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Participatory planning for disasters
in Kiribati

The Visualization in Participatory Planning (VIPP) process was adopted for a workshop held in Kiribati from 7 – 9 November 2011 to prepare for emergencies that include pandemic influenza, dengue and other natural disasters. The workshop also adopted World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to develop a plan for emergency preparedness and management in an inclusive, participatory manner.

During the workshop, participants presented updates on emergency preparedness and identified the basic principles of behaviour-change communication in the context of emergencies. They also addressed the problems and bottle necks anticipated to occur during emergencies.

A “participation analysis” exercise was conducted for the communities that the workshop participants need to involve in emergency management and brainstormed on messages for the public and ways of engaging communities. This work led to the drafting of an emergency preparedness and management plan.

Given the lack of suitable venues, the workshop was held along one spacious corridor of the Newerewere Hospital. The open space could accommodate 20 participants. The Hospital’s administrative offices were located on both sides of the corridor. Staff based at these offices moved around the participants very quietly thereby helping to ensure that the workshop process proceeded with a minimum of disruptions.

Staff from Kiribati’s government departments, NGOs, the media and Unicef took part in the workshop. It was facilitated by two Unicef experts: Vika Wardi from the Fiji office, and Nuzhat Shahzadi who is based in Kiribati.

The contingency plan developed during the workshop included strategies and action for risk communication. It covered community outreach, mass media campaigns and the development and pre-positioning of information-education-communication (IEC) materials to support on-going activities of the various health-promotion teams, national disaster management office, pandemic task forces, UN agencies and other concerned stakeholders.

VIPP methods used during the workshop include energizers, card-collections, group discussions, questions-and-answers, plenary discussions, and visualized presentations. An episode of Meena, an animated film, entitled “Meena’s Three Wishes” on the theme of safe water, sanitation and hand-washing was screened to trigger discussions.

The entertainment-education (edutainment) approach demonstrated in Meena was readily accepted as a means to reach out to the communities, especially children and young people. The participants contributed ideas to develop Kiribati-specific radio programmes using Meena characters to help prevent and manage outbreaks of H5N1, H1N1 and diarrhoea, as well as occurrences of drought and other natural disasters.

VIPP cards were used throughout the workshop.
 
Group work on emergency preparedness.
 
As there was a lack of wall spaces to hang our charts we used the pillars along the corridors as “boards” to hang our charts.
 
This corridor fronting the Hospital’s offices served as our workshop venue,
 
The workshop was conducted in a relaxed and informal spirit encouraging some participants to attend with bare feet – a very sensible move given the hot and humid climate.
 
The welcoming spirit of the workshop also encouraged some participants to wear flowers in their hair. Participants in this picture present updates on emergency preparedness.
 
Lively presentations kept everyone engaged.
 
A participant proposes the plan for containing dengue outbreaks.
 
Meena, the video, premiers in The Pacific!
 
Nuzhat Shahzadi with Kiribati’s Minister of Health and Minister of Environment.
 
 
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