I. Livelihood security strategies in the informal sector of disaster affected areas
1. Impact of Climate Change on Livelihoods of the Poor Among Disaster Victims in Coastal Areas of Tamil Nadu
Climate change heavily affects India. India's poverty, in turn, makes the country more vulnerable to the changing climatic patterns because poverty reduces capacities to deal with the impact of climate change. This study focuses on the impact of climate change on livelihoods of the poor and the long-term impact such as reduced agricultural production. Also, it focuses on adaptation to the changing climate at the micro-level of the household - its awareness of climate change and strategies to reduce vulnerability.
- Do poor people know anything about climate change?
- Have they already developed response mechanisms to enhance their resilience to climate change?
To collect data, two districts of Tamil Nadu were visited. In Cuddalore a fishermen and an agricultural community were surveyed in a Focus Group Discussion by applying participatory tools such as the problem tree of the Participatory Risk Appraisal (PRA). In Nagapattinam three agricultural communities were visited to view organic farming in the context of the changing climate. Besides documenting the impact, awareness about climate change and strategies of the communities visited, the study gave a recommendation for community-based adaptation to climate change.
2. Disaster Recovery of Small Businesses in India's Informal Sector: Difficulties and Chances
This paper is about disaster recovery of small businesses in the informal sector of India. It is an empirical study based on a survey among 40 owners of small businesses in Kheda/Gujarat (flood-affected), Bhuj/Gujarat (earthquake-affected) and Ahmedabad/Gujarat (riot-affected). These business owners were interviewed by the aid of a questionnaire. The survey centred around three main questions: What factors contribute to facilitating disaster recovery of small businesses? Are there differences in disaster recovery among small businesses affected by different disasters, namely floods, riots and earthquakes? Did measures designed to build up livelihoods contribute to disaster resilience of small businesses?
Distinct differences in disaster recovery exist among businesses that had experienced different disasters and that had received aid from the Livelihood Relief Fund, and those businesses which had not received such funds. Riot-affected businesses take longer to recover from a disaster, whereas small businesses affected by earthquakes or floods recover faster. Given the rather small sample, however, these findings were interpreted in a qualitative rather than in a quantitative way.
3. 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
Funded by the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries of the Swiss Academy of Sciences and the Swiss Development Corporation, research funds from the University of Basel and the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft of Basel.
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. Funded by the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, research funds from the University of Basel and the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft of Basel. In cooperation with All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI), Ahmedabad, India.
Micro enterprises must constantly adapt their business strategies to remain viable or become competitive. Organizing micro enterprises can serve to build up resilience. The objective of the study is to analyze business strategies of micro enterprises in disaster affected areas of Gujarat, India as exemplified by the members of the Chamber of Commerce for Industry and Small Scale Businesses (CCISB) set up by All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) of Ahmedabad, India and a control group of non-members. Key questions are:
- How do micro enterprises manage their businesses?
- How do they handle credit, savings and investment?
- What impact do external shocks have on their livelihoods?
- What adaptive capacities exist in the micro enterprise sector?
- What factors define success or failure of micro enterprises?
- How can organizing the unorganized sector improve business, investment, credit and saving practices?
The main emphases of this study, then, are both on business strategies of micro enterprises in the informal sector and institution-building for the organization of the informal sector in India. Analyses are based on: (1) a pilot survey of 300 micro enterprises in four different urban and rural disaster areas of Gujarat, India, (2) individual case studies, (3) expert interviews with representatives of governmental, non-governmental and international organizations.
The pilot survey of 200 enterprises which are organized in the Chamber of Commerce for Small Industries and Businesses and a control group of 100 micro enterprises which are not organized this way was carried out in October of 2008 in different disaster areas of Gujarat. Results from this study assessing business strategies of micro enterprises with respect to formalizing this sector are expected to be transferrable not only to an all Indian context, but to other developing countries as well where micro enterprises need to be strengthened.
The research project was part of an ongoing cooperation between the University of Basel, Switzerland and All India Disaster Mitigation Institute.
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