The Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) is hosting its annual resilience programme for teenage girls as part of the international ‘Women and Girls – an invisible force of resilience’ campaign, focusing specifically on the role of women and girls in disaster readiness and reduction. This year, the team is transferring knowledge, skills and awareness to a group of learners from Belhar Senior Secondary School.

‘This programme is not only about empowerment, but also about acknowledging the important role that women play in the community. To equip women and girls, who are often the most vulnerable in society, with skills and knowledge will enable them to improve the resilience of households and communities against shock events such as disasters. Feedback from recent major incidents in Cape Town suggests that women play a fundamental role in building back better communities,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The programme started on Monday, 27 June 2022 and will conclude on Saturday, 2 July, to be followed by a certificate ceremony a week later.

On day one, learners were introduced to concepts like disaster preparedness and being ambassadors for disaster risk management in the community.

This was followed up with some personal development skills, including effective communication, problem solving, networking, self advocacy and conflict resolution.

The programme also includes:

  • Information session on biodiversity at the Helderberg Nature Reserve, to relay some of the risks associated with climate change
  • Lesson on food security and a practical exercise on starting your own food garden
  • First-aid training
  • Mental health and substance abuse awareness
  • Basic firefighting techniques

In addition to the topics that will be covered during the programme, there will also be a Gender Based Violence element in collaboration with the NGO ‘Fight Back SA’.

The organisation teaches young women how to defend themselves through a specifically tailored self-defence programme.

‘Disaster risk reduction and the implementation of mitigation measures should start at home and is everyone’s responsibility. Women and girls are leaders in their communities and play such a vital role. If we all stay informed and do the necessary planning, we will be better prepared in the event of a real life disaster,’added Alderman Smith.

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