Apr 1, 2020 – Prestasi Junior Indonesia has achieved yet another milestone. The organization, working with the excellent volunteers from Prudential Indonesia, has won the Disaster Preparedness Chairman’s Challenge 2019. This global challenge is an important component in the Prudential plc promotion of volunteer engagement in multiple countries across the globe. In 2019 we decided to focus on disaster preparedness for at-risk communities living in the province of West Java – Desa Siaga Bencana Project. This collaboration has proved to be very successful as the impact of recent flooding in the area has been mitigated due to the initiative. The Award from Prudential plc provides PJI with funding which will enable us to continue to undertake our good work in Indonesian communities.
The Desa Siaga Bencana (“Disaster Prepared” Village) engaged 543 Prudential personnel in support of providing for a safer environment for those villagers living close to the Cikeas river. Every year, during the rainy season, the volume of the river rises as a result of heavy rain within the regions watershed. This occurs rapidly and is particularly dangerous if it takes place over-night. It is not only the velocity of the water but also the considerable size and amount of detritus within the regime that causes damage. In order to safe-guard inhabitants from flooding PJI and Prudential utilized resources provided by PMI (Indonesia Red Cross) and the local villagers (with the endorsement of the Regency Government Planning Authority) to initiate the following interventions:
1. Planting of 400 trees along the banks of the Cikeas river to reduce erosion and improve carrying capacity of river channels.
2. Creating 200 sinkholes in the vicinity of housing to increase infiltration rates.
3. Building ablution blocks within the village to improve sanitation. The rivers were often used for multiple household functions including bathing and toilet waste.
4. Constructing a water purification plant to ensure potable water is available for local use, particularly in times of emergency.
5. Providing training for evacuation in preparation for flooding events including creation of assembly points.
6. Provision of flood warning systems in the villages.
7. Constructing a bridge over the Cikeas river. This, apart from ensuring villagers are provided with an evacuation route during disaster events, also ensures local children living on one side of the river are now able to attend the school located on the other side.
By the end of engagement 9,933 villagers were now living in a safer environment and, as the spectre of the rainy seasons inevitable flooding returns, are better able to reduce the impact of severe hazard. The purpose of the initiative was to: (i) equip targeted at-risk communities with an improved knowledge of disaster preparedness, (ii) deliver disaster mitigation infrastructural improvements, and (iii) create an environment which is inclusive of disaster preparedness strategies. All interventions are focused on minimizing the impact of natural disasters that often affect the communities in the location.
Prestasi Junior would like to thank the hundreds of Prudential volunteers who turned up during weekends to support the Desa Siaga Bencana Project. The initiative would not have succeeded without the massive commitment from Prudential and its team.