On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Dominica, provided 31 individuals with certificates following completion of a novice amateur radio training course and handed over emergency telecommunication equipment to the Office of Disaster Management (ODM).
“We decided to train these people and provide this equipment to assist the country’s efforts to improve the operation and maintenance of the emergency telecommunication network. We really want to contribute in this collective national effort to make Dominica resilient,” IOM Project Manager, Dimitris Champesis noted.
The High Frequency Radio gifted to the ODM will give the office the opportunity to better communicate island-wide and with the rest of the world even in the absence of traditional communication channels. Cecil Shillingford, representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), disaster risk management specialist working with ODM, confirmed the “unit will be part of the telecommunications infrastructure of the Office of Disaster Management and the emergency operations center,” and stressed how “amateur radio is an important component in emergency response telecommunications.”
The activities form part of an emergency support project funded by USAID and was made possible through partnership with the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), Dominica Amateur Radio Club Inc. (DARCI), ODM and the National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO) Emergency Shelter Subcommittee, among others. “We greatly support the idea of collaboration between different organizations and we believe that this is a key factor for a resilient country. But the basis of this effort is of course its active citizens,” the project manager emphasized, while he congratulated the participants who successfully completed the course.
Out of the 31 people trained in amateur radio procedures, 27 are eligible to become licensed amateur radio operators. Among them are four members of the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities (DAPD). IOM is proud to have advocated and supported the participation of differently abled in the society and was heartened by the positive feedback of the DAPD during the planning and implementation phases of this initiative.
Director of the NTRC, Craig Nesty, reminded participants of their importance to the national emergency operation system. “The skills you possess now, will help mitigate the void of isolation we face when we are physically cut off from the outside world,” he said.