Psychosocial Skills Training for Humanitarian and Community Workers in response to Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong)

Project Psychosocial Skills Training for Humanitarian and Community Workers in response to Tropical Storm Washi (Sendong)
Objectives

• To further equip local psychosocial responders with the necessary skills to conduct more in-depth psychosocial interventions in the event of future disasters • To train local psychosocial responders with the knowledge and skills to in turn, train and equip their own organisations to be better prepared in responding to the psychosocial needs of the affected communities in the future • To strengthen the provision of psychosocial support in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Washi, especially since many will continue to be placed in transitional shelters while awaiting new areas to be designated for the relocation of their homes

Project Partners • World Health Organisation (WHO) • Department of Health Region X (Region Ten) • City Health Office Region X (Region Ten)
Activities

3-day psychosocial training in 2 cities

Locations Cagayan De Oro City and Iligan City
Period 28 March to 4 April 2012
Accomplishments

• 76 humanitarian and community workers (38 in each city) who completed the 3-day training sessions • 76 participants from the various organisations who are equipped to share the knowledge gained through the trainings with their colleagues, partners and other relevant agencies • A ready pool of 76 trained personnel to respond to the psychosocial needs of the affected communities in the event of future disasters • 76 trained personnel who continue to serve those affected by Tropical Storm Washi throughout the recovery and rehabilitation phase

Background

Many of the communities who were displaced as a result of Tropical Storm Washi, remained in evacuation centres and transitional camps for many months while awaiting the completion of the permanent relocation sites. Many of those displaced had lost loved ones during the disaster. All these combined factors had taken a toll on the psychosocial wellbeing of the affected communities. As a continuation to MERCY Malaysia’s emergency relief efforts, the team identified the need to develop local capacity, specifically in the field of psychosocial services.

MERCY Malaysia efforts

In order to better prepare the communities themselves to respond to the psychosocial needs during future disasters, MERCY Malaysia conducted two three-day training sessions in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City, with participants from relevant local government agencies and local humanitarian agencies. The training module was specially designed by MERCY Malaysia’s psychosocial team with a special focus on preparing the frontline healthcare and humanitarian workers. They will respond to the current psychosocial needs of the affected communities, as well as future psychosocial needs in the event of disasters. The disaster cycle, psychosocial first aid, working with vulnerable groups, play activities with children, grief counselling, burnout and self-care among humanitarian workers were among the topics covered during the training. The training session also served as a platform for the representatives of the various organisations and agencies to share their experiences with each other.