Advocacy and capacity building for disaster risk reduction and preparedness in Ghana - The GFDRR project
Ghana has made major progress on poverty reduction in recent decades and has been elevated to a lower-middle income country. However, climate change and natural disasters constitute a significant development challenge for the country. Furthermore, a north-south poverty divide is exacerbated by climatic stress in the three northern regions where the poorest people increasingly bear the brunt of climate change and disasters. Lower agricultural productivity and flooding only intensify the pressure on the youthful population to migrate in search of better opportunities.
In order to ameliorate the situation, there has been a high-level commitment from government to shift the national agenda from a disaster response approach to disaster prevention and risk reduction approach. The development of the Ghana Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) constitutes a milestone in this process. The Plan, which is articulated per the 5 pillars of the Hyogo Framework for Action, represents a coordinated national framework which guides the interventions of the Government of Ghana with the overall objective of making the country resilient to natural and man-made disasters. It entails policy change, advocacy and awareness creation, substantive investments in infrastructure and the development and implementation of strategies to change systems and prevent disasters from happening.
The Advocacy and Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness in Ghana Project was an 18-month (2015-2016) World Bank funded intervention designed to complement Ghana’s efforts to implement a National Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) within the framework of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005 - 2015), targeting to strengthen national disaster management strategies and institutions. The project was directly implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO).
The intervention focused on advocacy for disaster risk reduction and preparedness at national and regional levels through high-level advocacy as well as operationalization of the regional platforms for disaster risk reduction. Efforts have also entailed strengthening capacities in disaster preparedness and risk reduction of government cadres, particularly those in professional functions at NADMO, other national agencies, regional and local administration, through the design and implementation of a core training curriculum for their staff, and fostering disaster preparedness at national level through national simulation exercises and enhanced coordination with the international community through the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee. These efforts were geared towards making cities more inclusive and resilient in Ghana.
The project aimed to strengthen national disaster management strategies and institutions, and was aligned with and complemented other projects in the field of disaster risk reduction which UNDP supported various government agencies to implement in relation to the Ghana Plan of Action on DRR within the context of the Hyogo Framework for Action.
● Advocate for disaster preparedness and risk reduction at national and regional level through high-level advocacy and operationalization of the regional platforms for disaster risk reduction.
● Strengthen capacities in disaster preparedness and risk reduction of government cadres, particularly those in professional functions at NADMO, other national agencies, regional, provincial and local administration, through the design and implementation of a core training curriculum for their staff.
● Foster disaster preparedness at the national level through national simulation exercises and enhanced coordination with the international community through the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee.
Accomplishments – progress and key achievements
Some of the results achieved by the project include:
● Eighty (80) practitioners have benefited from an innovative short course in Disaster Risk Management designed and implemented in collaboration with the University of Cape Coast to build the capacity of Government practitioners in disaster risk management and ensure its mainstreaming in local level development processes.
● A comprehensive manual on Disaster Risk Management has been produced in collaboration with NADMO and the University of Cape Coast as reference material for practitioners to update their knowledge and facilitate effective mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in policy planning and local level development.
● 1500 copies each of flyers on household safety tips for flood and fire disasters were designed, printed and distributed for raising awareness among vulnerable households in the urban communities, especially those living in areas and situations that make them more prone to these disasters. The materials have been successfully disseminated through adult education programmes in local languages hosted by the Ghana Television.
● 748 stakeholders participated in 7 simulation exercises conducted at national, regional and district levels to improve emergency preparedness and coordination among emergency responders. The exercises strengthened response capacity of emergency operatives and contributed to better understanding of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) concept as a more effective mechanism for facilitating strategic and tactical management of disaster events.
● Communities, particularly those vulnerable to specific risks, have become much more conscious of what they can do to minimize disaster impact on their lives and livelihoods through participating in simulation exercises which increased awareness and understanding of their vulnerability to the hazards they are exposed to. The need to put in place and/or update contingency plans at the national, regional and district levels has also been highlighted through the simulation exercises.
● 215 participants from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Private Sector, the International NGO Forum, professional bodies in the built environment (Engineers, Surveyors, Planners and Architects), and the Media, took part in discussions at 2 high level advocacy events organized in collaboration with NADMO to contribute to the advocacy for inclusivity and better coordination in city planning and mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction in local development plans for more resilient urban communities in Ghana.
The project is funded by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, with a total budget of US $500,000.