Community engagement key to mission success in Solomon Islands
21 November 2013
Months of careful planning in partnership with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force , the Australian Federal Police, and Australian Defence and Consulate staff in Honiara, along with a well thought out community engagement program, have been an integral part of Operation RENDER SAFE 2013.
Operation RENDER SAFE 2013 is a Navy-led, multinational taskforce of more than 150 members tasked with removing unexploded World War II munitions from local communities in Solomon Islands.
In the months leading up to RENDER SAFE on 29 October , a broad suite of communications activities were planned and developed to support the operation. These ranged from commissioning bilingual posters and flyers down to decisions about the working dress of task force members.
The head of Combined Joint Task Force 663, Commander Doug Griffiths,
said that the community engagement and communications activities of the taskforce were key elements of Operation RENDER SAFE, without which the rest of the mission would not be possible.
“Operation RENDER SAFE is all about local communities being able to live normal, safe and secure lives. We have shared interests in the safety and security of the local community with the AFP and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in the Solomon Islands,” Commander Griffiths said.
“As such, all members of the taskforce have been working with local communities in distinctive RENDER SAFE branded uniforms, handing out community engagement information in the form of stickers and flyers that reinforce the message of unexploded ordnance safety throughout local communities.
“Members of our Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams have spent time working with local communities, meeting with community leaders and members of the local clergy because we need their assistance to convey the message that RENDER SAFE is here to assist the good work of Royal Solomon Islands Police Force EOD staff in reducing the explosive hazards in Solomon Islands.”
“This may mean distributing flyers at local markets or visiting local villages, but certainly community engagement is a core element of our mission and the results to date indicate our Task Force members are approaching this task with great enthusiasm and commitment,” Commander Griffiths said.
Operation RENDER SAFE 2013 is running from 29 October to 7 December.