DRR, WASH and Shelter Project Opening Workshop in Gaua

Mrs Ketty Napwatt, Secretary General of Torba Province

The French Red Cross and Vanuatu Red Cross Society launched a new Disaster Risk Reduction, Wash and Shelter Project in Torba and Malampa.

On Tuesday 9h of February, the French Red Cross (FRC), in close partnership with the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) launched its new Disaster Risk Reduction Project entitled “Supporting Community Planning” (SCP) in Gaua. This 3-year project is the third phase of the SCP global program that has been implemented in Vanuatu since 2012. It aims at improving the living conditions of inhabitants of remote communities in Torba and Malampa Provinces in a sustainable manner by strengthening their resilience to natural disaster risks through the implementation of an integrated program. The three main objectives are to train or strengthen the Community Disaster Committees (CDCs) in disaster risk reduction and emergency response in partnership with the Natural Disaster Management Office (NDMO); to meet the selected communities’ needs in terms of access to drinking water; and to improve evacuation centers and evacuation roads in selected communities.

CDC Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of 10 communities came over to participate in the one-day workshop along with VRCS representatives, headmasters of primary and secondary schools, and officials. The Secretary General and the Provincial Disaster Officer of Torba Province, Mrs Ketty Napwatt and Mr Fisher Young Dinh, and the Area Council Secretary of Gaua Mr Barry Wobur were present (see picture).  They clarified the structures of Disaster Risk Management actors at all levels; they shared duties and tasks of each position in order to avoid misunderstanding and to clarify the hierarchic and functional links between actors; and finally they explained the communication means and levels for a better coordination.

Linda Arukelana, FRC/VRCS Awareness Support Officer and Community Representative signing MoU

After a presentation of the project based on the results from the baseline survey, the participants were divided into several groups, with each group representing 1 actor (CDCs, Provincial Disaster Council, Area Council Secretary, and Provincial Disaster Officer) to provide ideas on the expectations they had from each other, and on their respective roles and responsibilities. These expectations were then confronted to what is in place and happening, and roles and responsibilities of Disaster Risk Reduction actors in Vanuatu were recalled.

At the end of the day, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the FRC/VRCS and each community, which was represented by the CDC chairman. This agreement “establishes the rules of cooperation” between the Red Cross and the communities to reach their common goal: to build disaster resilient populations. The second Opening Workshop will take place in Malekula in early April with FRC/VRCS actors, representatives of local authorities and of each CDC.