Five presidents from the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of the British Virgin Islands solidifying the working relationship that currently exists between the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the Rotary family in the BVI.
The agreement was signed on Wednesday, September 2 and willprovide a formal space for these entities to work in disaster response and disaster risk reduction.
Acting Governor, Mrs. Inez V. Archibald, CBE signed on behalf of the Government of the British Virgin Islands. She welcomed the opportunity of the Rotary family partnering with DDM to bring more support to the Territory’s national disaster management programme, especially as September is considered to be the peak of the Hurricane Season.
Acting Governor Archibald said, “At the core of the Rotarian culture is a distinct point of view and approach which guides how each Rotarian operates. Partnering with the DDM and other non-governmental organization to establish disaster resilient SMART Communities throughout the Territory typifies this culture and demonstrates that Rotarians indeed see and think differently”.
The MOU signing signaled the beginning of an arrangement for Non-Governmental Organisations working in disaster risk management. The DDM and the Rotary family, working alongside, the BVI Red Cross, the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA) and the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society have partnered to submit a proposal to the Caribbean Development Bank for the funding of a project to develop disaster resilient SMART Communities throughout the Territory.
Agreements such as these is expected to provide the support that disaster management organisations need to ensure that best practices can be applied effectively and support is available especially in time when countries are impacted by significant events and require the mobilisation of immediate resources to respond and recover.
Through this MOU, the Rotary family and the DDM will work together to enhance community disaster resilience by improving the quality of life for residents throughout the Territory; develop disaster risk reduction literacy and capacity building programmes as well as in disaster relief coordination and distribution efforts.
The BVI Rotary Assistant Governor, Mrs. Delma Maduro highlighted the work of Rotary and Rotaract clubs in the British Virgin Islands and spoke about opportunities for residents to give back to their communities. In acknowledging the work of DDM, she said “We are all aware that DDM is a forward thinking and progressive department that is well recognised for its excellent work in disaster management”.
Rotary Presidents present at the signing of the MOU included Mr. Julien Johnson from Rotary Club of Tortola, Mr. Ryan Geluk, Rotary Club of Road Town, Ms. Sharona Pickering, Rotaract Club of Tortola, Ms. Argel Horton, Rotaract Club of Virgin Gorda as well as Vice President, Rotary Club Sunrise of Road Town, Ms. Rosemarie Flax.
The DDM continues to create valuable partnerships with stakeholders in the BVI as it pursues disaster risk reduction initiatives to improve resilience.