Activity site for Red Cross Seychelles community resilience ... , Mahe, Seychelles © MFF Seychelles, 2012
This project aims to address the need of improving local awareness about disaster risk management and reduction. Its primary objective is to strengthen community resilience through a disaster risk reduction approach at community level in the districts of Roche Caiman, Anse Boileau and Ile Perseverance.
The project recognizes that disaster risk reduction, beyond an emergency response to natural disasters, is a management response that increases a community's resilience, or its ability to cope with a changing environment. The Red Cross Society of Seychelles (RCSS), the project implementer, is the national society mandated to mobilize citizens and communities for disaster risk reduction activities.
The project encourages a multi-stakeholder participatory approach by bringing national, district, and local community stakeholders together. For example, the Ministry of Local Government provide supports as the meeting facilitator between district authorities and residents in communities. The country's Department of Risk and Disaster Management (DRDM) participates in the project by providing national data for project analysis, as well as in overseeing the VCA for all three districts. The results of the project, in particular the community VCA, will directly contribute to DRDM's national data and assist in national implementation of its activities.
One of the key outputs of the project is a community-led Vulnerability and Capacity Assessments (VCA), the results of which are used in drafting disaster risk reduction plans in the three districts. Recently, a VCA training module was developed and used in a training for RCSS volunteers and district community leaders.
Based on the preliminary findings of the VCA, the respective district authorities have drafted a preliminary disaster risk reduction plan for their communities. The district of Anse Boileau identified itself as the pilot implementation site for food and water security activities, such as home gardening. The district of Roche Caiman chose to carry out coastal area restoration activities, such as coastal clean-ups and tree planting. The district of Ile Perseverance selected disaster response and preparedness activities, such as designating evacuation points and carrying out first aid training for residents. Through their respective action plans, the districts are understanding the connection between a well-managed ecosystem and a well-informed disaster risk reduction response.
Challenges: The time framed for implementing the activities was not achieved due to the unforeseen disaster which hit the country in January 2013. This event has obliged the Red Cross to halt project work by at least a quarter of its implementation plan and extend the project further. One other challenge is the availability of the community leaders to participate in meeting and activities. This has also created a set back on the activity timeframe together with that of the availability of the volunteers. However challenging this situation was, it created opportunities for the Red Cross volunteers to use the learnings from the project training on the filed with flood victims in the non-project sites. The trained volunteers in VCA were given the fresh opportunity to use acquired knowledge and skills in a real life scenarios in the three mostly affected communities on Mahe and on La Digue islands when the tropical storm Felling hit the Seychelles in January. The victims really appreciated the ‘professionalism’ with which the volunteers addressed the problems and provided much relief to them. This reflected an unexpected (additional) output from the project.
Another opportunity from the project is that the Ministry of Education Seychelles have acknowledged the Red Cross efforts in DRR and looking for the opportunity for the Red Cross to partner with them to implement DRR activities at school level.
Communication: The inception workshop was carried out at the initial stage of the project and other meetings have been held with stakeholders (wild life clubs of Seychelles, Ministry of agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of local Government, DRDM etc), Project leaders, Community members and volunteers. The RCSS also produced some education materials, flyers, circulated to relevant stakeholders, banner used at project sites as well as the production of a VRA curriculum. A Articles were published in newspaper and in Red Cross newsletter which contributed to further awareness of community members and raised national interest in the project.
Gender: This project has achieved a lot in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment with evidence base on the amount of women participating in the activity. 70% of the Red Cross volunteers who participated in the activities were woman and 30 % man. 60 % of the youth volunteers were girls between 12 and 20 years old and 40 % were boys. They all had equal opportunities and access to project resources and activities on the field. Community beneficiaries and participation were between 60 % to 40% women and man respectively.
Climate change and DRR consideration remained the major focus of this project resulting in:
VCA Training days and its implementation as well as first aid training
Conducting sensitisation sessions and production of education materials related to coastal rehabilitation, food security, disaster preparedness and response and personal safety with the community
Devising draft action plan following VCA analysis, while establishing mechanism for community participation based on disaster risk reduction and creating the understanding of the value of ecosystems in DRR in the field which led to coastal ecosystem restoration activity
Anse Boileau, Roche Caiman, Ile Perseverance - Mahe, Seychelles
1st Jul 2012 to 31st Oct 2013
" I learned that the Red Cross is donating plants to the community for a climate change project... I am very happy to have been selected in my community because as a person who really need the assistance and also because I am a pensioner and I think that it will be a benefit not only for me but also for my family and neighbors. I would like the plants that I will not need to look after every day even if it will take a long time to produce. But I will accept whatever I received because it has been given with good faith"
Pensioner lady in Anse Boileau District, Mahe
"The teachers, students and parents in our school is very appreciate of the Red Cross trainings and assistance to our new school. We intend to keep the contact so we can have more of such training on other important DRR fields. Please do come back and do not abandon us, we need your support to keep our school safe and our people secured from any potential disasters around us. Thank you again."
Head of School
Ile Perseverance Primary School, Mahe.