Discussion of vulnerability has been heated in the ﬁeld of disaster studies since a series of large-scale natural calamities caused the death of tens of thousands in the Sumatra Earthquake in 2004, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, the Haiti Earthquake in 2010, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the Nepal Earthquake in 2015, among others. The damage caused by these disasters varies by individual and community, but many people still now cannot restore their previous way of life, being forced to live far away from the peaceful days they would have had if these disasters had not happened. The arguments until now over vulnerability towards speciﬁc risks such as disasters and poverty have mostly focused on factors that increase damage. In most cases, however, vulnerability emerges from the various actors of a society and its structural violence. Also, its implication differs depending on the nature of those risks. Human vulnerability greatly depends on individual capability and the social conditions where those individuals are situated. Therefore, multi-layered understanding based on accumulated case studies is essential. One aim of this feature article is to reconsider the concept of vulnerability through ﬁeld studies on disaster and conﬂict, ethnic discrimination, gender and microcredit. Most causes of failure to protect people from vulnerability are attributed to insufﬁcient policies and defective social systems (UNDP, 2015). It is my hope that this article brings suggestions from the viewpoints of people in the ﬁeld, particularly those facing high vulnerability to changes of living conditions and external shocks, by looking at disaster and conﬂict, discrimination and structural violence as the causes of vulnerability.
This paper examines the process of reconstruction of livelihood and education from the tornado disaster in Brahmanbaria district, Bangladesh. The tornado which occurred on 22nd March 2013 involved the people of three villages in the area. The disaster resulted in 36 deaths, 388 injuries, 2635 completely-destroyed houses and 752 half-destroyed houses. In September 2014, the author visited Brahmanbaria to observe aftermath of the disaster. The ﬁeld research was conducted by observation to the disastrous area, interview to several schools and victims. The research result clearly shows that the victims’ quality of life and education have declined signiﬁcantly in spite of assistance or aid which is mainly cash distribution from many donors such as the government, NGOs and some neighbors. This tendency was remarkable especially to the poor people. Of course, needless to say, such assistance which was distributed from many people to victims saved their initial period of the disaster. However, the tornado attacked not only their houses or buildings but also their agricultural ﬁelds. Those ﬁelds were still dysfunctional as of March, 2014. The victims who have monthly cash income or comparatively wide agricultural land could have a possibility of recovering their livelihood by using or selling their own properties. On the other, the poor victims usually have to subordinate those properties such as agricultural land. Thus, the poor victims have lost their daily labor jobs or any other jobs to maintenance their daily lives due to the lack of opportunities for cash income in the agricultural ﬁelds. The instability of their livelihood has inﬂuenced their children’s education. The study suggests that the above scenarios for victims are in progress in many places within the country. Despite those conditions, there are no inexpensive accident insurance systems as self-resilience systems. In order to empower the victims, such self-resilience systems might be required to complement mutually with other assistance systems.
The objective of this article is to examine relationships between the concept of vulnerability and a popular development approach of microﬁnance that is to provide ﬁnancial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to ordinary banking services. At the outset when the idea of microfinance emerged as a new tool for poverty reduction, there was a common assumption behind the approach that low-income individuals were capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to ﬁnancial services. Since then a lot of studies have been made, and some indicate that microﬁnance can play a role in the battle against poverty while others argue that microﬁnance is not always the appropriate method because it helps accumulating debt rather than ending extreme poverty. This article is to add to those critical studies of microﬁnance with an analysis focusing on farmers’ perception about risks and security rendered by borrowing money. The case studies carried out in 3 villages of Northeast indicate that in Thailand where microﬁnance projects have been implemented by the government bank (BAAC) at the national level throughout the country’s rural areas, a cultural discourse has been developed with ambivalent attitude towards BAAC. Farmers believe that borrowing money from BAAC that is the national bank providing credit for farmers is the only way to secure their vulnerable lives. Because of this perception, farmers are driven to seek more borrowing from BAAC, and by doing so some borrowers paradoxically result in worsening indebtedness. The article reveals behind this farmers’ contradictory attitude towards BAAC a unique social structure of rural Thai society that may be called “dual society” or “two-tiered society” encompassing both traditional rural life and rapidly modernized material life as well as conventional rural value system. In other words, local farmers still do not have enough capacities for market-oriented business skills so that they ﬁnd difﬁculties to make the most of money borrowed. But by the exactly same token, they are subject to keep relationships with BAAC for the sake of being secured. The reason of rapid expansion of microfinance in rural communities in Thailand can be explained by this cultural discourse.
Disasters cause different effects to affected people according to vulnerabilities by gender, age, dis/ability and class. In order to put the concept ‘Build back Better’ into practice, it is indispensable to reduce the vulnerabilities in the society. Post-disaster periods are often perceived as the ‘windows of opportunity’ to change the society. But such changes are rarely examined in empirical studies. In the guiding principles of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, human rights are highlighted as follows; ‘Managing the risk of disasters is aimed at protecting persons and their property, health, livelihood and productive assets, as well as cultural and environmental assets, while promoting and protecting all human rights, including the right to development’. It also emphasizes that disaster risk reduction ‘requires empowerment and inclusive, accessible and non-discriminatory participation, paying special attention to people disproportionately affected by disasters, especially the poorest’. Equal participation, inclusion and human rights are indispensable to disaster risk reduction. This article aims at examining the on-going efforts towards gender equality and social inclusion in the post-earthquake Nepal with special attention to social exclusion as one of the factors of vulnerability. At ﬁrst, the paper reviews existing policies on gender equality and social inclusion in Nepal and constraints to implement them. Such constraints occur due to the absence of the elected representatives in local assemblies. Secondly, the impacts of the earthquake, such as human casualty, property loss, increase of burden to women and violence against women are illustrated. Thirdly, cluster approach, a disaster response system, is explained with special attention to protection cluster and inter-cluster gender working group. Fourthly, the realities of human rights situation in the post-earthquake Nepal and the problems of citizens’ registration are presented. Finally, the paper argues that Rights-Based Approach should be integrated into the reconstruction work in order to achieve genuine ‘Build Back Better’.
Many conﬂicts after the World War II, the Peace Agreements brought big inﬂuence on the policy and condition of peace building and they always have been the milestone of the post-cconflict society. Minority Society which don't have enough political power, often have the disadvantage or vulnerability on the implementation and sustainablity of the Peace Agreements. The vulnerability of Peace Agreements is looked through with the example of Bangladesh, Chittagong Hill Tracts conﬂict. Finally, analyse the points like, the selection of negotiators, the transparency of process, the third party mediation and think how we can empower the implementation and sustainability of Peace Agreements.
This article discusses historical and political causes of the conﬂict in the southern provinces of Thailand known as “Deep South”, where the Malay Muslims have been ﬁghting for secession from Thailand. The violence that has been ongoing since 2004 has resulted in more than 6,500 victims, but received a very little attention from the international community. Among several attempts for a peace dialogue in the region, I would like to focus on some recent developments concerning the ofﬁcial peace dialogue process during the Yingluck administration and the current Prayut administration. In order to ensure a successful peace dialogue and its effectiveness, I argue that civil society has an important role to play. Based on ﬁeld research conducted in 2015, this article reports on the current state of the civil society in the region and its vulnerability. Civil society organizations （CSO） has the potential to bring people's voice to a peace dialogue and make a positive inﬂuence on the national policy, but those in “Deep South” are fragmented and in disagreement with one another, making capacity building and awareness raising critical to promoting a dialogue as a solution to the conﬂict. I suggest that bottom-up peace-building activities including support for local CSOs will contribute to achieving sustainable, enduring peace in the region, while the process itself should also be long-term. Lastly, the role of the international community is discussed as that of an interested third party playing a key role in trust-building between conﬂicting parties at the multi-track level.
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of the support mechanisms for orphan’s schooling at secondary education in Malawi by analyzing the trends of orphan’s assistance in sub-Saharan Africa. In Malawi, NGOs and government actively provide scholarship programs for vulnerable children including orphans at secondary school. Above all, the support of NGOs, which is more extensive than the governmental one, focuses on orphan’s empowerment and support of post-secondary education. In this case, it is characteristic that a close relationship is built up between orphans and NGO’s staffs so that orphans feel at ease in their lives. On the other hand, such NGOs generally tend to aid female orphans and the orphans from targeted communities. As a result, the equal opportunity to receive educational support cannot be guaranteed among orphans at school level. In this regard, it would be necessary to harmonize the support provided by different organizations within the support mechanisms for orphan’s schooling.