When we think about disaster risk reduction (DRR) it sometimes resonates with policy, technical skills and higher level planning. But, with technology on our side and residents who are proactive, community-based DRR can be strengthened via formal education, practical exercises and multi-sectoral collaboration.
In San Ignacio and Santa Elena Towns, Belize, I have had the opportunity to build local capacity among residents (adults and children). These residents want to engage in disaster risk assessment and develop helpful tools to better prepare our Twin Towns for extreme weather under the Flood Risk Reduction Project by the Pan American Development Foundation. Using KoBoToolbox, Galen University students, town officials and children leaders from the Child Advisory Board, under the Sustainable Child Friendly Municipalities were able to conduct field surveys and plot risk and resources in the Twin Towns to develop the first ever StoryMap for our municipality. With training workshops, Mapathons and a vision to become a more resilient community, our residents and government officials continue to assess ways to mitigate impacts of flooding and continue to safeguard lives.
November has brought torrential rains with up to 35 inches of rains as a result of Hurricane Eta and then Hurricane Iota through Central America, but our town has been able to activate emergency plans to lessen the impact on our business community downtown and residents have evacuated as necessary to higher grounds. The task to continue to build resilience in my hometown continues to be a monumental one, but not insurmountable given our residents’ (both adults and children) high engagement in community-based disaster risk reduction initiatives.
- Community-level Disaster Risk Reduction Measures in the Twin Towns in Belize March 5, 2021
- National Consultations on Emergency Preparedness in the Caribbean May 30, 2020
- Supporting Relevant Learning Experiences January 7, 2017
- Engaging Stakeholders in Academia October 5, 2015
- Building Resilient Communities through Tourism Stakeholders October 5, 2015