By Wallace Chipeta
Thirty-five (35) senior officers from government ministries and departments were Thursday awarded certificates after a successful completion of a two-week training of trainers (ToT) course in disaster and climate-risk management (DRM) in Malawi.
Chief Immigration Officer, Dr. Stern Kita presentedthe certificates on behalf of the Secretary for Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre.
Kita saidhis department made a decision to train senior government officers to create a team of trainers to support DoDMA in its scheduled training programmes.
He explained that the trainers would help facilitate disaster and climate-risk management trainings at national, district and community levels, citing civil protection committees (CPCs) as an example.
“As DoDMA, we have a schedule of trainings targeting different groups. Using the team that has been trained the past two weeks (25th February to 8th March) and the other team to be trained from 18 to 29th March, we will train national, district and community level structures,” he said.
“We hope you (trained officers) will fully be available to undertake those trainings when we call upon you because our department has limited personnel to conduct trainings on its own,” he added.
The chief mitigation officer then assured participants that DoDMA would write their controlling officers to nominate their ministries and departments’ focal or contact persons to improve coordination of disaster and climate-risk management programmes and projects.
The ToT on DRM was jointly conducted by DoDMA and Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC)international facilitators from Bangkok in Thailand.Among them were capacity development specialist, Mr. Avelino Filio Jr, Senior Public Health specialist and Dr. Yvonette Serrano Duque.
According to Filio Jr., DRM is the systematic process of using administrative directives, organizations, and operational skills and capacities to implement strategies, policies and improved coping capacities in order to lessen the adverse impacts of hazards and the possibility of disaster.
It covers interventions in disaster preparedness, prevention, mitigation and,response and recovery.
He then advised graduates to incorporate DRM into their sector goals and objectives to sustain resilience, that is, ‘the ability of a society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner.’
Speaking on behalf of participants, Lilongwe City Council’s deputy director of health, Catherine Kunje said the training offered an opportunity to transform officers from implementing DRM interventions as independent sectors to working as a team.
“We will now do things differently because of the knowledge and skills gained here. Previously, we used to work as independent ministries and departments, now we will work in a coordinated manner,” pledged Kunje.
The trainings are being held within the framework of a four-year Malawi Flood Emergency Recovery Project (MFERP) designed in response to the 2015 floods.
The project is being implemented by different government institutions with financial support from World Bank.
The trainings are conducted to address gaps by building the capacity of disaster risk management stakeholders in government system to effectively coordinate disaster-risk management interventions as well as addressing needs of the affected population and build communities’ resilience and that of the nation at large.
Key topics covered were disaster risk reduction, mitigation, preparedness, resilience,planning, monitoring and evaluation, hazards, vulnerability and post disaster needs assessment.
Others wereMulti-hazards early warning system (EWS), mainstreaming disaster-risk reduction in the development process, training development and management, andapplying successful training techniques.
Trained senior officers were drawn from ministries and departments of Agriculture, Education, Health, Information, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Finance, Gender, HomelandSecurity, Local Government, Departments of Climate Change and Meteorological Services,Nutrition, Forestry, DoDMA and Staff Development Institute.
Besides, ToT for government’s senior technical officers,DoDMA would arrange for another session for academia like Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST),to discuss how they could incorporate DRM issues in their curriculum.-MANA