Communities on Simbo Island, Western Province were introduced to a series of trainings and activities to be undertaken over the next three years in the area of disaster vulnerability reduction Initiatives.

The first consultation visits took place from the 9th to 13th of this month and was facilitated by the Solomon Islands Development Trust(SIDT), with the support of Solomon Islands Red Cross office in Western Province. Main communities from Lengana, Tapurai, Nusa Simbo and Riguru were involved in the consultation.

These consultations is part of the Coping Community Project. The project is managed by SIDT and is implemented jointly with other stakeholders such as the National Disaster Management Office(NDMO), Red Cross, Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Western Provincial Government and Simbo communities.

The aim is to build community resilience to reduce vulnerability and preparation to response when disaster happens. It also works to promote traditional knowledge on hazards and coping during disaster.

SIDT believes there is a need for complementary development and training initiatives to engender a behavioural shift at a community, household and individual level toward greater self reliance, stronger, more effective coping strategies and reduced vulnerability and risk.

The Western Provincial government during the consultation was very supportive of this work. Deputy Provincial Secretary, Jonathan Bana told SIDT during the visit that the project is timely.

"I encourage stake holders that are working in the Western province to work closely in this program," he added.

He said after the 2007 earth quake and tsunami, the people of Simbo and other villages that are most affected are still living in fear.

"The need for awareness is very important and we are happy to work closely with you during the three year program" says Mr. Bana.

"After the 2007 Tsunami, we had only one Japanese volunteer who came and taught the school children about tsunami. We all needed these important information as it is important for our lives. We need more information about how to deal with volcano and so forth," said Esther Lodu a woman leader from Riguru village.

Information about disaster relating to Tsunami and volcano is very much needed and with the assistance of other stakeholders, this activity will help many people of Simbo Island to understand how natural disasters could be dealt with.

The Project Coping communities is a three year project funded by NZAid and was supported by Foundation for the People of the South Pacific. It also has an Advisory Committee (PAC) formed on the 19th of February.

SIDT is working with other stakeholders and the Simbo communities to implement this program.

The Simbo Island has an active volcano and was affected by the Tsunami activities in 2007.

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