While implementing our community-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) project in the Mentawai, Indonesia, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB) met Ms. Rosvita. She was selected to be part of a master trainer team whose responsibility was disseminating DRR information to community members at the village level. DRR knowledge is certainly required by community in the Mentawai since they are living in an earthquake and tsunami prone area. When performing her duty as a trainer, Ms. Rosvita was very engaging. She used various tools to help community members easily understand the training materials. Ms. Rosvita and other master trainers encouraged community members to actively participate in the learning process. She also required all community members to practice safety procedures for earthquake and tsunami, including children, older persons and persons with disability.
Like most women in the Mentawai, Ms. Rosvita is a housewife who rarely took an active role in social activities in the community. During the initial trainings for the selected master trainers, Ms. Rosvita was shy. She was even trembling when practising public speaking skills. Compared with other master trainers who included teachers, priests and cadres, her voice was rarely heard during her first trainings. The shift happened when she realised the importance of community awareness of disaster preparedness. She was eager to share the knowledge she got from the trainings with her community in Taileleu Village. She went from house by house to invite household representatives to come to the DRR training session. She also monitored each household in her sub village to make sure DRR information had been shared to all family members. While doing the monitoring, Ms. Rosvita also helped each household to arrange safe room setting and identify threatening goods which needed to be moved or replaced. Ms. Rosvita’s active participation in the project was really appreciated. Moreover, her active role has certainly given positive contribution to support community resilience.
Thanks goes to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs who supported the project in the Mentawai and which gave the ASB team the opportunity to meet and work with inspiring women. (Rizma Kristiana/edit: Dr. Alex Robinson)