FAO in Sierra Leone

Preparing communities to respond to disaster in Sierra Leone

Members of the disaster management committees from the three district in the training session (Photo: © FAO/ KeifaJaward)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Office of National Security (ONS) has trained District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs) onStrengthening preparedness and planning for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in agriculture in Bo, Bonthe and Pujehun districts’.

The training was held from 15 to 19 May 2017 in the Njala University Campus in Mokonde, and it is part of FAO’s flood response through the project, Emergency agricultural support to flood-affected households in Bo, Bonthe and Pujehun districts. It aimed to initiate the planning process for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), focusing on agriculture sector, with potential to applying the same methodology to other economic sectors.

The training brought together representatives of local councils, paramount chiefs, security sector, agriculture officials, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the media, who are mostly members of the disaster management committees in the three districts.

Officially opening the session, the FAO Representative in Sierra Leone, Nyabenyi Tipo told participants that the Organization places premium on disaster response by including, “Increase the resilience of livelihoods from disasters” in its priority objectives.

Tipo explained that FAO is helping countries govern risks and crises, watch to safeguard, prevent and mitigate risks, and support countries’ preparation and response. “The Organization has many other good economic practices in the field, and most of them are aligned with country priorities as shown in our Country Programming Framework”, she added.

The Deputy Director, Disaster Risk Reduction in the Office of National Security, Nabieu Kamara acknowledged that the country has a minimal capacity to manage disaster due to low finance and logistics.

He therefore commended the training to be timely and very relevant for the communities. “The gains in disaster risk reduction are enormous and greater than its responses”, he said.

The Representative of the District Councils and Chairman of Bo District Council, Joseph Munda Bindi stated that disaster management responsibilities are been delegated to local councils, but they do not have the required resources to execute such function. “Our experience from the September 2015 floods made us realize that both the central and local governments were not prepared enough to handle disaster”, he lamented.

Other representatives from the various sectors, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) , acknowledged the relevance of the training.

As part of its recovery response, FAO in partnership with MAFFS, in the 2016 planting season distributed farming inputs and other starter kits to 1,781 households that were affected by the flash floods.

At the end of the training, participants were familiarized with the main Disaster Risk Reduction and Management terms and concepts; gained new knowledge and examples of institutional Disaster Risk Management system arrangements; conducted participatory vulnerability assessment based on their districts; assessed hazard impacts and vulnerability of agriculture sector in the three districts; defined status of preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation capacities of the District Disaster Management Committees in the districts;  and initiated development of Disaster Risk Management Plans of Action for the three districts.


Keifa Jaward 

Communication Consultant, FAO Sierra Leone 

[email protected]