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Working in all levels for better disaster risk reduction initiatives

Indonesia, October 11, 2010

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This Wednesday — October 13 — is International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. It's a day to focus on disaster preparedness and resilience. And since there are few places in the world that have been recently stricken by natural disaster as much as Indonesia, we've been working hard on Disaster Risk Reduction strategy and programs.

Ever since Mercy Corps’ Awareness Campaign and Government Capacity Building (ACGC) Program started in May 2010, it has been engaging closely with all levels of government and society in program activities. Having a local non-governmental organization, Jamari Sakato, involved has proven to be a valuable partnership to the ACGC program and Mercy Corps West Sumatra as a whole.

Prior to this current program, the Public-Private Partnership for Disaster Management (P3DM) had already formed some disaster preparedness teams, which worked on the village level in Padang Pariaman and Pesisir Selatan. Taking this prior experience and lessons learned, the ACGC program has formed three disaster preparedness teams in Padang Pariaman Regency, Pesisir Selatan Regency and Padang City.

In addition, the ACGC program has also worked with several district-level disaster management boards. In addition, the Provincial Disaster Management Board is also engaged with ACGC.

"Mercy Corps could never achieve anything without the support of its stakeholders," said Sean Granville-Ross, Mercy Corps Indonesia Country Director. "These will include the community and the government of all levels. We always do the bottom-up and top-bottom approaches in each of our programs to ensure program sustainability and maximum impact.”

One example of bringing these diverse stakeholders together is the Integrating Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment (VCA) Results in Regional Development Planning of West Sumatra Province, which took place on September 29. Prior to this event, ACGC programs had conducted three VCAs in Padang Pariaman, Pesisir Selatan and Padang City.

The workshop is now being conducted at the provincial level, and stakeholders at the regional level are discussing the VCA results in their area, as well as looking for ways to include them on the regional development plans for the West Sumatra Province. This planning will help the province, which has hard-hit by last year's earthquake, better prepare for future natural disasters.

Mercy Corps Indonesia believes that mainstreaming the disaster risk reduction activities in the government’s budget will have a great impact to vulnerable communities.