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
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
As Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength. When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”. This is the perfect quote that I think of when we talk about this year’s AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme. Being chosen to join this programme was truly an honor, not only for me but for all the participants. Not everyone working in the field of disaster management gets to be part of this rare opportunity to learn and collaborate with some of the greatest minds in the field, and for that I am very privileged and thankful.
Though the methodology is quite different from previous batches, the AHA Centre still manages to deliver a comprehensive and effective training package for the ACE Programme’s Batch Seven. Aside from all relevant knowledge and information taught to us about disaster management in general, the programme has also introduced us to a variety of new online platforms that make the programme more exciting and interesting.
The ACE Programme is very important for me not only in terms of courses and learning but also in terms of collaboration. It has helped strengthen the partnership of all ASEAN member states to understand the vision of “One ASEAN, One Response” which was thoroughly discussed during our ASEAN Disaster Management Mechanism Course. The course further deepened our knowledge of the ASEAN Charter Principles, how the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response reflects its operational strategy, the core functions of the AHA Centre, and the different regional coordination tools. It also familiarized us with the interoperability or alignment between the AHA Centre disaster-management mechanisms and the various national mechanisms.
True to the ACE Programme theme of “Preparing Future ASEAN Leaders in Disaster Management”, our lectures and courses prepare us not only to become effective leaders in disaster management but also to be contributors and key players in our respective countries’ disaster-resiliency initiatives. The Project Management Course with the learning objective to build and strengthen our competency to design, plan and monitor projects, helped us to enhance our project-management skills that will be very useful for us. Our individual project proposals, as one of our major requirements to finish the programme, will enable us to push ourselves to the best of our limits. This will serve as the application of what we have learned from our previous courses and information sharing. Through the project proposal, the ACE Programme allows us to practice one of the most important roles of a disaster-management leader, to be a project manager who can plan, propose and implement.
Moreover, I really liked the fact that we all get to share our best practices, knowledge, skills and experiences with one another. From the interactive and thought-provoking sessions to the simple discussions and sharing of experiences, I can say that so far this has been a great learning experience and I believe that all of it will help me in my career as a disaster-management professional. I also feel fortunate to have met friends and professionals like me who share the same passion for disaster management.
And as we continue in our ACE Programme journey for the next couple of months, we will undertake all the remaining courses of the programme. Certainly, there will be heaps of future challenges, new experiences and things to learn. I know it will not be easy, but I know that these courses will help us attain the four core competencies that we need to embody as ACE Programme graduates namely, expertise in humanitarian assistance; collaboration in humanitarian assistance; being result-oriented; and effective leadership. With the continued support and encouragement of the AHA Centre, especially the ACE Programme organisers, I know all Batch Seven participants will continue to strive to be the best. We will continue soaring high and dreaming big as a result of the positive results and outcomes of this programme. We know all our hard work and sacrifices will somehow contribute to the disaster resiliency not only of our respective countries but also for the whole of the ASEAN region.
Written by: Nova Eloiza, ACE Programme Batch Seven – the Philippines | Photo Credit : Nova Eloiza Ybañez
NOOR HAZMAH ROSLI
I have been working as a paramedic since 2012 with the Emergency Medical Ambulance Services, the Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam. In 2015, I was selected as an ambulance commander to lead the emergency-response teams during Brunei’s 33rd National Day. I was then promoted to paramedic training officer and professional development in 2018 and was given greater responsibility to take care of all the paramedics nationwide in terms of their training and competency levels. On top of that, I have worked in high-pressure environments in life-threatening emergency situations, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, I have also collaborated and worked closely with academic institutions and agencies in Brunei to expand and promote learning opportunities in paramedic education for our future generations. I hope to deliver my very best virtually in the ACE Programme in the context of capacity building and adopting best practices in disaster management.
When I was told about joining Batch Seven of the ACE Programme, I honestly did not know what it was all about until emails began to arrive in my inbox. I was told it was a good opportunity for me to learn about leadership in disaster management in ASEAN countries but I was still uncertain about it. Good thoughts came later and I asked myself “why not?” To me, the ACE Programme is a selective and prestigious programme that any future leader should appreciate. As a result of the training, I am able to maximise my understanding into becoming an effective future leader.
We are now in our eighth week of the ACE Programme and let me tell you, it has been a roller coaster ride for all of us since Day One. So far, we have covered lessons/modules on English communication in disaster management (ECDM); critical incident leadership (CIL); gender, resilience, inclusion and diversity (GRID); the international humanitarian system and ASEAN disaster mechanisms and there is lots more to come. The learning approach is different in comparison with previous ACE Programmes due to the pandemic and there has not been any physical contact yet among us.
So far, it has been a successful and exciting journey as we are using adult learning methodologies in a safe learning environment and utilising online techniques to maximise our learning capacity despite the challenges faced along the way. This blended learning practice is equally as engaging as face-to-face sessions. We have learnt so much from disaster experts and we have yet to find ourselves and to create our own leadership identity through this programme. On top of that, we are also learning through real life experiences from colleagues in other ASEAN Member States who are in the same boat as we are. Indeed, experience is a great teacher.
I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in the ACE Programme, and it is very true that this is a golden experience for the future leaders of tomorrow in disaster management. Following up on what I have said, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the ACE Programme partners, JAIF as the main funder of this programme, as well as the support from the New Zealand Government, United States Government, United Nations partners, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, GNS Science, AADMER Partnership Group, RedR Australia, the United States Forest Service, academic institutions: MIIS, AIM and APCSS. And most importantly, the AHA Centre for making this happen and possible in preparing us to master various aspects of disaster management.
We still have to soldier on until April 2022. I really hope that travel may be permitted in the near future and I will be able meet my fellow ACE family members face-to-face to continue learning and supporting each other. I am also looking forward to building and strengthening my networks and collaborating with other people from different backgrounds in disaster management.
To me, this is just the beginning and every day is a learning experience. I wish all the best to the other warriors! And I hope the COVID-19 pandemic will be over soon so we can meet each other in the near future. Cheers!
Written by: Noor Hazmah Rosli, ACE Programme Batch Seven- Brunei Darussalam | Photo Credit : Noor Hazmah Rosli
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
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
AHA CENTRE HAD ITS FIVE-YEAR PLAN ADOPTED BY THE GOVERNING BOARD
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 14th Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre was held online on 8 June, 2021. Apart from the regular progress update, this Governing Board meeting marked four important milestones for the Centre. These were the launch of the 2020 AHA Centre Annual Report, adoption of the 2021-2025 AHA Centre Work Plan, and the completion of the ASEAN Village in Palu.
One significant achievement reported to the Governing Board was the completion of the ASEAN Village under the recovery project for the triple disasters that occurred in 2018 in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The project has successfully constructed 100 permanent houses, an auxiliary community health centre (Puskesmas Pembantu) and a mosque. The ASEAN Village was financially supported by the people and Government of Brunei Darussalam, the Government of the Philippines, the Government of Australia and Direct Relief. The official handover of the village to the local administration of Palu City was conducted on 23 June, 2021 using a hybrid mode. Along with the handover, the Centre also notified the Governing Board of an upcoming publication titled “New Homes of Opportunities: Lessons Learnt on the ASEAN Recovery Support of the Central Sulawesi’s 2018 Disasters” that captures the good practices and lessons learned from the recovery project in Palu.
In line with usual practice, the AHA Centre released its Annual Report for 2020, which captured its achievements and activities in 2020 during the meeting. The 2020 Annual Report was released in full digital format. The Centre now intends to produce its publications in digital form in consideration of its ecological footprint, to reach a wider audience and to enhance the audience learning experience. The Annual Report also serves as a one-stop information location to view all activities of the AHA Centre in 2020. The clickable hyperlinks in the report will lead the reader to the various publications and knowledge platforms the AHA Centre produced in 2020, including the AHA Centre’s webinars made available on the AHA Centre’s YouTube channel.
On the same occasion, the Governing Board also adopted the 2021-2025 AHA Centre Work Plan. The Work Plan was developed in line with the 2021-2025 AADMER Work Programme (AWP) by translating the outcomes and outputs assigned to the AHA Centre into groups of activities. The AHA Centre highlighted that the Work Plan contains six priority areas, with the first five priorities of the AHA Centre Work Plan based on the five priority programmes of the 2021-2025 AWP, while one additional priority is focusing on the corporate governance of the AHA Centre. The document also elaborates the monitoring and data collection plan to support implementation of the Work Plan. The AHA Centre monitoring and learning process is designed to be in line with the AWP monitoring and evaluation system, which will be carried out by the ASEAN Secretariat.
In the 14th Governing Board Meeting, the Centre presented its plan for the upcoming anniversary commemoration to mark the AHA Centre’s 10 years of work in disaster management in the region. This year’s theme is ‘A Decade of Action: From Inception to Transformation’.
Written by: Merry Rismayani, Caroline Widagdo | Photo : AHA Centre
2ND PROJECT STEERING COMMITTEE (PSC) MEETING OF THE ASCEND
On 20 May, 2021 the AHA Centre held the second project steering committee (PSC) meeting of ASCEND. The meeting was presided over by co-chairs Indonesia and Singapore of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) Working Group on Global Leadership and attended by the Mission of the Republic Korea (ROK) to ASEAN, the Korean National Fire Agency (KNFA), the ASEAN-ROK Development Cooperation Programme Management Team (AKPMT), the ASEAN Secretariat and the AHA Centre.
During the meeting, the AHA Centre presented the ASCEND project implementation progress report for December 2020 to April 2021. It provided updates on the overall implementation of the ASCEND project and covered three major areas of work, namely the development of documents and systems, the development of communication materials, and continued coordination and expanded collaboration with various stakeholders. Due to limitations brought about by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the ASCEND project management team (PMT) has focused its efforts on conducting studies, developing guidelines and establishing the IT system needed for the certification process. The AHA Centre expects to introduce and pilot use all of the materials and the IT system within workshops and training planned for late this year and early next year. In addition to the aforementioned progress, the ASCEND-PMT of the AHA Centre has also expanded its collaboration to more than 90 individuals from at least 30 institutions or organisations.
The ASCEND-PMT also presented updates on the establishment of the ASCEND Reference Group. The ASCEND Reference Group aims to ensure that the preparation and implementation of the ASCEND project incorporates all recommendations from the ASEAN Member States. On this occasion, the PSC members discussed the possibility of establishing an effective communication flow between the ASCEND-PMT and the Reference Group members.
Lastly, the meeting explored the possibility of conducting an ASCEND benchmarking visit to the Republic of Korea. Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, it was agreed that the AHA Centre and the KNFA should explore alternatives to conducting the benchmarking visit aside from a physical visit. One of the ideas from the PSC members was to combine a virtual study visit first before considering a physical visit later. The AHA Centre and the KNFA gave an assurance that these options would be considered when developing the concept note. The concept note will also include the risk and benefit analysis of conducting benchmarking visits based on the alternative options available. The co-chairs of the ACDM Working Group Global Leadership closed the meeting by thanking the PSC members for the fruitful and productive discussion during the meeting.
ASCEND is a three-year project grant-funded by the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF) to the tune of USD 3.3 million. It aims to enhance the quality of human resources within ASEAN in disaster management through establishing a common set of standard skills and competencies, along with a validation process.
Written by: Haura Mayang | Photo : AHA Centre
REFRESH OUR MIND ON INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
In these days of ever-increasing remote working it is easy to become rusty, to lose the day-to-day contact and interaction with colleagues and fellow professionals who can keep us up to date with all the latest news and developments that allow us to remain at our sharpest in our respective fields of operations, and to miss out on tips and innovations that can facilitate our work.
With that in mind and based on positive feedback from the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team’s (ASEAN-ERAT) Refresh Our Mind series, which started in the early part of this year, the AHA Centre is continuing the series to keep ASEAN-ERAT members engaged and connected from their homes or offices during the course of the pandemic. The second edition of the ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind series helped ASEAN-ERAT members to brush up their knowledge on information management, often using simple, readily available and free-to-use software and open-source material, and all in only 100 minutes.
Before the second edition commenced, the AHA Centre introduced ASEAN-ERAT members who had registered for the event to the AHA Centre’s Learning Management System. The ASEAN-ERAT members took the opportunity to update their knowledge about the key aspects of the Information Management continuum and got an introduction to Google Earth by watching short videos. Then, the ASEAN-ERAT members met through a video call to continue their learning journey on the same topic by taking part in an interactive quiz and conversing through a group discussion. The group discussion flowed well with an informal atmosphere, allowing the ASEAN-ERAT members to enjoy their Friday afternoon with small talk while sipping their favourite drinks, or simply waiting to break the fast for those who observed Ramadhan.
The discussion heard from an ASEAN-ERAT member from Indonesia, Mr Mizan Bisri, a former officer at the AHA Centre under the Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Unit. Currently he is Assistant Professor in Disaster Management at Kobe University and is a founder of CARI, a web-based knowledge management platform for disaster management, and he described the use of Google Earth for basic mapping to quickly capture the most reliable and visual information for initial-stage disaster responses.
His explanation was corroborated by the experience of another ASEAN-ERAT member, Mr Qingyuan Pang, from Singapore, an epidemiologist with the World Health Organisation, working in Cox’s Bazaar. Before he joined WHO, Mr Pang was the Assistant Director of the Disaster Monitoring and Analysis Unit of the AHA Centre and he explained that he used Google Earth as it was faster and much less tedious than other mapping tools. He also cited heatmapping, the graphical representation of data where values are depicted as colours, as another tool to help him visualise data and monitor diarrhoea outbreaks in Cox’s Bazaar.
In addition to the extended discussion on data visualisation, he shared the humanitarian icons from UNOCHA with other ASEAN-ERAT members. Mr Adiratna Wira Adnan, Senior Assistant Director in the Technical and Infrastructure Department of Malaysia’s National Disaster Management Agency, suggested using the icons as the standard reference for all ASEAN-ERAT members.
The AHA Centre wrapped up the second edition of the ASEAN-ERAT Refresh Our Mind series with the announcement of the quiz winners and prizes for those who completed their self-refreshment through the ASEAN-ERAT Learning Management System. The winners were Ms Murni Mat Amin (Malaysia), Ms Gaynor Tanyang and Mr Irvin Miranda (the Philippines), and Mr Pang (Singapore). Congratulations to all the winners!
Written by: Madiatri A. Silalahi | Photo Credit : ERAT PMT
ARMOR WEBINAR SERIES #3:
SHIFTING INTO A FORECAST-BASED REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE
The third instalment of the ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR) Webinar Series focused on the topic of ‘Shifting into a Forecast-based Regional Humanitarian Response’. The webinar series is being implemented to discuss articles presented by the ARMOR 2nd Edition, with this session aiming to highlight the importance of anticipatory action in disaster management. The webinar engaged various experts and commentators from different international organisations, and was conducted in a virtual environment on 4 March 2021.
The webinar began with a discussion on the article titled When Early Actions Save Lives: Anticipating Instead of Reacting with Forecast-based Financing. Panellists in this session spoke about how Forecast-based Financing (FbF) strengthens humanitarian mandates by enabling National Societies to assist people in need more quickly and effectively. They also discussed about internal processes in becoming more agile in delivering aid and services under FbF, and the emergency response processes profiting equally – which means that FbF also contributes to the enhancement of responses.
The three panellists for the session were Mr Raymond Zingg (Regional Forecast-based Financing Coordinator for Asia Pacific of the IFRC), Mr Nguyen Hai Anh (Vice President and Secretary-General of the Viet Nam Red Cross Society), and Mr Ferdinand Ferrer (Philippine Red Cross Chapter Administrator of Camarines Norte). Mr Anh provided an example of FbF implementation in Viet Nam for heatwaves in an urban context, with the main objective of reducing the impact of heatwaves on Hanoi’s most vulnerable populations. As each heatwave can affect a large area, the organisations recognised the need to identify the most at-risk zones. Mr Ferrer shared lessons learned on developing an Early Action Protocol (EAP) for tropical cyclones in the Philippines, as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) developed an EAP that enables the implementation of early actions focusing on the most at-risk municipalities. The EAP adapts to the local contexts of these municipalities by encouraging the strengthening of vulnerable houses, early harvesting of mature crops, and evacuation of livestock.
The second ARMOR article up for discussion was Three Weeks’ Notice: Forecasting Extreme Weather Events with Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Climate Prediction, which engaged Dr Govindarajalu Srinivasan (Chief Scientist for Climate Applications, Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia – RIMES), and Dr Thea Turkington (Senior Research Scientist in the Seasonal and Sub-seasonal Prediction Section, Meteorological Service Singapore). The panellists discussed the importance of considering Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) predictions as part of a broader spectrum of weather and climate products that should be utilised together to improve decision-making in the areas of preparedness and response.
Such easy-to-use decision support systems that bring together a range of weather and climate information will better enable disaster managers to put S2S into action. It was also explained that successful integration of S2S into disaster preparedness protocols can reduce disaster impacts, because the predictions from S2S have a higher update frequency than seasonal predictions, as well as longer lead time than short and medium-range weather forecasts.
All webinar participants also had the opportunity to have an interactive session with the expert panellists and commentators. Interestingly, discussing the issues related to anticipatory decision-making saw most participants agree that anticipatory action implementation also needs to be supported by the policy makers and governments. In line with this context, an announcement was also made at the beginning of the webinar related to the AHA Centre’s new collaboration with the Anticipation Hub. Ms Adelina Kamal, the Executive Director of the AHA Centre, stated that this collaboration will enable more anticipatory action across the region.
Different perspectives on both articles were provided during the event, with guest commentary offered by Alexandra Ruth (Head of the Anticipation Hub from the German Red Cross), and Nicolas Bidault (Head of Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping, UN World Food Programme Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific). The ARMOR Webinar Series was organised as part of the EU-SAHA project, through the support of the European Union Mission to ASEAN.
Written by: Moch Syifa | Photo Credit : AHA Centre