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Who are Pioneers of Disaster Preparedness? - Insights from Rainwater Harvesting Dissemination in Bangladesh

Samaddar, Subhajyoti, Okada, Norio, Jiang, Xinyu, Tatano, Hirokazu
Environmental management 2018 v.62 no.3 pp. 474-488
arsenic, cognition, disaster preparedness, education, income, issues and policy, risk, social networks, threshold models, water harvesting, water salinity, Bangladesh
This study deals with the roles of pioneers or early adopters in a rainwater harvesting technology dissemination process in arsenic and water salinity affected communities in coastal Bangladesh. The dissemination of such innovative technologies has long been advocated for making disaster resilient communities, but how to disseminate these innovations has rarely been addressed, except heuristic studies limited to analyzing the cognitive factors of preparedness. We argue that identifying and characterizing pioneer adopters is critical to promote innovative disaster preventive technologies. Because pioneers take the risk to adopt at a time when only limited information of the innovation is available, and, based on their firsthand experience, other members can make prudent adoption decisions. By using the social network threshold model, we show that just as there are adopters at the macro or regional level, there are adopters at the micro or local level, and they have the most critical roles, as catalysts to disseminate disaster preventive technologies among the population. We also argue that cosmopolitaness and level of education characterize the pioneers better, rather than their income, risk awareness, and other personal features. Some policy options related to the findings are also discussed.