Pacific Resilience Course Building Disaster-Resilient Communities
In October 2020, with the world in the grip of the COVID-19 academic, Anglican Alliance started up an ambitious online training course about disaster preparedness. It was called “the Resilience Course”. Sessions were run in four different time zones and in multiple languages, enabling participation by Anglican Churches around the world.
The 2020-2021 course was so successful that a second course was organised in 2022, just for Pacific people. The course is being led by Anglican Missions New Zealand and the Diocese of Polynesia, with support from ABM AID, Episcopal Relief and Development and other members of Anglican Alliance.
Karen Chute-Delaivoni, the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia’s Humanitarian and Development Aid Project Manager, facilitates the Pacific course. She is based in Suva. She says:
This course is also a learning platform for me especially when I hear of the varying contexts and challenges people face. Disasters come in all forms which can either be man-made and/or natural that are exacerbated by the different types of hazards that exist in communities. We hear of trauma, vulnerable members in society, equitable structures and approaches, climate change impacts… [and many other terms]. All these terms are inter-connected when we talk about disaster preparedness, resilience, or adaptation…
I believe we all have to start somewhere, and I think we all can build on what we have learnt together to seek out more innovative and sustainable ways of dealing and preparing for disasters to help create resilient communities while trusting in God to help us through.
Since July 2022, participants from Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, PNG, Australia, and New Zealand have studied and discussed the following aspects of disaster preparedness:
- Mapping hazards, capacity and assets at community-level.
- Prioritizing People with Disability and other Marginalized groups
- Planning Disaster preparedness training at community-level.
- Safeguarding women and children in Humanitarian Response
- Mental Health for Staff and the Community
- Climate Resilience
There will inevitably be many more disasters across the Pacific in coming years, including floods, droughts, volcanoes, earthquakes and cyclones. The Pacific Resilience course is helping Anglicans to prepare their churches and communities for these disasters.