Trincity, Tacarigua, T&T , October 13, 2011- Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management - Children are agents of change and according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, they “have the right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.” It is in this vein that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) is pleased to join the United Nations today, in commemorating International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2011, the theme of which is Step Up for Disaster Risk Reduction: young people as partners in disaster risk reduction.
The theme for this year’s event is extremely relevant as it encourages children to play a greater role in disaster risk reduction strategies. This day and theme further aim to:
- Let the world know that children and youth are partners in reducing disaster risk;
- Promote more partnerships with children and young people in disaster risk reduction;
- Connect and build bridges and understanding among young people.
The ODPM recognises the important role of the youth in disaster risk reduction and it is for this reason that we continue to implement strategies geared toward the youth and aimed at increasing their involvement in disaster risk reduction. Some of these are the National Primary Schools Disaster Risk Reduction Quiz; the Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop for Teachers; education and outreach sessions with schools and youth-based organisations; the use of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube; youth-focused public service announcements (PSAs) and the upcoming projects Youth in Disaster initiative and Film Project for Youth.
We, at the ODPM, firmly believe that children possess immense creativity and energy, and naturally have the will to make a positive difference. Moreover, if children are provided with the resources and opportunity to take action, they will become the catalysts of simple yet effective strategies to make their homes safer and create resilient communities.
To echo the words of a Sri Lankan youth at the 2011 Global Platform for Disaster Reduction, “children of today will be parents of tomorrow which ensures that they pass the knowledge to their children and this will make disaster preparedness a societal practice which will keep on passing from generation to generation.” The ODPM looks forward with anticipation for greater involvement of children and youth as they step up to disaster risk reduction and thus, build a culture of safety and resilience in our twin island republic.
The ODPM will conduct additional public education and outreach sessions today from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the following malls:-
- Northern Atrium, Trincity Mall
- Long Circular Mall
- Gulf City Mall