UNICEF Maharashtra, in collaboration with RedR India and MahaPECOnet, had organized a residential training program on thematic-led disaster preparedness and peacetime planning. The four-day training took place in Pune from December 12th to December 15th, 2022. One of the participants in the training was Yogesh Karnik from the Common People Social Foundation (CPSF), who has taken the initiative to replicate the informative sessions on disaster management for the volunteers and local youth in Arnala, a coastal village located on the outskirts of Mumbai.

The youngsters of Arnala have actively participated in CPSF’s ‘Nisarg’ program, which focuses on environmental conservation, marine life protection, and pollution reduction. Teaching disaster management and peacetime planning to young volunteers can be challenging, but it is crucial to ensure that they have a basic understanding of how to stay safe and respond effectively in various situations. Recognizing this need, we seized the opportunity to disseminate knowledge on disaster management and peacetime planning to 15 volunteers from Arnala village.

Considering the rural background of the volunteers, we aimed to use simple and clear language throughout the training program. Our approach involved avoiding technical terms or jargon that might be confusing to them. To make the sessions engaging and memorable, we incorporated visual aids such as pictures and videos. We began by explaining the concept of disasters and provided examples of different types. We discussed the potential risks specific to their area and outlined the steps they could take to prepare for such situations. Elaborative examples were used to emphasize the importance of preparedness, communication, leadership, flexibility, collaboration, rapid response, and resilience.

The training intervention was designed to be interactive, incorporating mock drills, gamification, role plays, and Q&A sessions. Through these activities, the volunteers actively participated in the learning process, ensuring a more effective understanding of the concepts. We emphasized that teaching disaster management and peacetime planning is an ongoing process. Regular conversations and reinforcement of the concepts are essential to ensure preparedness for any situation that may arise.

We are committed to spreading awareness and conducting similar workshops in the future, following the defined guidelines. By empowering the youth of Arnala with knowledge and skills in disaster management, we aim to create a resilient community capable of effectively responding to and mitigating the impact of disasters.