities

  • Micro Insurance and the Interface between Insurers and Insured Households – an Analysis of the Afat Vimo Partner-Agent Model of Micro Insurance in Gujarat, India  (Doctoral thesis Claudia Saalfrank, M.A.)