South African communities have been hammered by a number of major catastrophes in the recent past and less extensive incidents have also become more common. All have had devastating effects on the most vulnerable and on the economy. The very nature of these disasters is that they are unexpected and so, are often unplanned for.
A group of faith-based organizations, which have been at the forefront and collaborated in response to calamities in the Western Cape, Tshwane and KZN, will be holding a two-day conference on 20 and 21 September 2022, at Lewende Woord Hoofgemeente/Living Word Main in Brummeria, Pretoria.
One of the organisers, Ronel Rademeyer of locally-based Funanani Trust, explained: “This will be a peer-to-peer learning and sharing space to discuss the role of the Church and faith-based organisations in disaster relief. NGOs and churches have been amazing in the way they have stepped up to help, network and share expertise and resources when catastrophes have struck. We want to work towards greater preparedness and greater effectiveness when the next disaster strikes (which it will).”
Ronel said the conference is the first of its kind in Tshwane. Participants will workshop on how to prepare churches, NGOs, volunteers, donors and communities to respond effectively with their skills and resources and through networking and building on trust. The conference aims to unpack the implementation of standard operating procedures in line with the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 and the local Disaster Management Joint Operations Centre (JOC). Other areas of discussion will be faith-based organizations and churches as safe spaces during and after incidents, shelter care, and building resilient communities. After the conference, working with local communities, training and consultations will be initiated to empower those communities to develop localized preparedness and response plans. This will include early warning systems, hazard identification and mobilization of volunteers and resources.
Ronel invited church and community leaders, volunteers, civic organizations, NGOs, professionals and business persons to attend, network and learn together. Registration is essential for logistical purposes. She can be contacted on email@example.com or 0826776166.
“We have facilitators and speakers from around the country who will share their real life experiences and lessons learned. We believe that we can be far stronger to meet the challenges disasters bring when we work together.”
Members of the KZN Response team were among first responders during the KZN floods in April/May.