NDMA Headquarters, Aberdeen, Freetown, March 8th 2023: In a bid to diversify the concept of Disaster Management as a new phenomenon in Sierra Leone, the National Disaster Management Agency organized a one-day symposium to lecture Students offering Disaster Management from the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone to enhance their knowledge in managing disasters generally.
The Social Work students were specifically targeted because they play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of disasters. As victims manage their day-to-day lives and move toward recovery during disasters, these professionals assist with services ranging from counselling for people facing post-traumatic stress, offering unique and life-saving support and helping victims get the immediate and long-term support they need to start rebuilding.
The Internship Coordinator of the Social Work Department Sylvanus Conteh said the symposium on the Topic: “Disaster Management” is aimed at providing his students with the opportunity to understand in-depth, the phases within the disaster management circle, get practical experience, and develop their leadership, programming, and administrative skills sufficient for professional opportunities in the future. Mr Conteh also mentioned that, as graduating students, the symposium will enable them fulfil a major requirement of the university.
“It is mandatory for graduating students to undertake fieldwork to obtain practical experience. This can be done through symposiums like this from professionals outside the classroom or field visits to answer specific research questions. This symposium will also connect course contents, classroom teachings, and practical application.” He added.
NDMA’s Director General, Lit. Gen. (Rtd) Brima Sesay thanked the Department of Sociology and Social Work for granting NDMA the opportunity to host such a professional academic activity. He disclosed that the NDMA has partnerships with Bournemouth University in the UK and Milton Margai Technical University in areas of capacity building, research work etc. He encouraged the students to take disaster management studies very seriously, as they might be fortunate to work for the Agency in the future.
“Our partnership with Bournemouth University in the UK has produced several academic reports, which students and academic researchers can leverage. We also have a partnership with the Milton Margai Technical University to provide us with a land space to construct an Ultra-Modern facility that will include an Emergency Operation Center, a Disaster Management School of Excellence (where students are going to be taught disaster management) and a state-of-the-art office for the NDMA.” He disclosed.
John Vandi Rogers, the Deputy Director General of the NDMA who moderated the interactive sessions, said disaster mitigation measures eliminate or reduce the impacts of hazards through proactive steps taken before a disaster occurs. He said it is against this backdrop that the NDMA has organized this symposium to enhance the student’s understanding of the concept of disaster management and admonished them to devise community-based mitigation strategies to avert hazards being translated into disasters within their communities.
Whilst appreciating the NDMA for the lecture, Moses Fullah, Senior lecturer of the Social Work Department revealed that the department offers Disaster Management as a module, but admit that the various presenters covered all the disaster management topics they’ve been teaching with precision and accuracy.
“We appreciate the NDMA and look forward to a direct partnership in many areas. I must admit that both the theoretical and practical aspects of all the topics we have been teaching were covered by the presenters in a day.” He noted.
Presentations were made by the following NDMA directors; Thomas A. Lebbie, Director of Risk Reduction and Preparedness, Sinneh Mansaray, Director of Relief and Response, Abubakarr Bangura, Director of Research, Monitoring & Evaluation, Soko Kai-Samba, Director of Partnership, Morie Bassie Karteh, Director of Finance and Mohamed Lamrana Bah, Director of Communications.