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Jamaica Disaster Management Project - responding to relief and aid needs

Jamaica Disaster Management project The Disaster Management Project in Jamaica involves volunteering with the St Elizabeth Parish Council Disaster Coordinator. The project is open to volunteers taking a gap year, career break, or even a volunteer holiday. You do not need any specific experience to volunteer on this project; however you are expected to have a strong interest in the field of disaster management and a real desire to help the individuals and communities affected by disasters.

This project would be particularly suitable to any volunteers with geography, physical planning, international development, urban planning, disaster management, environmental science or psychology backgrounds. The project would also be appropriate for anyone wanting to gain experience or those already with training, in the fields of international development, aid and relief work, or those looking to work in charity or governmental sectors.

Disaster Management Volunteering in Jamaica

Volunteer on the Disaster Management project Disasters whether natural or manmade can severely set back the development of a country. The country can be negatively affected in terms of its economic, physical and social infrastructures. While many disasters cannot be prevented, planning how to effectively respond if they occur is increasingly important. The effects especially on the development of poorer countries such as Jamaica and its poorer members of society can be particularly devastating.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management agency (ODPEM) is the agency in Jamaica responsible for disaster management. The agency coordinates regional coordinators who work with parish disaster coordinators from the local government to plan for, mitigate and respond to all types of disasters. Volunteers can be particularly useful in this field as the lack of enough personnel in this area affects the extent to which the country can be prepared in the event of a disaster.

The Disaster Management Project designs programmes that address individual and community resilience to disasters especially amongst the most vulnerable sectors of society; this includes children, women, the elderly and the disabled. The project also focuses on helping farmers and fishermen who are often severely affected by disasters.

Your Role on the Disaster Management Project in Jamaica

The Disaster Management Project is located in St. Elizabeth, forty five minutes from Mandeville. Volunteers are needed to help with educating communities, schools and the business sector about disaster management. Volunteers will provide support to the local staff in a variety of areas depending on your interests and will actively participate in improving disaster management in St. Elizabeth. Volunteers work with the parish disaster coordinator to undertake a number of tasks including:

  • Public education awareness campaigns to foster a culture of respect for the environment
  • Making public education programmes on disaster management
  • Helping to train students, teachers, business people, community groups, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), farmers and fishermen in basic disaster management
  • Developing evacuation plans and planning/coordinating drills and evacuation strategies
  • Conducting research and mapping
  • Planning and coordinating workshops and exhibitions in communities to build awareness
  • Developing and implementing basic mitigation projects such as community drain cleaning days or basic repair to homes for the poor and helping communities to prepare psychologically to deal with the effects of a disasters

Volunteers will live with local host families in St Elizabeth.

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