In July 2013 the Belize Red Cross began implementation of the Resilience in the Americas, RITA project. The project is focused on educating and empowering communities in becoming decision makers within their communities. Through the American Red Cross, the project is being piloted in ten countries in the Latina America and Caribbean Region.
An assessment model was developed to be a holistic, multi-sector analysis of the needs of communities which in Belize is being managed by the Belize Red Cross. RITA activities are being carried out in San Victor, Consejo, and Corozal Town in the Corozal District, as well as Black Water Creek, Santa Cruz and San Antonio Rio Hondo, Louisiana and Trial Farm in the Orange Walk District.
The residents in these communities are given the opportunity to lead the activities allowing them to identify their key needs and vulnerabilities as well as capacities and resources they have to enhance resilience. Under this project is the Community Emergency Response Teams training.
“Is based on disaster reduction, that is the main thing that the Red Cross does, they are trying to prevent or prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters. We recruited teams in the eight pilot communities that we are working in this leg of the project and we train them to see how the community first responded, sometimes it takes the officials or the professional team a couple days to reach a community after an emergency or disaster. It was over a couple months because it is fourteen modules that they go through and the modules are basically how to work as a team, how to do damage assessment, introduction to search and rescue. We normally would leave that to the professionals but if they are on the team they can start to prepare for the professionals. We hope that this spirit for volunteering for the safety of the community that is being demonstrated by all these communities that we started working can be captured by the rest of the country.”
Participating community members: the Corozal and Orange Walk Districts will be certified at the Banquitas House of Culture in Orange Walk Town on Saturday February 22nd and in Corozal Town at “Dreams” hall on Sunday February 23rd, 2014. The CERTS will serve to further strengthen National Emergency Response managed by NEMO. The Belize Red Cross also receives technical support from NEMO.
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