Samoa has launched its first Braille-translated Disaster Risk Management Awareness Materials and Booklets funded under the New Zealand Government – NEMA DRM Project.
A total of 200 (100 Samoan & 100 English) braille-translated Disaster Risk Management booklets for the benefit of People’s with Disabilities in particular the blind or visually impaired community; were officially launched on Monday 19th June, 2023.
A milestone and an accomplishment that reflects the government of Samoa’s commitment in achieving its global and local obligations around Disaster Risk Management.
“The initiative ensures inclusiveness – the Whole of Society approach, strongly emphasising the concept that ‘No One is Left Behind’ in all phases of Disaster Risk Management..
“The design and development of these braille translated Disaster Risk Management awareness booklets costed a SAT $33,500.00, generously funded by the NZ Government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) DRM Project/Programme monitored by the MNRE as the Implementing Agency..
“The NZ NEMA DRM Project is a six-year project which commenced in 2019 until 2024 with the ultimate goal to strengthen Disaster Risk Management across risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery in targeted Pacific Island Countries to include Samoa..
The Disaster Management Office (DMO) of the MNRE worked in close collaboration with Nuanua o le Alofa (NOLA) & the Samoa Blind Persons Association to bring this initiative into fruition.
The booklets have been produced and made available for ease of access and reference by the blind community.
All braille equipment was procured from the Blind People’s Association as the only agency qualified to provide the specifications for the booklets.
An MNRE statement confirms disasters are becoming frequent and sadly, people with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable in disasters or hazards.
“Unfortunately there is a lack of disaster-related information and resources available to increase their awareness of the potential risks they are exposed to..
“For this reason, an initiative to translate the existing disaster risk management awareness materials into braille, to support the visually impaired community, providing measures that would build their capacity and enhance their preparedness abilities to respond to the most extreme disasters that Samoa is prone to.”
“The booklets contain basic information on ‘What to Do’ in the event of disasters such as tropical cyclones, river floods, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and fire, translated both in Samoan and English..
“Having these braille booklets developed is a significant achievement for Samoa where the blind persons and visually impaired will, for the first time be able to read these DRM awareness materials to enhance their resilience and preparations in response to disasters & emergencies.”
The booklets were handed over to the Samoa Blind People’s Association through NOLA for educational purposes and for dissemination to the blind community.
“This milestone achievement further reaffirms Samoa’s commitment to contribute positively towards the realization of regional and international goals under various international commitments.
“The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the 2015 Paris Agreement for Climate Change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific 2017-2030 and importantly the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 which Samoa has ratified.”
“It is with high hopes that this work is replicated to other priority sectoral activities in Samoa.”
The keynote address was delivered by the Acting Chief Executive Officer Moafanua Tolusina Afuvai Pouli on behalf of the Ministry (MNRE) and remarks on behalf of the NZ Government by Deputy High Commissioner, Lavea’i Ioane.
Tiaena Herbert Bell on behalf of the Blind Person’s Association was given the honour to address few remarks to thank the government and to acknowledge the NZ Government for the financial support to bring this initiative to fruition.
SOURCE: Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Samoa
Photos: Government of Samoa.