Friday, October 4, 2013

African universities reach out to local disaster managers

Andy McElroy in the UNISDR news archive: A leading academic has called on universities to engage more with vulnerable communities and to empower local disaster managers in their efforts to address various daunting challenges.

Dr. Mateugue Diack, of the University of Gaston Berger, in Saint-Louis, Senegal, highlighted a new Master's programme aimed at "training vulnerable people in vulnerable situations" as a case in point of what more universities should be doing.

"Disaster risk reduction is everyone's business and risk management is about reaching objectives of saving lives and critical infrastructure. What our university is trying to do is to reach out beyond academia and engage with those decision makers on the ground and to help them in their work," he said.

Dr. Diack outlined how the new Master's programme would help local disaster managers conceptualize the risk that their communities face, including from economic, geographic, anthropological, and climate change aspects.  The course would also focus on the importance of communication. "We need to help people engage better with vulnerable communities and for these leaders to work with local populations in exploring problems through listening and explanation," Dr. Diack said....

A community meeting in Senegal, shot by DFID - UK Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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