Women empowered on Christian perspective of disaster resilience

MORE than 500 women from Lauru and Tungavalu regions of the United Church Solomon Islands have been empowered on the Christian perspective of disaster resilience, disability inclusion and how churches can collaborate together to build strong  resilience in the face of disasters.

The women have attended the weeklong inter-regional women’s rally in Honiara organized by the United Church of Solomon Islands hosted in Honiara from 25th – 29th September 2023.

Church Agencies Network for Disaster Operations (CANDO ) jointly facilitated an awareness talks with People With Disability Solomon Islands (PWDSI) and Reverend Superintend Leslie Vedoko of the United Church Honiara Circuit.

Mr. Lionel Dau, CANDO Program Coordinator, Ms. Naomi Tai, the DRR project Officer of PWDSI and Rev Vedoko presented an awareness talk on Theology of Disaster Resilience in a Changing Climate (TDRCC) and Disability Inclusion in the Disaster Risk Reduction space.

The primary objectives of disaster resilience from a Christian perspective are to strengthen, empower, and enable individuals and communities to build and maintain communities of sustainability and resilience in the face of disasters.

In his opening remarks Mr. Dau said, the vision of church disaster network is to coordinate and collaborate together to enhance community resilience to disaster and conflict.

 “As churches, we are first responders to any disasters, therefore by using our church networks we must coordinate and collaborate together to build strength towards resilient communities and fight against negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters to serve our people in times of disasters and conflict.” Dau said.

Superintend Vedoko speaks on the parable of the great Banquet from Luke 14: 15-24.

He said the story showed the biblical foundation of the theological principle of inclusion and its relevance to disaster risk management.

He adds that the study ensures the inclusion of everyone, leaving no one behind in disaster preparedness and response planning in churches and communities.

 “Give opportunities and equal participations for vulnerable groups especially people living with disabilities in all planning, decision making both at the community and the church level to support disaster preparedness and response effort plans.” Dau said.

Rev Vedoko concluded by encouraging women to provide hospitality and value everyone to be part of the house of God by involving everyone in planning and decision making in all church programs and activities and to be part of the Christian community.

“Go back to your homes and self-reflect on us to find out how our communities and churches can apply this principle of inclusion to help our actions to serve our people.”

“The more we continue to practice this, the more we grow in our discipleship as true disciples and followers of Christ,” Rev Vedoko said.

Ms. Tai highlighted the importance of being inclusive with people living with disabilities.

“People living with disabilities are likely to be one of the most vulnerable groups in our communities when disaster strikes.

“Disaster preparedness and response must be centered on being inclusive driven, designed locally to meet appropriate humanitarian standard of people living with disabilities, and for caregivers to support them wherever possible.

“Therefore, as Christians we are equal in the eyes of God and we are all human beings and as Christ followers we must serve, reach out and look out for vulnerable people, give them opportunities to participate equally and moreover to be part of the Christian community,” Naomi said.

The program concluded with a hand over of cash token of appreciation from CANDO by Coordinator Dau to support the women fellowship groups towards their church programs and activities.

In Solomon Islands, CANDO is supported by the Australian Government and is an Australian Government initiative through Disaster READY program under the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP).

Disaster READY is focused on ensuring disaster preparedness is localized and led by relevant local and national stakeholders by working to ensure that disaster preparedness and management is inclusive of all within a community, including women, children and people living with disabilities, involving them in preparedness activities so their specific needs are understood and accounted for.



Discover more from Theislandsun

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading