IOM in the North Pacific at a Glance
IOM established its first office in the region in Majuro in May 2009. The opening of the sub-regional Head Office in Pohnpei followed a few months later. The FSM has been a member state since December 2011 and the RMI acceded to membership on 26 November, 2013.
Enhancing School Preparedness and Resilience
On April 11 – 13, 2012, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in coordination with the Pohnpei State Department of Education (PDOE), organized a three-day training entitled "School Emergency Planning and Preparedness Training", which was held at the PDOE Training Center. PDOE requested the IOM to assistant in arranging this event. Out of the 29 invited educational institutions, 26 schools were present throughout the training, and all of these were elementary schools.
The primary objective of the training was to develop School Emergency Protection Plans, a corollary to the fire evacuation drills and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Education Pilot Project. Moreover, the emergency protection plans are a requirement for school accreditation under the FSM National Department of Education (NDOE) standards.
On the first day of the training, the opening remark was given by Mr. Pete Leon Panuelo, Chief of Elementary Division, PDOE and Mr Ashley Carl, Chief of Mission, IOM. Subsequently, IOM staff provided briefings on natural hazards, such as fire, tsunami, typhoon, landslide and flood hazard, and medical emergency. Enthusiastic discussions involving the participants, the IOM team, and National and Pohnpei State Government representatives also occupied each module presented during the course of the training.
Representing the Office of Environment and Emergency Management (OEEM), Mr. James Lukan and Ms. Oleen Poll participated in the training. Mr. Wayne Mendiola of FSM Department of Education was also present during the course of the training. Assisting in the facilitation of the event, Ms. Rihna Jimmy of PDOE also shared her knowledge regarding emergency preparedness; particularly from the health perspective.
During day two and three of the training the principals and other school staff started preparing their school emergency management plans for their respective schools. IOM provided a user friendly template, which the participants could use to address the key considerations and emergency operating procedures.
Additionally, on the third day, the six schools: Awak, Kolonia, Nett, Ohmine, Sekere and Saladak Elementary School, who had also participated in the GEAR-UP Program, had the opportunity to share their experiences from the fire response drills that they had accomplished with assistance from IOM and Pohnpei State DOE, during March. By providing their personal insights, other school principals appreciated the simple, but critical, procedures involved in conducting fire response drills, and were motivated to organize these for their own schools.
The event concluded with the awarding of certificates handed out by Ms. Jimmy and Ms. Whitney Hoot, IOM Project Supervisor for the DRR Education Pilot. With the generous funding support of USAID, IOM was also able to provide the participants with education materials produced under the DRR Pilot Project; including 50 copies of each disaster preparedness series comic book, including the landslide, typhoon and tsunami hazards. In addition, a climate adaptation and disaster preparedness coloring books, stickers, community and school banners, and four different instructional poster designs were provided to the principals.
IOM will review the newly drafted School Emergency Plans to provide further technical input and then all the plans will be submitted to PDOE for their final approval. Following PDOE approval, all the plans will be returned to the 26 principals of the participating schools to ensure that they have standard operating procedures easily accessible, thus making their schools and surrounding communities safer.