Due to the lack of communication after the passage of Hurricane Maria, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently patnered with the USAID, ODM and the Dominica Ameteur Radio Club to initiate a ‘Support Emergency Preparedness through emergency shelters’ project.
There was a six-week course comprising of 34 students which ended with a 97% pass rate examination. Only 27 students sat the examinations and are now licensed amateur radio operators.
Two out of the 27 students were visionally impaired, one being an amputee and one also being physically disabled.
The purpose of the course seeks to allow more persons to grasp the knowledge of HAM radio communication during and after a natural disaster. HAM radio/amateur is the use of radio frequency spectrum for purposes of noncommercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation and emergency communication.
At the Ham Radio Graduation ceremony, Program manager of the IOM, Dimitris Champesis stated that the training was initiated to improve the country’s emergency telecommunications network.
“We decided to train these people and provide this equipment to assist the country’s efforts to improve the operation and maintenance of the emergency telecommunication network. We really want to contribute in this collective national effort to make Dominica resilient,”
Director of the NTRC, Craig Nesty, reminded participants of their importance to the national emergency operation system.
“The skills you possess now, will help mitigate the void of isolation we face when we are physically cut off from the outside world,”Nesty said.