“Different approaches in Japan that actively involve children in Disaster Risk Reduction will be very useful to change our culture.” ~Ms. Gillett’s experience of participation in “Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction” in Japan


Ms. Renice Gillett, Training officer in Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) participated in “Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction” course of JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Program which is conducted from Oct 5th to Nov 28th, 2023 (Oct 25th to Nov 28th in Japan).


JICA made some questions to Ms. Renice Gillett about her experience in this course.

JICA: How did you become engaged in disaster prevention in NEMO?

Ms. Gillett: 7 years ago, I was working in the banking industry. I have worked in the banking industry for almost 10 years, and I wanted a change. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to serve with the Government of Belize. An opening in the field presented itself and I was willing to learn more about the industry of disaster prevention.
3 months after starting, we were hit with a hurricane – not too big - but due to the vulnerabilities of Belize, our Department was working in the city for 6 months. The humanitarian side of the job is what keeps me going in this industry. You need to have a big heart to help people who are in need.

JICA: What are contents of the course will be helpful/utilized in your work?

Ms. Gillett: Contents of the course that will be useful/helpful are the different approaches that actively involve children in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
This is something that my organization is focusing on right now as we believe that adults are mostly set in their ways and in order to change the culture, interventions through the child would be the most practical.
Knowledge transfer through DRR Clubs, Survival Camps, Disaster Museums, DRR knowledge development in Teachers for fun and learning activities aimed toward disaster risk reduction.


JICA: What are knowledge and experience (that you acquired from the course) would you like to apply for the disaster prevention in Belize?

Ms. Gillett: What I would like to apply for disaster prevention in Belize is the utilization of “BOKOMI” (in Japanese language) or what we call Community Disaster Response Teams.
I would like to see these groups become more active in their communities during non-crisis times to strengthen the response when there is a crisis. Some activities that can be incorporated would be hazard mapping, disaster/annual plan development, emergency drills etc. that would be pertinent to each community.


In Japan, I see that the Fire Department leads these groups so maybe we can consider co-leading so that the teams are not forgotten or excluded from much-needed non-crisis times activities.

JICA: Could you please tell us your goals and dreams in the future?

Ms. Gillett: My goals and dreams in the future would be for me and my team to be equipped with the knowledge to make DRR more enticing, fun, while at the same time professional for all involved, teaching them how to take care of themselves and communities.
One challenge we face is that we have a vast majority of people who are not interested in DRR because we lack the marketability to sell this concept and then their dependency lies heavily on the state.


Thank you for your answer, Ms. Renice Gillette. We JICA hope your dreams come true soon and disaster prevention in Belize will be enhanced more.

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