Chikwawa — A Disaster Risk Management project in Chikwawa called DIPECHO IV was launched on Wednesday with the objective to consolidate the strengths made in the past three DIPECHOs in as far as disaster management is concerned.
DIPECHO IV which means Disaster Preparedness on European Commission for Humanitarian Organizations in the district comes after three other projects on the same and under the same name were implemented in the years 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Speaking during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting Wednesday, Vincent Tholo, Project Coordinator for Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) said the project aims at enabling people through the stakeholders to know how to avoid disasters in the district.
The meeting which attracted members of the community aimed at instilling ownership in the people themselves from the areas that are prone to disasters so that they are able to contribute to the solutions to the disasters they encounter.
"This project, DIPECHO IV, is expected to run for six months with an estimated total budget of MK25,000,000 and is expected to reach out to six traditional authorities of Chapananga, Masache, Makhuwira, Katunga, Mulilima as well as Ngowe," he said.
He added that 23,000 households are targeted with seven percent of infants, 22 percent of children between the ages of five and 17, 64 percent of adults from 18 to 49 years and the elderly in the 50s.
"Through DIPECHO IV we expect that there will be an increased access to and use of climate information at community and institutional levels for disaster preparedness, response and adaptation. We also hope for an increased learning and evidence sharing, research evidence and studies, consolidating evidence from past DIPECHO actions, documentation and dissemination," added Tholo.
The past three DIPECHOs according to Tholo focused on early warning systems, disaster risk reduction activities in school, construction of evacuation centers as well as dikes among others which have so far been hailed by communities for their positive impact in reducing disasters.
Charrison Tengatenga, Programme Officer for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilient Livelihoods at Christian Aid urged the communities to develop a good working partnership so that DIPECHO IV which comprises all the past three DIPECHO activities is successful.
"As communities, you need to develop oneness in these issues and that should start from your areas to the district level so that you are able to work on your own even when Christian organizations or EAM is not there to support you," he said.
On his part, Chikwawa District Commissioner, Alex Mdooko asked the communities to develop a spirit of ownership by making sure that the structures given to them are well taken care of.
"Let's remove the spirit that has been in our minds that when an organization comes to our area and leaves an infrastructure there we take it as belonging to the organization hence we don't take a good care of it. It is time we showed a sense of responsibility because those infrastructures are meant for the benefit to our communities," he said.