Garowe, Tuesday 08: Under the multi-partner implemented Danwadaag initiative, MAP successfully hosted a TownHall event (December 4th) and a media dialogue forum (December 5th) in Gardho city in collaboration with Free Press Unlimited (FPU).
The Town-hall featured more than 60 participants, including the Governor of the Karkaar region, the Mayor of Gardho, Municipality councilors, Women activists, a PYAN-led youth group, Seniors, MAP secretariate, University students, and Members of the mainstream media. The goal of the Town-hall was to promote civic engagement, raise public awareness, and address constituent needs before, during, and after crises, emergencies, and disasters.
MAP chair, Mohamed Dahir in his welcome remarks thanked Mayor Gardho-Abdulkadir Saciid and Karkaar Gov. Abdi Saed for accepting to attend the event and the participants for making time to take part in the forum.
He gave a brief overview of the background of the Danwadaag initiative and the objective of the town hall.
” Through capacity building, we have been enhancing the skills of local journalists to be capable of executing their duty towards DRM, which is why many of us, including the government, have complimented the media coverage of the recent floods….
He stated, “Today, through this event, MAP intends to give the community a platform that allows their voice to be heard by directly interacting with their elected leaders about how to change ways emergencies/crises and tragedies are addressed….
He added in his conclusion, “It also enables municipal officials to communicate with their constituents. The primary goal of this gathering is to explore strategies for resolving current issues and avoiding new ones, remarked Mohamed Dahir.
Both the Governor and the Mayor commended the MAP Town Hall idea, as well as the better performance of the media outlets during the recent Gardho floods. The mayor compared media coverage following floods in 2020 and 2022, highlighting significant media advancements.
Local government representatives declared their commitment to averting future crises/disasters whilst still applying past lessons learned for future improvements while speaking to their constituents in the Town Hall and online via the event’s live broadcasts.
The event offered the general public a platform to interact with their elected leaders about catastrophe risk reduction and to ask questions or obtain further information.
The inadequacies in the government’s reaction to disasters were shown using the recent floods in Gardho, while suggestions and observations were stated regarding how the government, local communities, and the media would collaborate more effectively before, during, and after calamities.
An important discussion point came when a member of the audience suggested to the mayor of Gardho that the construction of any kind of structure be made forbidden on lands near canals and water streams. Such developments are said to be one of the numerous factors contributing to the city’s severe flooding.
The Mayor responded to the request by formally stating that as of this time, his administration deems new buildings placed on water streams to be unlawful.
Although the authorities do not currently have a plan to demolish the existing structures, forbidding new development in the future will certainly assist to solve the problem. Authorities hailed women for their tenacious efforts, particularly for their assistance of the victims of the recent floods.
One of the main issues raised during the Townhall discussions was the lack of coordination between the government institutions involved in Puntland Disaster risk management, as well as the absence of effective DRM policies and a well-planned collaboration between the government, community, and media.
Participants also pointed out that there are hardly any pre-disaster efforts. The present DRM initiatives were implemented after the disaster.
Journalists, media executives, and the MAP secretariat attended the media dialogue forum on December 5, which was held separately from the Townhall. It was intended to discuss the challenges reporters face in carrying out their duties as well as the role the media has played in disaster preparedness and response, coverage, and recovery.
Reporters’ lack of access to government DRM information, particularly before disasters, and a lack of coordination among media outlets’ DRM methods were among the topics brought up throughout the conversations.
The discussion also highlighted the critical places affected by disasters/crises, as well as a strategy for deploying media teams to create news items chronicling the aftermath, including the gaps that remain.
DANWADAAG is intended to increase local government’s ability and create an environment in which they can deliver substantial comprehensive interventions and disaster risk management services. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi is funding DANWADAAG, which will run from January 1, 2021, to March 31, 2025.