IOM ROK Trained Migrants to Share Emergency Response Skills with Communities
Seoul - The Republic of Korea has increasingly been affected by natural and man-made disasters. Due to a variety of factors including language barriers and limited social networks, migrants are more vulnerable during such crises. But by empowering their coping capacities in emergencies, migrants’ knowledge and skills can be utilized to ensure the safety of the whole society.
IOM and Chungnam Multicultural Family Support Center organized three Disaster Preparedness Trainings for Trainers (TOT) to enhance migrants’ understanding and capacity in responding to emergencies. The trainings were held between 28 June and 5 July 2018 in three regions within Chungcheongnam-do; Dangjin-si, Asan-si and Cheongyang-gun.
Involving more than thirty marriage migrant women, the program addressed the vulnerabilities of migrants in disaster preparedness management and encouraged social engagement of the female migrants by asking them to share their knowledge and skills in emergency responses.
Under the partnership of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and Chungcheongnam-do Provincial Government (CPG), the Center has been providing a wide range of assistance to migrants including interpretation service, psychological support and legal counseling.
A whole day training conducted by IOM experts addressed key emergency response principles including dealing with natural hazards, information on the health risks associated with poor sanitation, the use of fire extinguishers, and how to plan ahead for a possible emergency.
The second part of the training included teaching methodologies to help trainees share what they have learned with their community in Korean or in their mother tongues. Equipping migrants with vital emergency response skills, the program allowed migrants to build their own curriculum and provided opportunities to act out role-plays where they became trainers in the training.
“When natural and man-made disasters happen, migrants are one of the most vulnerable population to its many consequences. In the light of this, IOM has taken initiatives in providing emergency preparedness trainings for migrants since 2017. Through that experience, I have found that migrants have strong potential to play active roles in building community resilience,” said Miah Park, IOM ROK Head of Office.
In 2017, IOM and the Ministry of Public Safety and Security have developed Disaster Preparedness Handbooks in five languages to allow for an easier understanding of the material: Korean, English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai. This year, IOM additionally edited the Handbooks in five widely spoken languages in Chungcheongnam-do including Khmer, Singhala, Mongolian, Russian and Japanese.
Chungcheongnam-do, the south-western province, is home to an estimated number of 95,553 migrants, which is equal to 5.4 percent of the population. On 6 September 2017, IOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CPG to share IOM’s knowledge and to enhance technical cooperation in supporting migrant integration and inclusion.