ODPEM Partners With CARIMAC To Promote Disaster Resilience

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), through the Building Disaster Resilient Community (BDRC) project, has partnered with the Caribbean Institute of Media And Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies in an effort to promote disaster resilience in Jamaica.

The BDRC is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the goal of ensuring long-term hazard prevention by strengthening communities’ ability to respond proactively to natural and manmade disasters. The three-year BDRC project was launched in 2008 and is being implemented in 29 communities which were selected based on their susceptibility to certain natural disasters. The Director General of the ODPEM Mr. Ronald Jackson noted that “Engaging communities and promoting the principles of Comprehensive Disaster Management requires sustained and effective communication. Meeting the communication demands of the BDRC project will require partnerships with communications practitioners.”

The partnership with CARIMAC is to assist the BDRC by allowing final year students of the Communication Analysis and Planning II (CAP 2) course to do their class projects on the BDRC. CAP 2 is designed to offer participants the opportunity to formulate a feasible development support communication project and to implement the project. According to the course coordinator, Dr. Livingston White, “At the UWI, we like to give our students opportunities to practice what they learn in the classroom and the partnership with ODPEM will do just that.”

Of the 29 BDRC communities, the students selected the three communities of Swift River in Portland; Gregory Park in St Catherine; and New River in St Elizabeth – areas which usually experience significant flooding during heavy rainfall.

In these communities, the students will implement various communication support activities geared towards helping individuals with the communication aspect of their emergency response; promoting disaster resilience among students through their curriculum; and creating messages encouraging participation in BDRC training activities.

The BDRC hopes to replicate these communication activities based on their successful implementation in the three pilot communities.

ODPEM has the unique role of being the only government agency to provide disaster management functions in Jamaica.

CARIMAC is a department of the University of the West Indies which provides training and education programmes in media and communication.

Contact: Kimberley Weller, Information Officer kweller@odpem.org.jm