Nsanje district communities roll out PASSA awareness initiative

Nsanje: Communities in Nsanje have started rolling out Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) aimed at raising awareness of the ‘everyday vulnerable’ of the ‘everyday risks’ related to their built environment.

PASSA is a process where communities participate in the identification of shelter related problems existing in the community so as to find ways of reducing impacts of natural and manmade disasters.

This training comes after Malawi Red Cross Society trained over 110 Community Based Disaster Response Team (CBDRRT) members in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Ndamela through a project dubbed Enhancing Resilience in Malawi with funding from Humanitarian Aid (European Commission) and Technical Assistance from Belgium Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross and Danish Red Cross.

Mary Kamba, who is one of the CBDRRT members on PASSA in an interview Wednesday, said time had come to initiate change in their respective areas by imparting knowledge on the negative impact of unsafe shelter in disaster prone areas like in the area of TA Ndamela.

As everyone is aware that our area of Traditional Authority Ndamela is prone to disasters more importantly water flooding and strong winds. These disasters have always wrecked havoc and could not spare our houses. So, after being trained on PASSA, we went back to the communities and formed PASSA groups.

These PASSA groups will assist us in raising awareness so that everyone in the community should be able to gauge if their house is safe or not, she said.

Kamba added that currently 15 PASSA groups comprising of 10 members each group are being trained to ensure that they have acquired the needed knowledge.

Nsanje Malawi Red Cross Society District Coordinator, Patricia Gadi said the intervention will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges people in the area of TA Ndamela have been encountering.

She said shelter and settlement risks and vulnerabilities were on the increase due to changes in disaster trends, the impact of climate change, as well as growing social and economic marginalization and urbanization in most of the districts including Nsanje.

Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness is crucial in empowering communities to identify safe shelter related problems existing in their communities in case of natural and manmade disasters.

It is our hope that the rolling out of the PASSA in the area of traditional authority Ndamela will surely increase awareness of community members on safe shelter construction, community mapping of hazards related to shelter as it provide communities with tools for improving their living environments, offering a step-by-step method for building safer houses, Gadi explained.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA