NDMA Headquarters, Aberdeen, Freetown, December 20th, 2023 – In a proactive move to expand the understanding of Disaster Management in Sierra Leone, the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) hosted a day’s engagement which focused on enlightening students studying Disaster Management in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone.
The students have a pivotal role in mitigating the repercussions of disasters. Tasked with aiding victims in navigating the aftermath of disasters, these professionals provide essential services, including counselling for post-traumatic stress, life-saving support, and facilitating access to immediate and long-term assistance for rebuilding.
NDMA’s Director of Communications, Mohammed L. Bah, emphasized the symposium’s goal of providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the phases of disaster management. “The initiative sought to offer practical experience, foster leadership skills, and enhance programming and administrative capabilities”, he informed. Mr. Bah also highlighted the mandatory nature of such experiences for graduating students, fulfilling a key university requirement.
Deputy Director General of NDMA, John Vandi Rogers, delivered an overview of the agency’s responsibilities, emphasizing the Agency’s role in coordinating disaster preparedness and response efforts.
The DDG underscored the significance of collaborating with stakeholders within the disaster sector to formulate strategies, issue early warnings, and efficiently manage disasters during emergencies. Mr. Rogers further explained that disaster mitigation measures, taken before disasters occur, play a crucial role in reducing the impact of hazards.
The symposium’s purpose was to deepen the students’ comprehension of disaster management concepts and encourage them to devise community-based mitigation strategies.
Expressing gratitude for the lecture, Programme Coordinator and Senior Lecturer of Social Work Department, Moses Fullah, acknowledged the alignment between the symposium’s content and the department’s teachings, expressing anticipation for a direct partnership with NDMA in various areas.
Paul S. Conteh, who currently lectures Disaster Management at the department, thanked the NDMA for always providing technical and practical experience to final-year students. He emphasized the crucial role of the engagement, noting that the event would help the students gain practical knowledge in all stages of disaster management.
The engagement featured presentations from NDMA directors including Thomas A. Lebbie, Director of Risk Reduction and Preparedness; Ronald Turay, Senior Disaster Officer of Relief and Response; Agnes Farma, Deputy Director of Research, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation; Morie Bassie Karteh, Director of Finance; and Mohamed Lamrana Bah, Director of Communications.
The collaboration between NDMA and the Sociology and Social Work Department has enriched students’ understanding and also fostered potential partnerships for future endeavours in disaster management.
The event served as a bridge between theoretical teachings and practical applications, ensuring a holistic educational experience for aspiring Social Work and disaster management professionals.