Uplifting communities & strengthening capacity to face disasters

21/02/2012 – Ampara, Sri Lanka: The Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction (IDRR) program intends to build the capacity not only of community but also the stakeholders including government agencies and its officials.

Mr. S.S. Partheepan 32 years old with 11 years of service experience as  a Grama Niladhari (Village Headman) was the  Grama Niladhari (GN) of Thandiyadi Grama Niladhari Division (TK/10C) of Thirukkovil Divisional Secretariat Division of Ampara District during the implementation of IDRR Program in Thandiyadi GN Division. He was an officer who has actively been participating in the implementing this programme.  Mr. Partheepan has won the 1st Place out of 22 GN Divisions in Thirukkovil DS Division, 1st Place out of 503 GN Divisions in Ampara District and 6th place in entire Sri Lanka (out of 14016 GN Divisions) in the “Grama Niladhari Management Competetion-2009/10”.

Mr. Partheepan explained how he has achieved such great heights; “…There were four assessment criteria in the competition; 1) office arrangement;  2) Duties and responsibilities carried out under law and order; 3) Development & innovative activities carried out ; 4) Other activities.  I got full marks for development & innovative activities ahead of others because of the disaster preparedness activities carried out in Thandiyadi thanks to Red Cross Movement and IDRR project…”.

Mr. Partheepan further explained how disaster preparedness of Thandiyadi caught the attention of panel of judges. “…Thandiyadi has a well prepared disaster preparedness plan.  It is different from others. This plan was prepared by the community. Entire community was grouped into five small household groups (SHGs). Each SHG has a disaster preparedness plan.  Community plans made by triangulating SHG level DP plans. The evaluatin panel saw the novelty and effectiveness of the process…”. 

It was not only the disaster preparedness plan that got Mr Partheepan in the center of attention.

“… Thandiyadi Village Disaster Management Committee (VDMC) maintains an emergency tool kit that includes First Aid Kits and Search & Rescue kits provided by IDRR project. I felt that evaluation panel has taken this as very innovative as photograph of the kit is displayed in the booklet of the competition as well as displayed it in the  Government Exhibition “Deyata Kirula” in Anuradhapura 2012. Also, the photographs and contact details of all individual volunteers trained in First Aid, Search & Rescue, Water and Sanitation,  and VDMC members  are displayed in my office room. This was also a novel approach. The evaluation panel was very happy in these preparedness arrangements…” Partheepan expressed.

As a result of this competition, Mr. Partheepan got an opportunity to attend a Seminar on “Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  from 2nd to 25th February 2012. There, he has prepared a development proposal based on a issue identified in DRR plan of Thandiyadi Village which was also praised by the seminar organizing committee.

“…Before Red Cross came into the village, there was no such disaster preparedness.  The community based participatory planning is something new to me as well for the development planning process. The Red Cross way changed my MIND. My attitudes have been completely transformed. This process unveiled my strengths and developed skills. Moreover, now I know that I am innovative.  Now I am transferred to another GN division. I will do the same with new GN division. I have already initiated a village development plan based on the format of DP plan format.  I will facilitate to  change this community, too. I expect Red Cross will continue to support my effort …” says a happy Government Agent.

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