LEADERS TALK: AHA CENTRE EXECUTIVE (ACE) PROGRAMME BATCH 7
“DEVELOPING THE FUTURE LEADERS OF ASEAN IN DISASTER MANAGEMENT”
PROGRAMME BATCH 7
The AHA Centre organised the Leaders Talk as part of the ACE Programme Batch 7 on 29 November 2021. The Leaders Talk is a regular activity under the ACE Programme. For this edition of Leaders Talk, the AHA Centre invited Ms. Liz Hughes, Chief Executive of Map Action, to share her ‘leader’s stories’. One of the ACE Programme’s Participants, Ms. Siti Joriahati Johari binti Johari, is glad to share and reflect her experience with us.
KUDOS to the AHA Centre’s “Leaders Talk” Event!
Thank you so much, Ms. Liz Hughes, Chief Executive of Map Action, for being an inspirational speaker. You are awesome! It was one of such a great, amazing and very inspiring leaders talk event. I believed that all of the ACE Programme Batch 7 participants and the audience learned so much from it.
It was an honour having Ms. Liz at the leaders talk session virtually, where she had shared her stories based on her professional work journey and experience in humanitarian development across the globe.
As she said, “Lean your compass north and trust it. It will guide you in many good ways in your leadership journey. As Chief Executive, I only shine because of what our team achieved, our amazing volunteer team and also our staff”. It was fantastic and really motivated me.
I found that the Leaders Talk was a very beneficial and successful event. It meets the theme of the event, “Developing the Future Leaders of ASEAN in Disaster Management”, and the ultimate goal of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme is to prepare the disaster management professionals to be the future leaders with expertise in humanitarian assistance operations and in strengthening the operationalisation of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’.
As a guest speaker, she successfully rocked the boat and woke up her audience with a meaningful and indeed inspiring leadership sharing session. It had a great turnout and a lot of positive feedback following the event, especially during the Question and Answer session. Overall a very engaging afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the Leaders Talk. It was the most interesting and inspiring Leaders Talk session that I have found.
This event also marked the final week of the fully online module of the ACE Programme Batch 7 since 28 July 2021. Despite the current situation of COVID-19, the AHA Centre team is still committed to continuing its efforts in delivering World Class education for disaster management professionals in the ASEAN region. The team has worked tirelessly with partners to transform a large part of the ACE Programme into a 19-week online module. A very interactive discussion and lesson, I can say throughout participating in this online learning.
On behalf of the ACE Programme Batch 7 participants, I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all great mentors during our online learning journey, especially to AHA Centre and the Government of Japan, as well as the Government of New Zealand and the United States, the United Nations Agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, GNS Science, AADMER Partnership Group, RedR Australia, US Forest Service, and Academic Institutions such as the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies (APCSS). Kudos to the AHA Centre Team and all great mentors! Thank you for giving us this opportunity.
Written by : Siti Joriahati Johari binti Johari, Disaster Management Officer, National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), ACE Programme Batch Seven – Brunei Darussalam | Photo Credit: doc. Siti Joriahati Johari binti Johari & Map ACtion
AN INTERNSHIP STORY:
I am Excel Botigan, and I am currently pursuing a master’s degree under the NOHA+ Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree Programme in International Humanitarian Action. I spent my first semester at University College Dublin in Ireland (home university) and my second semester at the University of Warsaw (host university). Considering my goal of broadening my knowledge in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), I chose to take the work placement track for my third semester. That is how I decided to apply for an internship at the AHA Centre.
My interest in DRRM and humanitarian action was shaped by my work experience at the Office of Civil Defense, which is the implementing arm of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in the Philippines. This is where I first heard about the AHA Centre. However, I never thought that I would have the chance to do an internship in this regional organisation that facilitates disaster management in ASEAN. It was indeed a great opportunity, and I am very grateful for it.
Throughout my internship, I was given interesting tasks, but there are two assignments that I consider to be the most memorable. First, I got the chance to listen to the unedited conversations between the first two AHA Centre Executive Directors, Pak Said Faisal and Ibu Adelina Kamal, when I was tasked to transcribe some of their recorded exchanges to be included in one of the AHA Centre publications. Through these recorded conversations and the AHA Centre at the Crossroads podcast on Spotify, I came to know and understand the birth pains of the AHA Centre as well as how the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) was organized. I was amazed while listening to how these two leaders worked during the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and during Cyclone Nargis in 2008 when there were no specific central coordination mechanisms and no ready-to-deploy emergency response teams. They showed passion beyond duty, and their stories made me reflect on my personal DRRM experience. Compared to them, I would say that I am still a toddler in this field – a toddler who is very much inspired by their stories.
Second, my task to gather some pieces of information about the ten ASEAN National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs) served as a window for me to take a glimpse at how the other ASEAN countries deal with disasters. Although these NDMOs are structured in different ways, most of them involve a council or a committee composed of various government agencies, private institutions, and civil society organisations, among others. This further proves that a multidisciplinary whole-of-nation approach is necessary to efficiently and effectively address all aspects of DRRM and that no single agency/organisation can handle it all.
Despite doing the whole internship online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was manageable because my supervisors were responsive, and they made me feel that I was part of the team by including me in their discussions, meetings, and training. Personally, I believe that it is important for an organisation to make their employees and interns feel a sense of belongingness, especially during these times when almost everything is virtual, because it boosts the individual’s productivity. These experiences motivate me to visit AHA Centre and meet my supervisors Ms. Caroline Widagdo and Ms. Merry Rismayani in the near future.
In summary, I would say that my six-month internship at AHA Centre was EPIC (exciting, practical, informative, and constructive) as it has greatly complimented my educational learning objectives, and it further encouraged me to continue my career in DRRM and humanitarian action.
Written by: Excel Botigan | Photo Credit: doc. Excel Botigan
AN INTERNSHIP STORY:
ALIFIA PUTRI RAHMADEWI – A GATEWAY TO MANY OPPORTUNITIES
In July 2019, I was instructed by my internship supervisor at the time to visit the AHA Centre office at the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) Headquarters in Jakarta. I had never heard about the AHA Centre and didn’t know much about the disaster management field beforehand. I was impressed by the big screens lining up on the wall in a room, which I learned was the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) room at the AHA Centre office. Nevertheless, learning about the AHA Centre’s roles and functions sparked my enthusiasm for disaster management and humanitarian assistance works. As I was leaving the AHA Centre office, I said to myself that: “One day, I will work here”. And so, that was how it started.
My name is Alifia Putri Rahmadewi (Fia). I majored in International Relations at Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia. After my unforgettable visit to the AHA Centre, I finished my previous internship to continue my studies. A few days after I graduated, I joined the AHA Centre as an intern. For me, joining the AHA Centre internship programme was the best decision as it was a very fruitful experience and provided a positive contribution towards my self-development journey.
I was selected to be part of the ASEAN Standards and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND) Project Management Team (PMT), joining Andrew Mardanugraha as the Project Coordinator, Ririn Haryani as the Project Officer and Haura Mayang as Project Assistant. The ASCEND project focuses on developing disaster management standards and certification for disaster management professions in the ASEAN region. Although I had a basic knowledge of disaster management in ASEAN before, I had less understanding of the professional certification process in this field of work. Luckily, the ASCEND project team members were always willing to share any subject matters related to the Project and their experiences working as humanitarian workers that I was keen to learn.
One of my primary tasks was to develop a pre-departure handbook for the Benchmark Study to South Korea that is planned to take place in 2022. The team always encouraged me to challenge myself to elevate my skills and open up my knowledge horizon. Indeed I was challenged, but on the other hand, I was also given the freedom to develop the handbook’s contents and take care of the design. Not only did this task teach me the difference between disaster management in ASEAN and the Republic of Korea, but it also sharpened my skills in writing and layouting a publication, and I even gained new design software skills. With full support from the ASCEND PMT, I was able to finish the handbook with a satisfactory outcome by the end of my internship this early February 2022.
The ASCEND team always included me in official meetings, workshops, and other events. From there, I learned a lot about ASEAN, starting from its administrative system, bureaucratic system, and practices that I didn’t get in college. Because the Project is still in its early stage, I had a chance to learn a lot about project management, from planning, implementation to evaluation, as my team always included me in Project activities.
I was also included in training and courses held for the staff of the AHA Center. I remember having disaster management and humanitarian assistance courses with the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme participants. They are all experienced in their field, and sharing the same platform was an honour. I also participated in content writing training which enhanced my writing skill and is beneficial for my future career development.
Overall, an internship at the AHA Centre is an excellent experience. The working environment was positive and supportive towards the intern’s self-development and growth. Interns have many opportunities to channel their capabilities while gaining new ones. For me, a fresh graduate who is interested in the disaster management and humanitarian assistance line of work, an internship at the AHA Centre was very inspiring and now can become a gateway to many opportunities for my future endeavours.
Written by: Alifia Putri Rahmadewi | Photo Credit: doc. Alifia Putri Rahmadewi
Vol 80 – THE DELSA SATELLITE WAREHOUSE IN CHAINAT, THAILAND: A SYMBOL OF COLLABORATION IN DISASTER RESPONSE
THE DELSA SATELLITE WAREHOUSE IN CHAINAT, THAILAND:
A SYMBOL OF COLLABORATION IN DISASTER RESPONSE
More than two years have passed since the DELSA Satellite Warehouse in Chainat Province, Thailand, was launched in December 2019.
As part of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA), the warehouse was designed to increase the speed and scale of ASEAN’s collective response in the region, mainly in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and is equipped with international-standard stockpiles adjusted to ASEAN needs. It also complements the existing regional reserves stored at the DELSA Regional Stockpile located within the compound of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) in Subang, Malaysia, and the DELSA sister satellite warehouse located in Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines that was launched in July 2019.
Relief items stored at the Chainat warehouse range from kits to be distributed to disaster-affected communities, to vital equipment needed to support on-the-ground operations of the National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) of affected countries and the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT).
Since its inauguration, the DELSA Satellite Warehouse in Chainat has continued to serve as the central logistics hub for the Mekong subregion. From June 2020 – December 2021, the warehouse deployed 2,900 Personal Hygiene Kits (PHK) to the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) of Cambodia, and 2,100 personal hygiene kits and 50 Family Tents to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) of Thailand, to support the ongoing COVID-19 response in both countries.
Key to the successful operationalisation of the DELSA Satellite Warehouse are the partnerships forged between the AHA Centre, as the primary regional coordinating agency in disaster management within the ASEAN region, and the many countries and institutions with concern for the issue of disaster management and response.
The warehouse was built with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and the Ministry of Interior of Thailand to the DELSA project, while its stockpiles are sourced from the contributions of the ASEAN Member States and the AHA Centre’s partners, both public and private sector. In terms of management, the warehouse is co-managed by DDPM Thailand and the AHA Centre. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the AHA Centre and DDPM was signed on Thailand for the establishment of the satellite warehouse in Chainat, Thailand, to house the ASEAN stockpile for immediate deployment in the nearby region.
The AHA Centre will continue to foster meaningful regional and global partnerships to achieve an envisioned fully-integrated regional warehouse system that enables faster response, greater resource mobilisation, and stronger coordination in collective response to disasters in line with the Roadmap for Enhancing ASEAN Emergency Logistics.
Written by : Gladys Respati | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
ASEAN’S MOST FREQUENT NATURAL PHENOMENA
Living in Southeast Asia, not a week goes by without hearing of an earthquake, flood, tornado, or other natural hazard occurring somewhere in the region. Natural hazards stem from sources ranging from geological, meteorological, hydrological to oceanic, among others. Sometimes, these hazards act in combination, resulting in the phenomena known as hydro-meteorological hazards.
The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) defines hydro-meteorological hazards as “the process or phenomenon of atmospheric, hydrological, or oceanographic nature that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage”. They account for over 75% of damages related to disasters, including casualties, economic losses, infrastructure damage, and disruption to everyday life.
These types of hazards include tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes), floods (and flash floods), drought, thunderstorms, coastal storm surges, and heatwaves. Hydro-meteorological hazards can also influence other risks such as landslides, wildfires, and epidemics.
The ASEAN region is especially prone to hydro-meteorological phenomena due to its geographic setting and climate. In 2021 alone, the ASEAN Disaster Information Network (ADINet) recorded that out of the 1,406 disasters that occurred in the ASEAN region, 99% were classified as hydro-meteorological in nature. One of the worst hydro-meteorological hazards to hit Southeast Asia in the last decade is Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines), which struck on 8 November 2013. It is largely considered to be one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in world history, with wind gusts reaching up to 320 km/hour. It affected over 16 million people, with 6,300 deaths, 1,000 missing persons, and 28,000 injuries recorded in the aftermath.
Though hydro-meteorological hazards have always been around, the ongoing effects of climate change are expected to exacerbate disasters associated with these hazards. Rising heat in the atmosphere and warmer ocean surface temperatures cause changes in weather patterns, disrupting the delicate balance of nature. Droughts become longer and more intense, affecting crop yields and the economies of farming communities. Meanwhile, tropical storms grow larger and fiercer, and rising sea levels erode coastlines, threatening the lives and livelihoods of coastal populations. Even densely populated urban communities are not exempt from the risks, as severe flooding can result in damage to infrastructure and financial loss.
Though the intensifying frequency and severity of hydro-meteorological hazards pose a threat to ASEAN countries, hydro-meteorological hazards can often be anticipated and monitored through weather forecasting, meaning that governments and communities have the chance to prepare, respond, and even evacuate accordingly. Having early warning systems in place can greatly increase the odds of survival and lessen the human and economic impact of hydro-meteorological hazards.
Adequate preparation and protective measures can be taken to prevent such hazards from turning into severe disasters. These include constructing typhoon-resistant structures and housing, improving infrastructures to better absorb and retain water during heavy rains or storms, planting mangroves along shorelines to protect coastal areas from storm surges and winds, and educating communities on how to respond during the event of a hazard, in order to prevent human casualties. Additionally, governments, the private sector, and the public must all actively participate in climate change mitigation to limit global warming and reduce its effects on the climate.
At the end of the day, learning and adapting to live alongside the natural hazards will be the key to developing ASEAN into a robust and resilient region.
• AHA Centre, Disaster by the Numbers 2021
Written by: Gladys Respati
MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
DECEMBER 2021 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL REVIEW OF DECEMBER 2021
For the month of December 2021, a total of 204 disasters were reported. The ASEAN Member States that were affected are Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Most of the disasters (88.73%) occurred in Indonesia but the highest number of affected people were reported for the Philippines at more than 8 million. The number of affected persons from the Philippines comprised the majority of the tally for the month of December (87.36%) and is attributed with the developments of Tropical Cyclone RAI. The share of the disaster-affected people for the other ASEAN Member States are as follows: (1) Indonesia-8.6%, (2) Malaysia-0.71%, (3) Myanmar-0.001%, (4) Thailand-0.15%, and (5) Viet Nam-%. December 2021 saw disasters affecting 1,410 per 100,000 people* and displacing 117 per 100,000 people* in the region, which were 8 times and 28 times higher respectively compared with the previous month. December 2021 accounts for 14.51% of the total disasters (1,406), 71.69% of the total cost of damages (814.8 Million USD), and 69.83% of the total cost of assistance provided (21.1 Million USD) reported so far in the current year.
Most of the disasters that have occurred in December 2021 are floods (74.02%) and is consistently the most recorded type of disaster for December of the previous year and December on a five-year average (2016-2020). December 2021 saw disasters caused by hydrometeorological hazards (flood, rain-induced landslides, storm, winds) affecting 99.68% of the total affected persons for the month. The reported disasters in the region for December 2021 in comparison to the historical data (average for December 2016-2020) indicates that there were 7.5x more reported disasters; 3.4x more people affected; 4.6x more people displaced; 15.7x more houses affected to some extent; 5.8x more lives lost; 16.2x more people suffering injuries; and lastly, 10.5x more people that have gone missing.
*Computed based on 2020 population data from worldometers.com
According to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), compared to the average value from 2001-2020, during December 2021, rainfall was above-average over coastal central parts of Viet Nam, Peninsular Malaysia, and the southern half of the Philippines. The largest positive anomalies (wetter conditions) were detected over central Philippines and Peninsular Malaysia (due to Super Typhoon RAI and Tropical Depression 29W respectively, which made landfall in mid-December), for both satellite-derived rainfall estimates datasets (GSMaP-NRT and CMORPH-Blended). As expected, the start of the dry season for the northern ASEAN region resulted in negligible rainfall anomalies for the rest of Mainland Southeast Asia, where only four disasters caused by floods were reported. Meanwhile, for the equatorial ASEAN region, a mix of above- and below-average rainfalls were observed and accordingly, a number of hydrometeorological disasters were reported.
In the month of December 2021, the Northeast Monsoon was established over a majority of the ASEAN region and is expected to persist until late March 2022. It is during this period that inter-monsoon conditions will typically start to develop. Climatologically, the northern ASEAN region experiences its traditional dry season during the period with the prevailing low-level winds blowing from the northeast or east. Wet conditions will typically prevail over the southern ASEAN region as the monsoon rain band progresses south of the equator. This is seen to occur during the beginning of the outlook period before becoming drier and occasionally windy. This happens as the region experiences the dry phase of the Northeast Monsoon starting late January to early March. The prevailing low-level winds over the southern ASEAN region are expected to blow from the north or northwest. Hydrometeorological disasters are likely as the monsoon rain band moves towards the south of the equator and are less likely for the northern ASEAN region and the southern ASEAN region in the coming weeks during the transition into the dry phase of the Northeast Monsoon.
In the coming period (January to March 2022), there is an increased chance of above-normal rainfall over eastern parts of the Maritime Continent and the Malay Peninsula. La Niña conditions are present. Models are predicting weak to moderate La Niña conditions until March-April 2022, after which the conditions are predicted to return to neutral during April-June 2022. Warmer-than-usual temperature is expected for much of the Maritime Continent (except the Malay Peninsula where near-normal temperature is predicted) and Myanmar during JFM 2022.
Hotspot activities and smoke haze situation are seen to intensify especially in northern parts of Myanmar as the traditional dry season over the northern ASEAN region progresses. Subdued hotspot activities are expected in the southern ASEAN region due to the current wet conditions, but localised hotspots can still occur occasionally during the transition to the dry phase of the Northeast Monsoon.
*Note from ASMC: The qualitative outlook is assessed for the region in general and based on the latest runs from models provided by the SEA RCC-Network LRF node. For specific updates on the national scale, the relevant ASEAN National Meteorological and Hydrological Services should be consulted.
Sources: ASEAN Disaster Information Network (ADINet), ASEAN Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) – Indonesia, Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA) – Malaysia, Department of Disaster Management (DDM) – Myanmar, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) – Philippines, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) – Thailand, Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA) – Viet Nam, Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG) – Indonesia, Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) – Indonesia, Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) – Myanmar, Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) – Philippines, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) – Philippines
Written by : Keith Paolo Landicho, Sadhu Zukhruf Janottama, Lawrence Anthony Dimailig
The AHA Centre’s estimation is based on data and information shared by National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) and other relevant agencies from ASEAN Member States, international organisations, and news agencies. Further information on each recorded significant disaster, description, and detail of data and information are available at: http://adinet.ahacentre.org/reports.
ASEAN STANDS IN SOLIDARITY
WITH THE TYPHOON-AFFECTED PEOPLE IN THE PHILIPPINES
On 16 December 2021, Typhoon Rai (known as Odette in the Philippines) made landfall on Siargao Island in southeastern Philippines, leaving a devastating trail of debris and human casualties in its wake. More than 3 million persons were affected by the disaster, resulting in the over 250 deaths while another 568 persons were injured and 47 reported missing.
The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) immediately responded to the crisis by mobilising ASEAN relief items stockpiled at the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, the Philippines. This mobilisation aimed to augment the government’s ongoing efforts to help people affected by Typhoon Rai (Odette) in the Philippines.
A total of 541 shelter repair kits, 275 family tents, 5,000 family kits, 1,000 rolls of tarpaulin, 5,000 personal hygiene kits, and 1,000 kitchen sets were delivered with the support of the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and Direct Relief. Facilitated by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) of the Philippines, the ASEAN relief items were transported to the regions severely affected by Typhoon Rai (Odette), namely the provinces of Surigao, Cebu, and Bohol.
In the Letter of Condolences sent to Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, Secretary-General (SG) of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi highlighted that the ASEAN stood ready to support the on-going humanitarian and disaster-relief efforts. SG Dato Lim stated that “I have strong confidence in the leadership of the Government of Philippines and the people’s resilience to bring about normalcy in the affected areas”.
Mr. Lee Yam Ming, Executive Director of the AHA Centre, conveyed the Centre’s deepest sympathies to those who had been affected by the disaster. “The AHA Centre has been monitoring the disaster situation in the Philippines since the last two weeks when several weather disturbances were first identified” he said. The Centre activates the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) when receiving and gathering information about the potential impacts caused by weather disturbances.
He stated that the mobilisation of ASEAN relief items represented tangible ASEAN solidarity in the spirit of ‘One ASEAN, One Response’. The ASEAN relief items, he continued, demonstrated the tangible support from the ASEAN Member States to the typhoon-affected people in the Philippines.
The AHA Centre worked closely with the Office of Civil Defense of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (OCD – NDRRMC) in the Philippines, as well as ASEAN countries and partners in monitoring the situation and identifying potential regional support. An In-Country Liaison Team (ICLT) was also deployed to closely work with the Philippine government. “The AHA Centre will be closely monitoring the situation in the Philippines with the relevant stakeholders and be ready to provide necessary support,” he concluded.
Written by : Gladys Respati | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
KIRAN MAULANA HUSNI
Becoming an intern at the AHA Centre was an unforgettable experience for me. During my three-month communications internship programme, I learned how the Centre manages disasters and provides humanitarian assistance in the region. I am certain that the knowledge I gained from the internship programme will be very useful in my future career development.
My name is Kiran Maroep Maulana Husni, I am 22 years old, a student at Telkom University, Indonesia, majoring in International ICT Business. I was born and raised in Tasikmalaya, West Java, Indonesia, but currently live in Serpong, Tangerang Selatan.
My journey as a communications intern at the AHA Centre started in June 2021 when I saw an internship advertised on the AHA Centre’s website. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to gain experience working in a regional organisation. Realising that disaster management was a new field for me, I challenged myself to apply for that position. To be honest it felt like a gamble for me applying for an internship with an organisation and in a field with which I had no previous experience. Eventually, I submitted my application and waited for word back.
In July, I received an email from the AHA Centre asking me whether I was still interested in the programme, I replied, “Yes, definitely!” Long story short, I was invited to an online interview and a few weeks later I was told that I was hired as a communications intern and my starting date was 2nd August.
As a communications intern, under the supervision of Mr. Moch Syifa, the Communications Officer, my main responsibilities were assisting in conducting media monitoring and social media planning. Social media planning was not a new field for me as I had experience from my previous organisation. However, again, planning social media content on disaster-management issues was a big challenge. At the beginning, I had to conduct online research on disaster-management issues in ASEAN to broaden my knowledge. I learned many new specific and very technical terms during my research, which was a bit stressful.
Aside from assisting in social media planning and media monitoring, I also had the opportunity to join in several important events, such as the opening ceremony of Batch Seven of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, the Fourth EU-ASEAN Cooperation and Scholarship Day, and other meetings with partners, consultants and suppliers. During the meetings, I learned a lot about how the Centre works together with other partners and stakeholders.
Managing communications, particularly for a regional organisation like the AHA Centre, is not easy. I discovered that mapping the audience is significant in order to develop strategies and content for social media. From the media monitoring activity, I learned that studying conversations on social media and in mainstream media was crucial to understanding whether our communications strategies were well implemented or needed some improvements.
Finally, I would like to thank the AHA Centre for giving me opportunities and presenting me with challenges during my internship programme, it has given me strength and widened my knowledge. Thank you Mr. Syifa, as my supervisor, for being patient as you accompanied me on my learning journey. The AHA Centre expanded my knowledge and experience, especially given that I was new to disaster management. I would recommend that other students also apply for internship programmes at the Centre, since they will gain a lot of precious knowledge.
Written by : Kiran Maulana Husni | Photo Credit: Doc. Kiran Husni
M. SHEEDY BIN SIES
The online learning component for Batch Seven of the ACE Programme will soon come to an end, having covered a vast range of disaster management-related skills and information. Before I share more about the highlights of the course thus far, let me introduce myself. I am Sheedy Bin Sies, Staff Officer for Operations Resources in the Logistics Department of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), and I am honoured to have been given this opportunity to be part of the ACE Programme.
When we first began this journey with the ACE Programme in July 2021, the four-month online learning phase seemed absolutely daunting to all of us. Due to the ongoing global pandemic that prevented us from attending the course face-to-face in Jakarta, we had to adapt to the “new normal” of learning in the online environment. It was difficult to get excited about the prospect of staring at a computer screen for many hours of lessons. Little did we think how quickly time would pass during the programme. With the highly engaging and interactive lessons, and the creative activities conducted by our course administrators, the months flew by and now we are approaching the final days of the online learning component.
Overall, the ACE Programme has broadened my views on disaster management. For example, I am now more aware of sustainability, gender and inclusivity, and other cross-cutting issues to consider when implementing emergency plans or responses. These are several of the aspects to which I will pay more attention in local SCDF operations, as well as in the context of the regional response. I have also improved my communications skills during this programme. Being exposed to people with different backgrounds, areas of specialty and communication styles, has emphasized the need to speak clearly, using terminology that will be easily understood by everyone.
One of the courses that I found to be very enlightening was System and Design Thinking in Disaster Management, which was presented in partnership with the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. This course emphasized the importance of fully analysing the situation before proposing solutions, especially when faced with novel challenges. Through the use of Causal Loop development, we learnt to determine the relationships between the various components in a problem and to visualise how they affect one another.
Another course that I thought was highly applicable to us was the Project Management and Proposal Writing course facilitated by RedR Australia. This course equipped us with the tools needed to fully analyse a problem, identify suitable objectives of the project, and create a logical framework to lay out the project design in a systematic way. A key aspect of this course was the group project proposal assignment. This assignment gave us the experience of developing a full project proposal based on a case study, with the valuable guidance of our facilitators. This helped us to refine our thought process in developing a project proposal such that the project will be results-focused and consider accountability, sustainability, protection and inclusion. The lessons learnt in this course will certainly be valuable to us, as a good project proposal is essential in getting buy-in from our stakeholders to approve and support any of our future projects.
The courses that we have undertaken during the online learning phase have indeed been well planned and designed to help us build the foundations that we need to become effective future leaders in disaster management. However, above all, one aspect that I have appreciated the most is the valuable contributions of my fellow ACE Programme participants. During the numerous discussions throughout the programme, they have openly shared their past experiences in various areas of disaster management. These have given me valuable insights into the challenges faced by the various countries, as well as the best practices in overcoming them. I have also been impressed by the wealth of ideas they have presented during the many activities and presentations that we had during the programme. The ACE Programme participants have made me realise that our dedicated pool of disaster-management practitioners is the best asset that we have in building a disaster-ready and disaster-resilient ASEAN.
Written by: Muhammad Sheedy bin Sies, ACE Programme Batch Seven – Singapore| Photo Credit : Muhammad Sheedy bin Sies
STRENGTHENING GENDER-RESPONSIVE DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Recognizing that gender mainstreaming is important in disaster management, the AHA Centre has partnered in the past years with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, or UN Women. A global champion for gender equality, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on women’s and girl’s rights worldwide. Alongside other United Nations partners, UN Women’s collaborations with the AHA Centre fall under the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management (JSPADM).
With the adoption of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response Work Programme 2021-2025, ASEAN has taken gender and social inclusion as a guiding principle for the implementation of all its disaster management work. Through an ECHO-funded programme called “Strengthening Gender-Responsive Disaster Management in ASEAN,” UN Women works in close collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat and the Technical Working Group on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion, of which the AHA Centre is a key member, to support operationalization of this guiding principle.
The AHA Centre and UN Women have partnered to provide disaster management actors in the region with capacity strengthening on gender and social inclusion, Alongside sister agencies UNFPA and UNICEF, UN Women has delivered courses to officials from ASEAN national disaster management organizations on rapid assessments for women and children. UN Women and UNFPA also contribute to AHA Centre initiatives such as the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics Innovation Expo (HELiX) through organizing dialogues on accountability in humanitarian logistics, and providing key “musts” for hackathon participants to consider in their solutions to not widen the gender digital gap.
Building on ASEAN momentum in strengthening risk governance to become more responsive to the needs of women, girls, and marginalized groups, UN Women emphasizes the critical importance of also recognizing their roles as leaders and agents of change in disaster management. The launch of the ASEAN Regional Framework on Protection, Gender, and Inclusion in Disaster Management 2021-2025 in October 2021 marked a key step forward in this. The AHA Centre continues to have a key role to play in operationalizing target actions including for the leadership of those most impacted by disasters. For example, the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook notes that women only form 25% of regional Emergency Response and Assessment Team trainers and members, even though women make up 50.1% of the ASEAN population – partnerships with organizations like UN Women can support in creating enabling environments for increasing not only the number of women on teams, but also their influence and voice.
With strong policies and strengthened capacities and understanding on gender, the next step is to implement the frameworks into concrete actions. Substantive progress has already been made to better understand the impacts of disasters on those most vulnerable. Moving forward, supporting and resourcing women’s organizations and gender machineries in the ASEAN region which have contributed to the gender-responsive disaster risk reduction is key.
As the AHA Centre enters its second decade of operations, it will continue to draw upon and exchange experiences with UN Women on gender-responsive disaster management and response, contributing to a more equal, resilient region for all.
Written by : Judith Garcia Meese | Photo Credit : Doc. UN Women