26,000 people to be assisted

By Shalveen Chand 21 March 2024, 7:00PM

Close to 26,000 Samoans would be assisted through a United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA) project.

Non-governmental organisation Field Ready are leading the project to reduce disaster risk in the Pacific Islands which is set to assist at least 100,000 people across the Pacific.

By increasing local response capability, the two-year program will prepare Pacific Island communities for future shocks more effectively.

Charge d’Affaires Noriko Horiuchi launched this project in Apia on March 21 and remarked that this project reflects on the U.S.’s commitment to support Samoa to become more resilient to disasters.

“Our approach aims to work with Samoa’s private sector to produce relief supplies locally and to keep the supply chain local,” said Charge d’Affaires Horiuchi.

“Building on the success of the two phases, our goal for the next phase is to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters on vulnerable populations through increased access to locally made aid supplies and repairs. This increases the effectiveness and efficiency of response and recovery,” she said.

“The launch of this project builds on the White House visit in July 2023 by Second Gentleman Mr. Douglas Emhoff and this contribution by the United States Government will further support the Pacific Islands including Samoa to build resilience to climate change and natural disasters”.

USAID is providing $2.4 million to support the roll-out of the third phase of this project, including the expansion of work in Samoa.  This will be done by strengthening local supply chains in Samoa and other island nations.

The program operates from a regional hub in Fiji and is active across five Pacific countries in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands.

USAID’s support will strengthen supply chains, including building the capacity of local manufacturers and suppliers and supporting increased localisation and self-reliance in humanitarian response.

“The long-term result will be that Pacific Island countries have more robust, timely, and sustainable disaster resilience and response capabilities while boosting local economies and reducing carbon emissions through reduced imported aid,” said USAID Pacific Islands Mission Director Zema Semunegus. 

“USAID is pleased to support the government’s promotion of local manufacturing for aid supply, build on skills and resources that will improve technical innovation in Samoa and the region, and increase resilience to response capabilities particularly in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and disaster preparedness sectors,” she said.

Field Ready has established and built effective working relations with stakeholders in Samoa including government, NGO partners, academic institutions, local manufacturers, and multilateral organisations in earlier phases of this project. Chief among these are the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Rotomould Ltd, and the University of Samoa.

Field Ready, a non-governmental organisation, has pioneered the approach to localising manufacturing for humanitarian purposes.

Since 2016, Field Ready has been working in the Pacific islands region to develop products that can directly impact disaster response and community development in the region.

Field Ready has provided technical expertise and networking which has enabled local manufacturers to develop the capacity to produce a range of aid items. Items currently being brought to market include robust portable emergency latrines, humanitarian standard water storage buckets, group handwashing stations, emergency WASH Kits – all manufactured in the Pacific region.

Field Ready has also developed and manufactured a mobile field workshop in Fiji for rapid repair of small-scale infrastructure in disaster response and recovery. Under the current program, Field Ready is making more of these units for Pacific Island countries including Samoa. This will be used to train young local engineers in new technologies and disaster recovery employing rapid repair techniques.

By Shalveen Chand 21 March 2024, 7:00PM
Samoa Observer

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