HFH Malawi steers Communities in Disaster Preparedness

Habitat for Humanity Malawi, through the ‘Strengthening All-Inclusive Disaster Preparedness and Linking Early Warning to Early Action’ project in Ndirande Makata Ward Blantyre, is enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to prepare for and respond to disasters.

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Ndauzani Butao, a resident of Ndirande Makata Ward and also a secretary for the ward Disaster Risk Management Committee, where the project is being implemented, highlighted how her community is deeply entrenched in the challenges of environmental degradation and vulnerability to natural disasters.
Fortunately, Butao and her community found a relief through project’s intervention which is building community capacity and systems to help them in preparing and responding to disasters. As Butao narrated, through project-facilitated training sessions together with her community gained invaluable knowledge and skills essential for disaster risk management.

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“We learnt various methods on how to plan and prevent future disasters (contingency planning), how to share early warning messages, as well as we were also trained in first aid, search, and rescue techniques. Through this project, we have been capacitated to proactively mitigate risks and save lives,” she said.

She further believes that active engagement and participation have been crucial in addressing environmental degradation and enhancing disaster resilience. Among other things, she emphasizes the importance of investing in training for effective disaster preparedness and response. This investment will help to prevent disaster-related shocks in her community and beyond.

She added there is a need to embrace sustainable practices and advocate for policy support and institutional collaboration to foster resilient communities and sustainable development.

She proclaimed: “As a member of our community, I urge everyone and Blantyre City Council officials to continue supporting initiatives like the project that Habitat for Humanity Malawi and its partners are implementing in our community. Through this project we have seen tangible improvements in Ndirande Makata Ward such as an enhancement of the main drainage systems.”

Furthermore, the project has also facilitated the development of community-driven action and contingency plans, serving as a blueprint for disaster prevention and management.

Habitat for Humanity Malawi is implementing the project in Mzuzu, Zomba and Blantyre City councils with financial support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).