Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

28 new PEER Master Instructors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan certified

The Regional Master Instructors’ Workshop (MIW) concluded on November 30, 2018, has certified total 28 master instructors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.  These master instructors are senior instructors of the PEER courses – Medical First Responder (MFR), Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR), Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE) and Training for Instructors (TFI).

The MIW aims to develop potential Course Coordinators and Course Monitors within the Program for Enhancement of Emergency Response (PEER) system. PEER is a regional capacity building program supported by USAID/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and being implemented by NSET in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

The MIW provides comprehensive instructor training information and skills practice for relatively inexperienced trainers; and to improve the skills of experienced trainers within the context of current PEER training programs, towards enhancing their skills as future course coordinators and monitors.  The recent MIW was delivered by six senior PEER master instructors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.  The workshop highlights included sessions on Course Adaptation, Translation and Updating; PEER courses Coordination and Implementation, Monitoring, Evaluation and Certification System; Team Building, Problem Solving, Networking, and Reporting; and Case Studies.  Plenary presentation of PEER Country Case Studies underscored the emergency/disaster response experiences of MIW participants utilizing their knowledge and skills learnt from PEER.  The presentations included emergencies/disaster caused by collapsed structures and earthquakes, such the building collapse tragedy in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh (April 24, 2013); Varanasi flyover collapse in India (May 15, 2018); Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal (April 25, 2015); and the building collapse at Sundar Industrial State in Pakistan (November 4, 2015). The testimonies presented by the participants served as program impact on how useful PEER courses were in their everyday and major emergency response processes.

Mayor Krishnahari Thapa, Kageshwori Manohara Municipality, delivered the welcome message for the participants, facilitators and other guests during the MIW closing ceremony. Mr. Zafar Iqbal Shaheen (Pakistan), on behalf of the participants, remarked about the importance of the MIW for instilling the role and commitment of master instructors in their respective institutions and countries toward enhancing emergency preparedness and response capacities.  The MIW Coordinator, Mr. Ganesh Kumar Jimee (NSET-Nepal) congratulated the participants and strongly encouraged them to continue upholding the quality control in the delivery of PEER courses.

The closing program was graced by several dignitaries and senior representatives from the PEER implementing partners.  Mr. Umesh Dhakal, Executive Director of Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), acknowledged that the NRCS has always remained an integral the part of PEER since 1998. Further, he said, NRCS has taken steps in the program ownership of PEER through institutionalization of CADRE in NRCS’ Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) program and expanded to reach out to communities all over Nepal. He concluded his remarks with NRCS’ commitment to actively participate in the movement to making Nepal society safer and disaster resilient.  DIG Raju Aryal, Chief, Human Resource Development, Nepal Armed Police Force (APF), in his message, cited that PEER courses is eventually about developing the skilled responders and the end of training is definitely not an end but the beginning of the exploration of the knowledge and skill PEER courses had imparted to the trainees.  He added that the APF Disaster Management Training Center has become the school in which the standard of PEER has been maintained in all its courses, aiding APF to produce excellent responders well equipped with the skill and knowledge in rescuing the victims during emergencies or disasters.  This APF capacity has been demonstrated in the 2015 Nepal Earthquake where all the APF responders were highlighted for rescuing many live victims. Brigadier General Jeet Gurung, Director, Directorate of Disaster Management, Nepali Army, stated that disaster is a vital challenge and threat to humanity, it kills not only people and community but also hampers the economy of the country. Considering the vulnerability of South Asia, we must be prepared at all times, to include developing more rescuers.  BGen Gurung thanked NSET, that through PEER, it is doing a great job in producing additional number of skilled responders from the security forces, organizational level and community volunteers. The international standard of the PEER courses has helped in learning the language used in rescue process which helped our responders to communicate with the international rescuers and made the coordination much easier.

Representing the funding organization, Mr. Dustin Shiau, USAID/OFDA Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand, encouraged all the PEER countries to continue the program processes in the local training system, for developing high quality responders. Mr. Shiau also extended USAID/OFDA’s appreciation for all of the work that the beneficiary-countries have done to promote PEER in the Asian region and the responders’ development in each of the country is incredible. He also added that the effective responses during disasters is the answer to why USAID/OFDA has been supporting PEER for so long.  PEER is not only limited to MFR, CSSR, CADRE or its regular set of trainings but also the institutionalization had made PEER program as important in developing the emergency response management system.

Chief Guest AIG Thule Rai, Chief of Administration and Human Resource Department, Nepal Police, has shared his observation on the huge improvements NSET has undertaken on the PEER MIW curriculum from since he participated in 2006. With this experience from the MIW, he has challenged the graduates, as the new PEER master instructors, with the bigger responsibilities of furthering PEER processes and emergency response principles.  In closing message, he remarked that PEER program has the pushing effect for the Government of Nepal to be ready and to respond effectively during disasters; and has thanked NSET and USAID/OFDA for supporting the program in Asia.

Mr. Surya Narayan Shrestha, Executive Director of NSET, extended NSET’s heartfelt appreciation to NSET staff for the hard work in planning and organizing the MIW; he congratulated all MIW graduates who have successfully completed the course and he mentioned that, they are now eligible to become Course Coordinators and Monitors in future PEER courses. He also thanked all the senior instructors from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan; and USAID/OFDA for the untiring program support and guidance in Asia.  Mr. Shrestha stressed that completing the PEER MIW is actually a moment of feeling the responsibility in contributing to the program institutionalization in the country and at the organizational levels.  There is lot to be done and this daunting task requires continuous effort and therefore PEER master instructors are one of the keys for PEER’s success.

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