Samoa launches braille-translated Disaster Risk Management booklets

Two hundred braille-translated Disaster Risk Management booklets for the benefit of People with Disabilities, particularly the blind or visually impaired community, were officially launched on Monday, 19th June 2023.
The launching event was witnessed and attended by a number of esteemed guests, including the Deputy High Commissioner of the NZ High Commission and members of the Umbrella for People with Disabilities, Nuanua ole Alofa (NOLA) & Samoa Blind Persons Association and various organizations that play advocacy roles in supporting people with disabilities.
A milestone and an accomplishment that reflects the government of Samoa’s commitment to achieving its global and local obligations around Disaster Risk Management, taking into consideration the Inclusiveness – Whole of Society approach to ensure that meaning is strongly emphasized to the concept that ‘No One is Left Behind’ in all phases of Disaster Risk Management.
The design and development of these braille-translated Disaster Risk Management awareness booklets cost an SAT $33,500.00, generously funded by the NZ Government through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) DRM Project/Programme monitored by the MNRE as the Implementing Agency. The NZ NEMA DRM Project is a six-year project which commenced in 2019 until 2024 with the ultimate goal of strengthening Disaster Risk Management across risk reduction, readiness, response and recovery in targeted Pacific Island Countries, including Samoa.
The Disaster Management Office (DMO) of the MNRE worked in close collaboration with Nuanua ole Alofa (NOLA) & the Samoa Blind Persons Association to bring this initiative into fruition, to ensure that these booklets were produced and made available for ease of access and reference by the blind community. All braille equipment was procured from the Blind People’s Association as the only agency qualified to provide booklet specifications.
It is understood that disasters are becoming frequent. Sadly, people with disabilities are most vulnerable to these disasters or hazards. Unfortunately, there is a lack of disaster-related information and resources available to increase their awareness of the potential risks they are exposed to. For this reason, an initiative to translate the existing disaster risk management awareness materials into braille was successfully delivered to support the visually impaired community, providing measures that would build their capacity and enhance their preparedness abilities to respond to the most extreme disasters that Samoa is prone to.
The booklets contain basic information on ‘What to Do’ in disasters such as tropical cyclones, river floods, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and fire, translated in Samoan and English. Having these braille booklets developed is a significant achievement for Samoa, where the blind persons and visually impaired will, for the first time, be able to read these DRM awareness materials to enhance their resilience and preparations in response to disasters & emergencies.
Followed by the successful launching event was the handover presentation of these braille booklets to the Samoa Blind People’s Association through NOLA for educational purposes and dissemination to the blind community.
This milestone achievement further reaffirms Samoa’s commitment to contribute positively towards the realization of regional and international goals under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the 2015 Paris Agreement for Climate Change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific 2017-2030 and notably the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 which Samoa has ratified.
It is with high hopes that this work is replicated in other priority sectoral activities in Samoa.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer Moafanua Tolusina Afuvai Pouli delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Ministry (MNRE) and remarks on behalf of the NZ Government by Deputy High Commissioner Lavea’i Ioane.
Tiaena Herbert Bell, on behalf of the Blind Person’s Association, was given the honour to address a few remarks to thank the government and to acknowledge the NZ Government for the financial support to bring this initiative to fruition.