Monday, April 22, 2024

Librarians and archivists gather to enhance emergency readiness and disaster management skills

Technical University of Mombasa hosts ERDM workshop for pre-SCECSAL/SCANUL-ECS conference

Mr Kepi Madumo (right) and Prof. Peter Gatiti (middle)
handing the certificate of participation to a participant
In a proactive initiative aimed at bolstering emergency readiness and disaster management (ERDM) capabilities among professionals in archives and libraries, the National Library of South Africa, IFLA PAC Southern African Region, and IFLA Africa Office in partnership with the Technical University of Mombasa have organized a two-day pre SCECSAL/SCANUL-ECS workshop on ERDM. The workshop, hosted by the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) from the 20th to the 21st of April, drew participation from 38  enthusiastic individuals from libraries, archives, and library and information science schools in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, and Zambia.

The TUM Vice Chancellor, Prof Laila Abubakar, officiated at the opening session of the pre-conference workshop. In her opening remarks, she emphasized the necessity of continuing professional development and capacity building to enable teams of librarians and archivists to develop and strengthen their skills and abilities. She further stated that this skills transfer would, in turn, assist the teams in achieving their objectives, managing challenges faced by documentary heritage institutions and workplaces, and establishing meaningful partnerships that would yield lasting collaborations. In her remarks, she also alluded to the need for the African continent to increase its knowledge and understanding of the elements of ERDM, relevant knowledge in preparedness, response, and recovery in the cases of disasters.

During the closing and certificate award ceremony, Mr. Kepi Madumo, the National Librarian and CEO of the National Library of South Africa, emphasized the importance of translating acquired knowledge and skills into actionable plans during times of crisis. He was accompanied by Prof. Peter Gatiti, President of the Kenya Library Association (KLA), and Ms. Mutinta Nabuyanda, President of the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ).

The workshop delved into crucial aspects of ERDM, covering key concepts, background insights, and the phases of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Participants engaged in interactive sessions exploring the intricacies of developing effective disaster management plans, with a particular focus on practical application.

Participants at the ERDM pre-SCECSAL/SCABUL-ECS
Noteworthy sessions included a demonstration of the Disaster Box, a vital resource in crisis situations, and practical exercises on handling books damaged by fire and water. These hands-on activities provided invaluable insights into salvaging valuable resources in the aftermath of disasters, ensuring the preservation of cultural heritage and knowledge repositories.

Mr Nazeem Israel and Ms Sonto Moleme, from the  National Library of South Africa, spearheaded the facilitation of the workshop, guiding participants through engaging discussions and practical demonstrations. 

The ERDM workshop at the Technical University of Mombasa stands as a testament to the proactive stance of the National Library of South Africa, IFLA and the SCECSAL/SCANUL-ECS community in addressing critical challenges facing the sector. By equipping professionals with the necessary tools and knowledge, such initiatives pave the way for a more resilient and adaptive library and archival landscape, capable of weathering the storms of uncertainty with confidence and competence.

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