June 22, 2011
Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua, the National Engineering University and the municipality of San Rafael del Sur, introducing participants to new research on risk management and to encourage them to reflect upon how to reduce vulnerability and risk.
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (June 22, 2011) – From June 14-21 of this year, the first “Forum for Disaster Risk Management” was developed at the Municipality Council Meeting Room in San Rafael del Sur, Nicaragua, where council members, key personnel of the Municipality, presidents of local organizations, managers of private companies, non-governmental organizations and government sectors at the municipal level participated.
The event was organized by Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua , the National Engineering University (UNI) and the Municipality of San Rafael del Sur. Its aim was to introduce participants to the recent research made by UNI around disaster risk management, show the vulnerability of the municipality and encourage participants to reflect upon actions that will reduce vulnerability and risk.
Among the topics discussed at the forum were and overview of the municipality studies and investigations made by UNI (ecotourism, environmental issues, urban planning and infrastructure); the municipality’s updated vulnerability status; the importance of local risk management through the presentation of other Latin American experiences such as in Haiti and Peru; community empowerment and advocacy in risk management.
Architect Francisco Mendoza Velásquez, Director of the Linking and Technological Innovation Center at UNI, encouraged council members and key staff from the San Rafael del Sur municipality to develop the economic potential of the municipality, based on the important source of data and research developed by UNI. Under the agreement signed between UNI and Habitat, Mr. Mendoza made accessible the specialists’ expertise from UNI to carry out studies and apply tools to obtain useful information for the creation of new project and proposal for the municipality, as well as to improve the municipality’s personnel decision making skills.
Currently, UNI is developing a project to improve the municipality´s techniques for gathering and dissemination of information when the occurrence of a disaster.
At the end of the forum, the participants discussed how to join efforts to reduce the municipality’s vulnerability and risk. They highlighted the municipality’s economic and touristic potential and the importance of taking measures to prevent further deterioration of the environment along with the risk that this entails for the population.
This forum is part of the project “Capacity Building for Risk Management in Communities of the Municipality of San Rafael del Sur”, implemented by Habitat for Humanity, in partnership with Plan Nicaragua and the municipality of San Rafael del Sur.
Habitat for Humanity International’s disaster response program has been in existence for over 10 years, helping low-income families worldwide to rebuild their homes after disaster strikes.
The program also helps communities to protect themselves from future threats through technical assistance, program development and implementation thereof; designing and developing policies, protocols and procedures for disaster response.
About Habitat for Humanity Latin America and the Caribbean
Habitat for Humanity first opened its doors in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in 1979, and has since helped more than 100,000 low-income families to access adequate housing in the region. Headquartered in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Latin America and Caribbean regional office coordinates the efforts of 16 national organizations, as well as unique partnerships throughout the region. For more information, visit habitatlatino.org . 
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean.