Adopting a more proactive approach to disaster rather than a reactive one seems to be the message that was re-echoed when Oxfam in Ghana with partners and other national institutions including National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and District Assemblies from the three northern regions gathered for a five day training on Participatory Capacity and Vulnerability Assessment/ Vulnerability Risk Assessment PCVA/ VRA in Upper East regional capital Bolgatanga.
The Country Director of Oxfam in Ghana Sebastian Tiah reiterated the need for Ghana as a country to be more interested in putting down measures to reduce disasters to its barest minimum instead of focussing on responding to disasters.
The PCVA / VRA tool kit is an Oxfam initiative aimed at equipping partners and relevant stakeholders with knowledge and skills to facilitate participatory risk and vulnerability analysis and pre vulnerability risk assessment to identify and develop risk reduction strategies to minimize impact of disasters.
The training offered a practical experience through community interactions within the Garu Tempane District of the Upper East Region. Participants indicated the importance of the field work after the theoretical aspect.
“I realised how important it is to improvise when necessary and use situations and examples in the community to bring out the right meaning of the assessment we are doing”; one of our national partners attested.
For the people of Bianboog, one of the communities we visited disaster is the last thing they hope to experience, but the leaders and traditional authorities could not hide their joy for enlightening them on hazards they are exposed to through the VRA exercise.
The three communities which benefitted from the PCVA and VRA field work are places that Oxfam in Ghana is already implementing its climate adaptation project (ELCAP) and the exercise therefore came in handy to support partners build the resilience of the rural communities for improved livelihoods.
“One essential thing I have picked from this training is how we often ignore the impact of disasters on women. This training has helped me to understand the need to involve women in designing and implementing development plans, emergency response and long-term risk reduction;” another participant remarked.
“The training workshop entails much of my work which is very much needed at this time. It has broaden my knowledge on DRR( Disaster Risk Reduction) and hope to incorporate what I have learnt here in our medium and long term plan at the district level”, Grace Nkaw, Garu Tempane District NADMO Coordinator.
The three northern regions have over the years been hit with various forms of disasters and the community experience will enable Oxfam and partners to analyse the hazards identified to inform support needed in the communities we work.
Naana Nkansah Agyekum, Media and Communications Officer Oxfam in Ghana
This post was originally posted on 8.8.14 at http://www.oxfamblogs.org/westafrica/?p=2803.
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