The strengthening of disaster management capacity in Iran has always been one of the goals of UN Family and OCHA. OCHA works closely with the Iranian Government and NGOs in order to implement programs that will result in reduction of effects in disasters and to improve preparedness of general public, increasing the resilience of the country, with specific focus on city resiliency and having empowered inhabitants to deal with the emergencies, mainly earthquakes, floods, fire and traffic accidents.
This initiative to train trainers for public awareness campaigns of disasters preparedness is part of a larger project in city of Tehran to raise awareness of three million inhabitants in the next three years on these subjects. OCHA/IRC NGO/TDMMO have initiated a project to train the first batch of trainers. Other organizations such as IRCS and Tehran Fire Fighter services are also cooperating in this macro project to educate/raise awareness of the general public.
UN, IRC NGO and TDMMO contributed to this macro project and contributed by organizing the first Trainer of Trainers (ToT) for “Essential Activities in Emergencies” workshop held from 1st to 3rd of July 2017 which has been a success, to train public education trainers. After this successful activity, the second workshop of Trainer of Trainers (ToT) series has been held from 26th to 28th of July 2017 in District 6 Disaster Response Center of (Park Laleh) Tehran.
During the opening of the second workshop, Dr. Ostad Taghizadeh (Deputy TDMMO), shared his remarks and reaffirmed that the only way that Tehran resiliency in natural disasters could be improved is through public education and community participation. He added that the international community is moving toward a comprehensive plan of action, rather than sectoral view on these issues, and Sendai framework of action emphasized to create an overall scientific concept for improving resiliency in communities around the world. Now is proved that institutions and organizations by themselves, even governments, could not make much difference if all partners are not cooperating together in a holistic manner, with full participation of the communities and empowered people. Mr. Khosravani, Head of district 6 Disaster Center, emphasized the important role of NGOs and civil society in public education for disasters readiness, and to improve resilience of societies/cities. Mr. Shahrivar, Deputy of Tehran Governor in Social Affairs, reminded that the notion of humanitarian assistance is deeply rooted in the Iranian culture and that it is part of the Iranian tradition to bring as many help as possible to those in need. He affirmed that without civil society engagement and NGOs in such initiatives, the process will fail or reach little results. He thanked UN and IRC to organize such important training opportunities.
The 50 selected participants (the majority of whom were women) have been trained and familiarized with the effective methods of public participation in the disaster management cycle, and are now skilled to lead effective trainings. Each of them will have to organize five public education sessions on emergencies, risks and hazards in the urban areas (mainly Tehran) and to educate groups of people on preventive, preparedness and response phase, life saving measures in case of earthquakes, floods, traffic accidents and fire.
These two workshops have been an effective and concrete contribution of OCHA in working with NGOs, public and private sector, and Government partners to improve Iran’s capacity to respond to disasters and improve its preparedness.
The project has been such a success that created much demand for these workshops and we were not able to meet due to capacity issues. It has been planned that another workshop will be held in the future for trainers of other cities of Iran, as an additional contribution by UN to increase the awareness level of citizens. The project has been possible due to generous sponsorship of UN and international donors and the cooperation of the Iran Rescue Center NGO (Khaneh Nejat Iran) and TDMMO.