The Early Warning 1294 System (EWS 1294) uses hazard-detection technology, data-storage tools, and warning dissemination software to send voice alerts and directions to registered users when any streams or rivers are at ‘dangerous levels’. The Training Workshop on Disaster Management Information System (1294 Early Warning System) For Private Sector (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Cambodia on 16  February 2021. The Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises (FASMEC) organized the event with technical support from the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) and support from the Preparedness Partnership of Cambodia; it was led by Mrs. Ham Sunry, Executive Director of FASMEC. 

With small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contributing to almost half of the employment, building their preparedness. EWS 1294 disseminated information to mobile phones of registered users so they are aware of impending disaster events. The system seeks to protect support SMEs by prepared business operations in advance and ensure the continuity of their operations. The system was originally developed by People In Needs (PIN) and tested in 25 provinces across Cambodia before being handed over to NCDM. 

The event sought to provide participants with an understanding of the disaster risk management (DRM) concepts, introduce the EWS 1294 along with its features and application in business operations, impart knowledge of strategic marketing plans for SMEs in coping with disaster impacts, and orient them on champion selection in disaster risk reduction. There were a total of 33 participants at the workshop which included SME wonders, members of the government, and civil society organizations (CSOs).

Going forward, it is anticipated that the participants understand the importance of disaster risk management including EWS 1294 and that they will share the system with their networks and communities. It is also expected that SMEs will change their perception of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in their daily business operation and planning to reduce loss due to disaster and ensure their continuity and long-term resilience. Additionally, workshops or events such as these can work to integrate the EWS 1294 and DRM concepts in the future.

Some of the participants expressed their views of the workshop:

Mrs. Leng Lina, director of Cambodia Lady Natural Honey, appreciated the comprehensive overview of the workshop- “We not only learned about disaster risk reduction but also the difficulties and responsibilities of the government to support our sector. The information of EWS 1294 had motivated me to inform my family, staff, and friends about the system.”

Oknha Te Taing Por, president of FASMEC, stressed that strengthening the private sector is an ongoing process- “FASMEC has its operation sub-offices in 25 cities/provinces, however, the private sectors (SMEs) still have a lack of capacities on the disaster management knowledge, and that needs to be rigorously enhanced further in order to ensure their business resilience and continuity and to advance their business models to work with other private sectors in the world.

Mr. Phong Sothy, enterprise manager of Fish Sauce Factory, witnessed the assimilation of a resilient community at the event- “I appreciated the attendance of the government, the private sector, and CSOs. I appreciate how the organizers have come together to help us understand EWS 1294 and its application.”

H.E Prak Kim Hong, Deputy Secretary-General of the Secretariat General of NCDM, highlighted the importance of coordination and active participation- “The preparedness, response, and recovery really require strong local and national coordination among the emergency actors in the country such as government, private sectors, and CSOs. We should actively share EWS 1294  as it can save us from the loss and damage, and it is important that we share it with a wider population to register them.