Tuesday, July 23, 2019 will mark a momentous occasion, following an intensive process lasting several months, where residents of Peace Island will present the findings and Action Plan from the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) to the rest of their community, a release has said.
Over 160 people, constituting of community leaders, residents of Peace Island and 10 government ministries and agencies with mandates on disaster risk management, will attend the presentation taking place on Peace Island, Congo Town Township in Monrovia.
The PASSA workshop was organized by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and Habitat for Humanity International in collaboration with the residents of Peace Island as part of the Cities Alliance-led Liberia Country Program funded by Comic Relief.
The PASSA methodology was introduced in January, 2019 for the first time to create awareness to prevent disasters, risks and vulnerabilities across slum communities. The PASSA process in Peace Island will serve as a model to carry to other communities in greater Monrovia.
The PASSA methodology is a variation of Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), used by many Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies globally in water and sanitation programs since the late 1990s, but has been adopted by Habitat for Humanity International globally for housing and human settlements, according to Habitat for Humanity International’s Chief of Party, Mathew Ndote.
“The aim is to develop local capacity to reduce shelter related risk by raising awareness and developing skills in a joint analysis. It promotes learning and decision-making at the community level,” Ndote said.
Through the Habitat for Humanity International and National Housing Authority partnership, the first cohort of 30 PASSA facilitators was trained in early 2019. The facilitators were selected from the public sector, civil society organizations and the community. They dedicated three months of their time guiding community volunteers through the eight 8-step process to identify prevailing hazards, risks and vulnerabilities affecting Peace Island residents and develop a community-based mitigation plan.
Thirty community volunteers, referred to as monitors, were drawn from different social groups within the ten zones of Peace Island. This process has progressively enabled the monitors to better understand shelter safety issues in their community; identify hazards and vulnerabilities that create risk related to shelter; recognize and analyze root causes of shelter vulnerability; identify and prioritize strategies to improve safety of their housing structures and neighborhoods; plan to implement identified shelter safety solutions based on local capacities and monitor and evaluate their progress.
According to Mr. Ndote, the trained PASSA facilitators represent the first cohort equipped with these skills and are available to support more communities. Likewise, the community monitors will continue to raise awareness of ‘everyday vulnerabilities’ and ‘everyday risks’ related to the way slum dwellers build their homes and manage their built environment.
Continuous awareness and monitoring will foster adoption of locally appropriate safe shelter and settlement practices through which the community can build upon their own insights, skills and leadership to improve living conditions and create a safer habitat.
The event will climax with a presentation by the community monitors, and an award ceremony of certificates to facilitators and monitors for completing the process.
Honored guests include the Commissioner of Congo Town, the Monrovia City Corporation, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Young Men’s Christian Association, NHA, Environmental Protection Agency, Liberia National WASH Commission, Liberia National Fire Service, Federation of Liberian Urban Poor Savers, National Disaster Management Agency, Liberia National Red Cross, Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission, Ministry of Public Works, and Cities Alliance.