Training of Trainers: MSS and UNDP Workshop on Building Disaster-Resilient Homes

04 Oct 2013

imageWorkshop participants study a prototype of disaster-resistant housing construction. Photo: Agung Hermawan

Dili –Constructing disaster-resilient homes protects communities from the destructive forces of the climate-induced disasters often experienced throughout Timor-Leste. Establishing a network of knowledgeable men and women able to build and to train others to build safer, disaster-resilient housing helps more people protect themselves, their families and their communities. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

These were the goals of Construction of Disaster-Resilient Housing, a training of trainers workshop designed to empower a cadre of technical and non-technical men and women with the skills, knowledge, resources and facilities to build disaster-resilient housing and to pass these skills on to others. 

"Such trainings are very useful. The frequency and length of these workshops should be increased and they should be conducted regularly at local levels”, said Mr. Vidal Eurico da Silva, Chief of the Emergency Department, National Directorate for Disaster Management (NDMD) of MSS. “Disaster-affected home owners and local building workers also need to receive simplified guides and hands-on training on how best to use the construction materials that they receive from MSS-NDMD so they can improve construction on their homes."

The workshop (September 23-26) was hosted by the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MSS) with support from UNDP as part of their joint project to strengthen capacities for disaster risk management (DRM). Key partners included the Secretary of State for Promotion and Employment (SEFOPE), the National Institute for Labour Force Development (INDMO), the Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) and the Chamber of commerce (CCI). The training team was comprised of members from the Dili Institute of Technology, Don Bosco, Sanai, Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste and Tibar each of which provided content for the construction portions of the workshop.

Women can play a key role in promoting safe construction among communities and professional groups when given an equal opportunity to participate. Of the workshop’s 70 participants, fifteen were women.

Communities all over Timor-Leste are at risk from the impacts of disasters. Around 80 per cent of the country’s population has already experienced the effects of a disaster in their lifetime. The country’s location and vulnerability to cyclic climatic events means that every year people suffer from localized events including floods, landslides, strong winds and prolonged dry seasons. Timor-Leste is also prone to earthquakes and tsunamis which could significantly affect the lives of people and have an enormous impact on economic and social infrastructure.

MSS’s partnership with UNDP to strengthen disaster risk management builds the capacity of vulnerable communities and the Government of Timor-Leste to manage disasters and reduce the risks from climate change at both the national and district levels.