NHA, HFHI To Support PASSA Program In Peace Island Community
The Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) will begin supporting the Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) in the Peace Island Community in Congo Town, outside Monrovia.
The disclosure was made Tuesday in the Peace Island community at programs marking the presentation of the Community Action Plan to Prevent Shelter Risks by HFHI Chief of Party for Liberia Community Program, Mathew Peter Ndote.The PASSA methodology, Ndote said, was introduced for the first time in Liberia in January 2019 in order to create awareness to prevent disasters, risks and vulnerabilities across slum communities.
He said the PASSA process in Peace Island will serve as a model to be replicated in other communities in Greater Monrovia with the aim to develop local capacity to reduce shelter-related risk by raising awareness and developing skills in a joint analysis, noting that it promotes learning and decision-making at the community level.
Ndote indicated that the methodology is a variation of Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), used by many Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies globally in water and sanitation programs since the late 1990s and has been adopted by HFHI globally for housing and human settlements.
He stated that through HFHI and NHA partnership, the first cohort of 30 PASSA facilitators were trained in early 2019 and were selected from the public sector, civil society organizations and the community.
According to Ndote, the facilitators dedicated three months of their time guiding community volunteers through the eight-step process to identify prevailing hazards, risks and vulnerabilities affecting Peace Island residents and develop a community-based mitigation plan.
Ndote cited that 30 community volunteers, referred to as monitors, were drawn from different social groups within the ten zones of Peace Island.
“This process has progressively enabled the monitors to better understand shelter safety issues in their community; identify hazards and vulnerabilities that create risk related to shelter; recognize and analyze the root causes of shelter vulnerability; identify and prioritize strategies to improve safety of their housing structures and neighborhoods; plan to implement identified shelter safety solutions based on local capacities and monitor and evaluate their progress.” he said.
The trained PASSA facilitators, he said, represent the first cohort equipped with these skills and are available to support more communities, noting, that the community monitors will likewise continue to raise awareness of ‘everyday vulnerabilities’ and ‘everyday risks’ related to the way slum dwellers build their homes and manage their environment.
He pointed out that continuous awareness and monitoring will foster adoption of locally appropriate safe shelter and settlement practices through which the community can build upon their own insights, skills and leadership to improve living conditions and create a safer habitat.