INTRODUCING CHARLES SILVA
LACER PROJECT TEAM LEADER
The AHA Center welcomed in August a new team leader for the LACER project, Mr Charles Silva of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).
He has previously implemented capacity-building projects in Southeast Asia, a region that he “respects and holds dear”, but the LACER project offers a big leap in scope, given the significant number of people served by the project and its partner institution the AHA Centre. The ASEAN countries have a combined population of over 650 million people and collectively face growing risks from natural disasters and their increasing impact. Recurring earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, flooding and pandemics take a big toll on the region. For this reason, Charles sought the LACER role as he sees himself solidly contributing to addressing this widening humanitarian challenge and the urgent need to reduce the scale of damage, injury and economic loss caused by disasters.
Charles is well used to working in different countries and cultures, a capability which will prove very useful in the ASEAN region, which encompasses many different ethnicities, languages, cultures and histories. His background combines more than 15 years of experience leading initiatives in humanitarian response and capacity-strengthening in disaster risk reduction and management (DRR/DRM) and this should greatly assist him in making the LACER project a success.
What attracted Charles to the AHA Centre was its dedicated team of qualified staff who currently deliver services across a number of key functions of disaster preparedness, response and recovery. He is looking forward to building on this and helping the AHA Centre team to achieve improved capacity in these areas and indeed over the broader range of project areas made accessible by LACER, while in parallel using the links created by the project to strengthen institutional ties between ASEAN bodies and their counterparts in the EU. Charles is convinced that this cooperation will provide a big boost to the overall capacity of ASEAN’s DRR/DRM strategies.
Like the MSB, each national disaster management organisation across the ASEAN region has a unique way of working and a national context in which it operates. According to Charles, this makes cooperation very complex but at the same time rewarding because each agency can contribute something special and important to the regional effort. “I am really eager and interested to expand my learning of how these national agencies undertake key functions such as preparedness and mitigation to understand their potential contribution to the regional capacity,” Charles said.
When asked what he most looks forward to in the coming weeks, he replied that he had a very hands-on approach to his work, so that above all, he was looking forward to quickly deploying to Jakarta and meeting his counterparts in the AHA Centre in person. He also wants to become more familiar with the team here and ongoing activities, as well as launching new activities under the project.
“We have a lot of exciting initiatives coming up and I am eager to roll these out together with our highly capable partners across the ASEAN region”
The father of two children, Olivier, 8, and Leah, who is still a toddler, Charles and his wife Gitu have their home base in Stockholm, but have been on the road for many years, working in humanitarian contexts such as Myanmar and Iraq. The family spent several years in Nepal, where both parents engaged in rebuilding infrastructure damaged by the devastating earthquakes of 2015. They live an active lifestyle and enjoy skiing, sailing and hiking together.
Written by : LACER Project team & Michael Hillary Hegarty | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
MAKING THE GRADE WITH
THE ACE PROGRAMME BATCH SEVEN
Allow me to introduce myself, I am Men Kung and I am currently a Deputy Provincial Director in Charge of Public Administration Reform in the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Permanent Secretary of the Provincial Committee for Disaster Management.
I have been selected as the only representative from Cambodia in the Seventh Batch of the ACE Programme. At its fundamental level, the knowledge about disaster management is learned from doing and experience, and also from workshops and meetings. Nevertheless, I did not expect to get the chance to attend such a terrific course as the ACE Programme.
These past two months the ACE Programme has allowed me to examine the key elements that have been initiated and lead-operated by the AHA Centre to build capacity among public officials in ASEAN Member States. All the teaching materials in each course under the Programme have been extremely comprehensive and the staff are very experienced. During this Programme I have studied many topics relevant to disaster management such as English communications for disaster management, critical incident leadership, the importance of gender, resilience, inclusivity and diversity, the role of the international humanitarian system, ASEAN disaster mechanisms, system and design thinking and many other critical topics in the wide-ranging schedule.
All the above courses have been very important but I especially enjoyed the critical incident leadership course. This course was delivered by GNS New Zealand with the support of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The course helped me to develop and strengthen my knowledge about new leadership models that relate to my role within organisations and society, both in terms of public administration reform and disaster management, including the framework of meta-leadership, self-awareness and self-reflection.
Furthermore, the ACE Programme also provides opportunities to all participants from ASEAN Member States to share their experiences and encourage cooperation and collaboration to achieve the unique concept of “One ASEAN, One Response”, with a long journey and clear vision and mission. The ACE Programme is on the way to building human resources for ASEAN to inspire future leaders in disaster management.
Based on the curriculum and the results of this training programme, it is clear that the AHA Center is making a significant contribution to building ASEAN’s potential towards achieving ASEAN global integration through peace, prosperity and development, today and in the future. Having entered on the path of the ACE Programme, I intend to study hard and be respectful of the guidelines that have been formulated and hopefully together with my fellow participants to implement the goals of the programme.
Written by: Men Kung, ACE Programme Batch Seven – Cambodia | Photo : AHA Centre
ANGIN AND HELiX,
FORGING THE LINK BETWEEN INNOVATORS AND INVESTORS
When the AHA Centre planned the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Innovation Expo (HELiX), which was held virtually from 24 to 25 May, it sought a partner to work collaboratively with in the event and to connect HELiX with the investment network. Having worked previously with Mr Ilham Nugraha, Resource Mobilisation Officer of the AHA Centre, Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN) was happy to join HELiX and offer support for particular activities in the event.
ANGIN is always in search of greater innovation in solving key emergency and development issues. This is not just the aim of the ANGIN team but also its investors who are committed to going beyond merely generating financial returns. They, therefore, saw HELiX as a fine opportunity to source and access the pipeline of ideas and innovations across ASEAN. ANGIN provided support by being part of the iPitch judging panel, where it used its experience to best provide an overview of the performance of the contestants’ ideation toward the next stage. ANGIN also extended support by providing coaching sessions for the iPitch winners to strengthen their knowledge and to connect to the investing network in order to sell their ideas.
ANGIN Investment runs the largest early-stage investment platform in Indonesia, acting as a bridge between the investors and entrepreneurs in fundraising. It has invested in more than 110 entrepreneurs leveraging a network of more than 130 investors. Meanwhile ANGIN Advisory provides consulting services to the private and public sectors on key projects related to entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development Goals. It has developed a strong track record in terms of research, program implementation, events and policy advisory.
ANGIN had worked with several partners in Indonesia in terms of emergency response such as COVID-19, migrant integration and even after the 2018 tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, but HELiX was the first time ANGIN had the privilege of collaborating at the regional level.
What ANGIN hopes to achieve is to be able to support more entrepreneurs in their journey to building solutions for disaster management. The team, investors and partners believe they can be instrumental in providing these entrepreneurs with the capital to start and grow their ventures, and the access to key networks and to solid industry insights.
Going forward and in light of the fact that ANGIN has worked with young innovators in many sectors, particularly in innovation, it feels that there is much that can be improved upon in the disaster-management sector, particularly with regard to innovation and youth participation.
First and foremost, what is required is more speed. In disaster management, speed is critical, and ANGIN would like to see greater speed in terms of development, first pilot and full deployment. The development time frame is frequently too long. In the solutions that ANGIN has seen launched in response to COVID-19, the time has been drastically foreshortened and innovations, for instance vaccines and testing, have been launched in months when previously it would have taken years.
ANGIN is also seeking to upscale the reach and depth of impact. Too many innovations remain too “local” and lack the power to be seen being deployed in other regions, issues or among other populations. Scale is really a mindset that entrepreneurs should embrace and ANGIN in collaboration with the AHA Centre hopes to achieve that in the future.
Written by : Ilham Nugraha & Michael Hillary Hegarty
LET’S GET HACKING
A major component of the Humanitarian and Emergency Logistics Innovation Expo (HELiX) 2021 is the upcoming AHAckathon competition. This competition, a hackathon (big clue in the name), is an exciting new concept for the AHA Centre and has been launched as an effort to engage more students, young people and professionals in the process of producing innovations to support humanitarian logistics and supply-chain management for the ASEAN region. But what exactly is a hackathon?
The word hackathon itself is a portmanteau of “hacking” and “marathon”, and as such is a race in which software developers, programmers, interface designers, project managers and others collaborate in developing a programme or software. The participating teams are normally given a deadline, often 48 hours, to work on the software at a marathon-like work pace. The competition is not limited only to programmers or those with coding expertise, but also to project managers or designers, as the team has to work on developing a solution to questions provided for a certain theme.
The general concept is that each team will be provided with the theme and set of questions for them to work together in developing software that can help to solve the problems. Hackathon competitions have become widely popular since the mid to late 2000s as a tool for companies and venture capitalists to develop software technologies in a short time and then promote them for potential funding.
Nowadays, the competitions are no longer limited to the commercial and private sector but also other sectors such as government and humanitarian agencies. The hackathon is a venue for all sectors to promote innovation and gather solutions, specifically from students and young people, who are normally the main target participants of the competition.
The AHAckathon is being staged by the AHA Centre as part of HELIX 2021, in partnership with the Viet Nam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA) and in cooperation with HELP Logistics, Impact Week and LaunchLabs. The event is supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).
AHAckathon participants have to propose software or application-based solutions to identified problems in humanitarian logistics. The teams will have 48 hours to work and finish the software or application. Representatives of the ASEAN Member States and from universities and other humanitarian partners will serve as judges of the competition.
THE TEAMS ARE EXPECTED TO PROVIDE AN APPLICATION-BASED SOLUTION TO ANY OR A COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS:
How can humanitarian needs be quickly identified or estimated?
How can relief assistance be distributed more quickly, be better tracked and their receipt reported efficiently?
How can affected communities be better informed about assistance and provide feedback?
How can customs, immigration and quarantine protocols be processed more quickly?
How can decision-makers be better informed about the needs, progress and feedback from the response?
The purpose of the AHAckathon is to promote innovative solutions and collaboration to support the improvement of humanitarian logistics for the ASEAN Member States and humanitarian communities in the ASEAN region. It is hoped that the competition will trigger more creative ideas to solve the problems identified in relation to many components of the humanitarian logistics and supply-chain management process in the region.
Through the AHAckathon, the AHA Centre and our partners also want to promote collaboration between the commercial and non-commercial sectors. The competition will provide an opportunity for hackers, programmers and project managers across the globe to work together. While in return, they will have an opportunity to get coaching from experienced start-up entrepreneurs and design thinking experts, as well as exposure to potential investors.
The competition is open to students, amateurs and professionals. As we believe a complex problem requires a collaborative effort, individuals and teams may come from different disciplines to work together to unpack the problems and provide solutions. The competition will be conducted virtually from 8-10 October, 2021.
Written by : Caroline Widagdo
MONTHLY DISASTER REVIEW AND OUTLOOK
AUGUST 2021 | DISASTER MONITORING & ANALYSIS
(DMA) UNIT, AHA CENTRE
GENERAL REVIEW OF AUGUST 2021
For the month of August 2021, a total of 72 disasters were reported. The ASEAN Member States that were affected were Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Most of the disasters (72.22%) occurred in Indonesia and comprised nearly half, 45.08%, of the total number of affected people for the month. The share of the disaster-affected people for other ASEAN Member States was as follows: (1) Malaysia-0.07%, (2) Myanmar-0.03%, (3) Philippines-0.13%, (5) Thailand-53.57% and (6) Viet Nam-1.15%. August 2021 saw disasters affecting 92 per 100,000 people* and displacing 1 per 100,000 people* in the region, three times and 57 times fewer than the previous month, respectively. August 2021 accounted for 9.59% of the total disasters reported so far in the current year.
Most of the disasters that occurred in August 2021 were floods (70.83%) and this is consistent with August of the previous year and August on a five-year average (2016-2020). August 2021 saw hydrometeorological disasters (droughts, floods, rain-induced landslides, storms and winds) dominating the disasters that affected the region for the month (98.6%). The reported disasters in the region for August 2021 in comparison with the historical data (average for August 2016-2020) indicates that there were 2.88x more reported disasters; 3.25x fewer people affected; 29.18x fewer people displaced; 3.24x more houses affected to some extent; 2.89x fewer lives lost; 25.17x fewer people suffering injuries; and lastly, 18.5x fewer people reported missing.
Geophysically, 29 significant earthquakes (Magnitude ≥ 5.0) were reported by Indonesia’s Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika (BMKG), and the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). Recent volcanic activity was reported for Ili Lewotolok and Merapi (Alert Level III), Semeru, Dukono, and Ibu (Alert Level II) in Indonesia by the Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG), and Taal (Alert Level 2), Bulusan and Kanlaon (Alert Level 1) by PHIVOLCS. None have resulted in disasters but are continuously being monitored.
*Computed based on 2020 population data from worldometers.com
According to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), compared with the average value from 2001-2020, during August 2021, rainfall was above-average over much of the ASEAN region and below-average over the northeastern ASEAN region. The largest positive anomalies (wetter conditions) were detected over the equatorial region for both satellite-derived rainfall estimate datasets (GSMaP-NRT and CMORPH-Blended). Coincidingly, numerous hydrometeorological disaster events were reported for this area. A disaster (caused by thunderstorms, flooding and landslide), though minor, was reported in northern Viet Nam despite the largest negative anomalies (drier conditions) for the region for August 2021 being detected over the area.
Drought was reported in Cilacap Regency, Central Java, in Indonesia. Based on Figure 2, the equatorial region, along with central and northern Myanmar, experienced near- to below-average temperatures with the warmest anomalies being detected over northern Viet Nam.
According to the situational report from the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, since 28 July 2021 the Southwest Monsoon has brought intense rains to multiple regions of the Philippines and has since affected 312,605 families (1,222,241 persons) from 1,117 barangays. Related incidents to the Southwest Monsoon that impacted multiple regions in the Philippines were floods, rain-induced landslides, a mudslide, an overflowing spillway and swollen rivers. 129 roads and three bridges were affected and 12 roads and one bridge remain impassable. 1,723 houses have reportedly been damaged. The estimated cost of damage to agriculture is reported to be around USD 4,686,168.51 incurred in Regions I, III, VIII, IX and CAR. With regard to infrastructure, an estimated USD 721,025.94 worth of damage has been reported. A total of 40 cities/municipalities were declared under a State of Calamity. Assistance (in the forms of financial, family food packs, other food items, family kits, hygiene kits, sleeping kits, kitchen kits, medical assistance, non-food items) worth USD 204,497.13 have been provided to victims in Regions I, III, VI, CAR and MIMAROPA.
In the coming month, for parts of the ASEAN region north of the Equator, Southwest Monsoon conditions are forecast to continue to persist. The northern ASEAN region will continue to experience its traditional wet season and the southern ASEAN region, its traditional dry season. For October, the equatorial ASEAN region is expected to have increased rainfall during the latter part of the month as the Southwest Monsoon conditions transition into the inter-monsoon period. Southwest Monsoon-associated prevailing winds are expected to blow from the southeast or southwest and gradually weaken and become light and variable in direction during the transition into the inter-monsoon period.
An increased chance of above-normal rainfall over much of the ASEAN region is foreseen for the September to November 2021 period with the highest likelihood over central and southern parts of the Maritime Continent. La Niña-like conditions were detected in August but for the rest of the year, the forecast is still split between ENSO-neutral and La Niña conditions developing. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently in the negative phase and is forecast to return to neutral by November or December 2021. During a negative IOD phase, waters in the eastern Indian Ocean (near Indonesia) tend to be warmer than normal and the southern ASEAN region tend to experience above-average rainfall. Most parts of the ASEAN region will experience warmer-than-usual temperatures from September to November 2021.
Considering the IOD being in the negative phase, the outlook for the equatorial ASEAN region, the outlook for over much of the ASEAN region, and the disaster data records from the ASEAN Disaster Information Network, the number of disaster events (particularly hydrometeorological disasters) and the number of affected persons, are expected to increase in frequency and number, respectively, as the year ends. National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs), relevant authorities and agencies and the public are advised to take necessary preparations and actions accordingly.
*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.
BLENDED FORMAT ENSURES ACE PROGRAMME RESTART
This year, the AHA Centre once again invited talented individuals from the ASEAN Member States to join the latest batch of the ACE Programme. Batch Seven of the ACE Programme was initially planned for 2020 but like so much else it was interrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic did not, however, prevent the AHA Centre from improving and redesigning the delivery of this programme. With the main support from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and various other partners, Batch Seven of ACE Programme is now being conducted through blended mode. The online training kicked off on 28 July 2021, and the onsite part of the programme is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2022.
The cornerstone of the programme lies in the interaction among peers during the six-month duration. It was not an easy decision to convert the ACE Programme into an online setting. Over six years the programme had been delivered face-to-face to build a strong relationship among disaster managers across the region. Now given the challenging conditions in the world, we were forced to be creative and to do things differently. The team went through back-to-back consultations with the Project Steering Committee and NDMOs as well as training partners, weighing all options available without sacrificing the learning objectives. The framework and curriculum remain the same, however, the learning approach has been switched to a Flipped Classroom, where the class is mainly used for discussions, rehearsals and clarifying information. Subsequently, the team sought the most suitable online learning infrastructure to cater to the needs of the ACE Programme.
And it is not only the training delivery itself, the AHA Centre also turned the launch of the programme into a virtual event. On Friday, 6 August 2021, the virtual ceremony for the ACE Programme Batch Seven was held to officially welcome 21 future leaders in disaster management in ASEAN. The event was well-attended by high-level dignitaries from the ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Dialogue Partners. Commissioner Eric Yap from the Singapore Civil Defence Force, H.E. Akira Chiba, Ambassador of Japan to ASEAN, H.E. Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community along with Ms. Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre all delivered their opening remarks to officially launch the 21 professionals in disaster management as the future leaders in disaster management in ASEAN.
Transforming the level of engagement in the online setting event, the invitees actively participated in a trivia quiz about the ACE Programme. The questions recalled the memories and journey that are the past and present of the ACE Programme. It also acknowledged the important role of the partners who support the programme. In fact, the ACE Programme is unique in that it brings together experts in humanitarian assistance and disaster management from around the globe. These partners have facilitated the training programme from the beginning. The Chargé d’Affaires of the New Zealand Mission to ASEAN, Mr. Charlie Gillard; Deputy Head of Office of the OCHA Regional Office Asia Pacific, Mr. Michael Saad; IFRC Head of Country Cluster Support Team and Representative to ASEAN, Mr. Jan Gelfand; Senior Disaster Management Specialist of PDC, Mr. Joel Myhre; and Mr. Jermaine Baltazar Bayas of Oxfam and the AADMER Partnership Group expressed their support, stressing the importance of the ACE Programme, and also encouragement for the participants of this batch.
Written by : Ferosa Arsadita & Shella Ningtias | Photo Credit: AHA Centre
AN INTERNSHIP STORY OF
KNOWING IS BETTER THAN NOT KNOWING
Before proceeding to the heart of the topic, it is proper that I introduce myself. My name is Yohanes Paulus, a graduate in International Relations from International University Liaison Indonesia (IULI). I was introduced to the field of disaster management in the form of a course taken during my studies back in 2018. Our class had the chance to visit the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) building in Jalan Pramuka, Jakarta, on a field trip, during which we saw the AHA Centre’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and the BNPB’s museum, and were introduced to the basics of disaster management.
In all, I am honored that I was able to contribute constructively to the AHA Centre and its activities
Three years later and the world has changed so much since that visit. I was concerned that job opportunities would shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic, and initially I did not have any specific expectations about working in disaster management when I applied to the AHA Centre.
I was delighted that my application was accepted, especially since it was not long after I graduated. Starting out as an intern, I wanted to obtain real work experience in an international setting, and to really learn in practice how international organisations work. The work was indeed very challenging but, in return, I achieved what I aimed for and much more.
In my work supporting the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Innovation Expo (HELiX) – held virtually in May 2021 – I discovered the complicated procedures and unique challenges in relation to connecting many disparate hosts and participants online. Technological know-how in conjunction with organisational and communication skills with fellow teammates and colleagues were the key. Having been involved in every step of the way, to see the event held successfully, with the constructive conversations and innovations that resulted from it, certainly was an unforgettable and rewarding experience.
More generally, I was also exposed to the workings of the AHA Centre and its DELSA network of warehouses for emergency supplies. I became aware of the scale at which the AHA Centre operates and the important role of its work, especially in these very uncertain times and no doubt well into the future, when humanitarian logistics and disaster responses will become increasingly important, especially in ASEAN. I saw how many of the lessons from HELiX, especially relating to clear and effective communications within organisations and the ability to efficiently manage time and tasks, are implemented on the ground. Most importantly, far from being overly focused and specialised, the experience gained from the internship also challenged me to be able to respond to any unexpected situations and needs, and to remain level-headed and alert at all times.
Complications can and do arise, and I made quite a few mistakes. Feeling intimidated or lacking confidence in one’s ability to handle the sheer scale of tasks is a normal reaction. The critical point here is not to let these difficulties prevent you from learning and adapting. Knowing is better than not knowing, and sometimes the only way to obtain knowledge is simply by doing, however imperfectly.
In all, I am honored that I was able to contribute constructively to the AHA Centre and its activities. I still have much to learn, and the experiences I gained during my time as an intern will certainly be a cherished part of my learning journey. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, and I wish the best for the future of the AHA Centre, especially in its 10th anniversary year.
Written by : Yohanes Paulus, DELSA Intern January to July 2021 | Photo Credit : AHA Centre
AHA CENTRE’S MID-TERM REVIEW:
DEEP REFLECTION OF THE PROJECT PERFORMANCE
Following the adoption and implementation of the 2025 Work Plan, the AHA Centre conducted its mid-term review process from 21 to 26 July 2021. Carried out online, this mid-term review was geared towards promoting project performance, learning and evidence-based decision making and management. In particular, the review aimed to assess results achieved from January to June 2021.
Conducting any form of activity online has been a unique challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year. Not only is there “Zoom fatigue” whereby staff are worn out by too many virtual calls and meetings, there is also the fact that despite the comparative ease in setting up such meetings, technology can often fail. Some people lose their internet connections; some even lose electricity. Furthermore virtual mid-term reviews are limited to audio and visual cues, unlike in-person meetings where body language, tone of voice, pacing and gestures add an extra dimension to a speaker’s words. The entire process can lead to tedium in many cases. Nevertheless, the review with careful design and coordination among the Knowledge and Change Management (KCM), ICT and Resource Mobilisation (ResMob) teams, went ahead better than could be expected.
The mid-term review programme was separated into four-half day meetings in which all of the AHA Centre’s staff and senior management took part. Each meeting consisted of plenary and breakout room sessions. The breakout rooms were created based on the Work Plan’s priority programmes. As the AHA Centre has been implementing online project management and monitoring through Zoho since 2018, prior to the review the project team was asked to update its activity progress on that platform.
On the first day of the programme, using a problem tree analysis, the AHA Centre’s staff explored any delays in project implementation, their causes and drew lessons from the delays and provided suggestions for improved implementation to avoid further delays going forward and to ensure the achievement of the project objectives.
It also drew lessons and made recommendations for enhancing project implementation and performance on the second day. This session was the first time everyone was introduced and utilised a tool called a “transformation card deck”. The cards in the transformation deck acted as thought triggers, conversation starters and reflection framers. They helped tease out tacit knowledge, showcased staff experience and allowed for deep reflection. They could be used to design or co-design a project and facilitated support and learning from each phase throughout the project. Even though this tool is ideally used for face-to-face meetings, the AHA Centre’s staff were keen to discover how it could be used online. Both discussions on the problem tree and the transformation card deck were conducted using the Miro interactive virtual meeting tool, where participants could engage in mind mapping together.
Those two sessions led to the adjustment of the activity plan for July to December 2021. The KCM team presented the overall progress and projection for the next phase and provided their analysis on the possible completion rate by the end of 2021 so that the project team could decide on the number of activities and the timeline to achieve their intended targets.
Written by: Merry Rismayani & Caroline Widagdo | Photo : AHA Centre
PAVING THE WAY FOR INNOVATION THROUGH iPITCH
The concept of the Humanitarian Emergency Logistics and Innovation Expo (HELiX) did not come naturally to the AHA Centre. HELiX started as a part of the DELSA Phase II project – a continuation and expanded version of DELSA, a programme that has been implemented by the AHA Centre since 2012. Initially, the concept of HELiX was simply to provide a discussion forum for logistics experts in ASEAN. However, the AHA Centre saw an opportunity to expand HELiX into a marketplace for ideas to support the improvement of humanitarian logistics in the region, bringing in experts from both the commercial and non-commercial sectors. What began as a simple idea about a forum turned into the most ambitious virtual series of events conducted by the AHA Centre to date.
One of the newly included ideas was iPITCH, an innovation-pitching competition aimed at promoting available innovations to solve the humanitarian logistics challenges of the ASEAN Member States and humanitarian communities in the ASEAN region. The idea for iPITCH originated from pitching competitions conducted by investors or technology companies for new and emerging start-ups. Similarly, the AHA Centre sought to use HELiX as an opportunity to select the best innovations in humanitarian logistics and introduce them to a broader audience of potential users and investors. iPITCH adopted three start-up stages of innovation – Ideation, Prototype and Scale-up – as categories in the competition. What made IPITCH unique was that the ideas submitted should answer challenges in the ASEAN region in terms of humanitarian logistics and supply-chain management.
The process of iPITCH started with a call for ideas from innovators in the ASEAN region and beyond. The AHA Centre then invited eight selected ideas to be presented in the Final Pitch on 25 May 2021. The innovators of the eight selected ideas came from academic and research institutions, humanitarian organisations and the private sector. On the panel of judges were representatives from the ASEAN Member States, the Government of Japan as a donor for the DELSA Phase II project, Angel Investment Network Indonesia (ANGIN) and the Temasek Foundation as supporting partners of HELiX, as well as the AHA Centre.
From the eight pitches, the competition was narrowed down to three ideas selected as winners in the Final Pitch. Fleet for Emergency from FleetHelp from Indonesia, a software engineering company based in Indonesia, won the Opal Award as the winner in the Ideation category. The team described Fleet for Emergency as an integrated platform that aims to effectively manage and maximise the speed of emergency fleet operations. The platform uses descriptive and predictive analysis to assist humanitarian organisations in managing and facilitating relief aid distribution.
Next, winning the Sapphire Award in the Prototype category, was the team from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) from the Philippines, with their idea titled the Padayon Donation Matching App. Deriving from the team’s first-hand experience during the eruption of the Mount Taal volcano in the Philippines in January 2020, the application aims to help the management of donations by connecting donors with the deserving recipients during emergencies, in order to avoid discrepancies in donation distribution. This idea also won for the AIM the audience’s vote and the team took home the Diamond, or Community Choice, Award.
Last but not least was the Logistics Institute Asia-Pacific (TLIAP GO) team from the National University Singapore (NUS) with their idea THINKLog – Humanitarian Logistics Mode, which won the Ruby Award as the winner in the Scale-up category. Quoting from their description, ThinkLog is a board game designed as an expandable interactive learning framework for logistics and supply-chain management. As a learning framework, the game has been developed to cover different scenarios, concepts and challenges in logistics. The game aims to complement teaching and learning activities in classrooms and workshops by introducing supply-chain management concepts through role-playing and simulation.
The introduction of these innovative ideas will hopefully widen the options for the ASEAN Member States and humanitarian communities in the ASEAN region in solving their humanitarian logistics challenges, increase logistics preparedness and ease actual logistics operations during emergencies. In the end, the AHA Centre expects iPITCH to be a trigger for more discussions and collaboration to promote innovations in humanitarian logistics.
HELiX itself is not over yet. A virtual software-hacking competition titled AHAckathon will be held in October 2021 as the next item on the agenda to bring out more ideas and innovations to support humanitarian logistics in the region.
Written by : Caroline Widagdo
A JOURNEY OF THE COLUMN:
IT’S MORE THAN JUST A NEWSLETTER
I have had the great privilege of serving as Editor in Chief of The Column since December 2016 and as this edition, Volume 75, marks the end of my tenure, I would like to reflect on The Column’s journey thus far.
The Column was first published in January 2015 under the stewardship of Mr Said Faisal, who led the AHA Centre as Executive Director. At that time, the AHA Centre needed to have a platform that could regularly update and inform partners about all issues relating to disaster management and humanitarian assistance in the ASEAN region, as well as a channel to communicate to the public about the activities of the AHA Centre.
I was pleased to take over as Editor in Chief for the 24th edition and although The Column was fulfilling its initial role, I felt that there was much more that could be achieved in order to get our important message across to a wider audience. The most obvious transformation was in the visual design – to make it more attractive, and most importantly to publish The Column in a web-version format. This was achieved with Volume 36 in March 2018 and it allowed readers to access The Column from their computers or cellphones. The public could also now subscribe to receive the monthly newsletter via email.
On top of that, I sought to ensure that we had a more diverse range of contributors, from AHA Centre staff and other experts and partners to academics and the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme graduates. The Other Side section of The Column also regularly features profiles of people from various backgrounds who have shared the “other side” of their public persona. In the past few editions, the Other Side has featured ACE Programme alumni from all 10 ASEAN Member States.
The Column has become an important channel for the AHA Centre to communicate with stakeholders, partners and the general public about the vitally important role the Centre plays in disaster management and humanitarian issues in the region. As a knowledge product, The Column also provides the opportunity for AHA Centre staff, partners, academics and experts to contribute to the expansion of information on all matters relating to its work.
It has been six years since the first edition of The Column was released, and many activities and a great deal of information have been captured in its pages. As Editor in Chief, I have been a witness to what has been going on in the AHA Centre and in the region through its many informative articles.
As I prepare to leave the Centre this month, I feel emotional about also leaving The Column, where over the years I have got in touch with so many dedicated individuals, both professionals and volunteers, in formal meetings, informal gatherings and through social media. We could not have achieved what we have without their efforts and I would like to take the opportunity to thank them. I would also like to express my sincerest gratitude for the support provided by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and EU-SAHA to The Column.
I hope, indeed I am sure, that The Column will continue to inform the AHA Centre’s partners and the wider public about all disaster-management and humanitarian issues in the region. I wish it and the team every success in the future.
Written by : Ms Adelina Kamal