Musaia Town, Dembelia Musaia Chiefdom, Falaba District, Thursday 30th November 2023 – The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), commenced the formation and training of Chiefdom Disaster Management Committees (CDMCs) across ten (10) chiefdoms within the Falaba District.
This initiative is in alignment with NDMA’s core mandate under Part V (5) of the National Disaster Management Act, 2020, which emphasizes the establishment of committees at national, regional, district, and chiefdom levels for efficient disaster prevention and management throughout Sierra Leone.
Each CDMC comprises a diverse membership of stakeholders, including the Paramount Chief as chairman, the NDMA Chiefdom Coordinator as Secretary, representatives from various sectors such as healthcare, security (RSLAF Company Commander, Police Officer-in-Charge, Office of National Security), Chiefdom Security Coordinator, Chiefdom Youth Chairman, District Council-appointed Councillor, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, and a representative from a Civil Society Organization specializing in disaster management and environmental issues.
The training sessions held in Falaba garnered active participation from a wide spectrum of community members, including Paramount Chiefs, the District Council Chairman, Okada Riders, Market Women, Youth Groups, Teachers, Traditional Leaders, Women’s Leaders, and others. Funded by the UNDP, this training is part of NDMA’s ongoing commitment to empowering vulnerable communities, enabling them to conduct risk assessments, hazard profiling, contingency planning, early warning systems, vulnerability assessments, and effective risk communication within their chiefdoms.
The overarching goal of this initiative is to bolster the capacity of the Chiefdom Disaster Management Committees, fostering community resilience and ultimately reducing the occurrence of natural disasters and similar emergencies within the respective chiefdoms. The NDMA is set to establish and train CDMCs in all ten (10) chiefdoms within the Falaba District. This includes Dalmandugu, Folosaba Kamba, Nyedu, Sulima, Dembelia Musaia, Neiya, Mongo, Morifundu, Dembelia Sinkunia, and Kamadugu Yiraia Chiefdoms.
Director of Risk Reduction & Preparedness at NDMA, Thomas A. Lebbie, emphasized the critical nature of the training, highlighting the importance of self-awareness in disaster management. Director Lebbie noted: “Risk knowledge in disaster management is pivotal; it empowers individuals and communities to implement preventive and mitigation measures tailored to their specific vulnerabilities.”
Speaking on behalf of the agency, Principal Risk Officer Margaret Kumba Kamara expressed gratitude for the collaborative partnership between NDMA and UNDP, emphasizing the meticulous selection process of the participating chiefdoms by senior staff from both organizations.
The Chairman of Timba Association Falaba District, Umaru Jawara, a member of the Falaba CDMC, stressed the urgency of supporting government policies on climate change and disaster management. He highlighted the detrimental effects of deforestation, bush burning, and other human-induced activities, underscoring NDMA’s swift response and risk reduction awareness in mitigating the impacts of disasters within the constituency.
Paramount Chief Maga Sorie Konko Jawara Il of Dembelia Musaia Chiefdom expressed satisfaction with the training while advocating for further support and training sessions to equip the community for effective hazard management and accurate information dissemination.
The commitment demonstrated by the NDMA, bolstered by the collaborative efforts with the UNDP, underscores a proactive approach towards building resilient communities equipped to combat natural disasters and similar emergencies, laying the foundation for a safer and more prepared Falaba District.