USAID’S REGIONAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE OFFICE (RELO)
With the start of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme taking place in July 2019, for the coming volumes of The Column, we will bring to you insights of AHA Centre partners at work – showcasing their input and value through their engagement in the ACE Programme. Each article will be presented by a guest writer, who is also a participant in the ongoing programme, and one of the region’s future leaders on Disaster Management.
The U.S. Embassy Jakarta’s Regional English Language Office and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance joined forces to offer a course on English Communication for Disaster Managers (ECDM) at the AHA Centre during the opening weeks of the AHA Centre Executive (ACE) Programme, in Jakarta from 3–20 July 2019.
The 3-week course was facilitated by two instructors from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), and included 12 online modules as well as face-to-face sessions on content and language-integrated topics that are directly relevant to the ASEAN region. The eighteen course participants (all participants in the ACE Programme) are made-up from the National Disaster Management Organisations (NDMOs) of all ten ASEAN Member States, with this five-month work/study rotation inside the AHA Centre being conducted entirely in English language.
This ECDM course was implemented prior to the official start of the ACE Programme, to allow participants to improve their technical English language proficiency, which in-turn support the enhancement of overall subject-matter training. This is also the outcome of previous ACE Programme evaluations that highlighted the need for extra attention afforded to English language strengthening, as most participants are from nations in which English is not their mother tongue. By the end of the ECDM, ACE Programme participants will be able to increase engagement and share content knowledge with their fellow ASEAN Member State representatives, to communicate for building trust and cooperation among partner organisations, and to facilitate disaster relief coordination at a regional level.
Written by : Putri Mumpuni & Ayunda V. Siagian | Photo : AHA Centre
DEUTSCHE POST DHL
Logistics – in particular the handling of relief items at times of emergency – form an integral part of any disaster response, and therefore a key aspect of the AHA Centre’s role as the primary regional coordinating body for disaster management in the ASEAN region. Having worked together during the large-scale response following the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami event in 2018, the AHA Centre and Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) quickly realised the shared value that a formalised partnership between the two entities could have. The AHA Centre formalised this partnership by signing a Memorandum of Intent to work together with DHL – one of the world’s leading logistics services providers – effective on the 1st of July, 2019 in Manila, the Philippines.
The AHA Centre and DPDHL’s first major experience in a working partnership took place after 2018’s major disaster event in Central Sulawesi, with the significant amount of relief pouring into Indonesia requiring extra support to receive and deliver items to the affected region. DPDHL provided significant support on the ground, handling international items at the established receiving centre in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, as well as at Palu Airport – the entry-point to the affected area. It was this formative working experience that increased the interest of both parties to strengthen their partnership – with both directly witnessing the mutual benefit that such a partnership holds. Aside from this response effort, representative from DPDHL has also participated in the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) training programme, further promoting the engagement of public-private engagement in logistic management.
“We are excited to partner with AHA Centre in their growing role as a regional coordinating hub for the mobilisation of resources to disaster affected areas in Southeast Asia,” said Carl Schelfhaut, GoHelp Manager from the Asia Pacific DPDHL Group. “DPDHL Group has been closely following the One ASEAN One Response approach that the region has championed over the years and we fully support its implementation,” he continued.
The partnership – formalised through July’s MOI – will see DPDHL further engaging with the AHA Centre in future responses, with its Disaster Response Team (DRT) working on the ground alongside the AHA Centre to facilitate the movement of international relief items. Potential activities include unloading cargo planes, supporting professional warehousing and inventory management, and loading relief goods for onward transportation. DPDHL will also offer its expertise in logistics to support for the AHA Centre’s ASEAN-ERAT and ASEAN Humanitarian Logistics courses and activities. The AHA Centre’s Executive Director, Adelina Kamal highlighted the importance of the Centre’s further engagement in public-private partnerships such as this when she noted “public-private partnerships with industry experts like DPDHL Group are critical in scaling up the One ASEAN, One Response vision. As our partnership with DHL’s DRT team at Sulawesi last year demonstrated, their expertise in facilitating the flow of relief goods and supporting civil military relations is invaluable”.
Written by : WilIiam Shea | Photo : Deutsche Post DHL
TEMASEK FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL
A key goal of the AHA Centre is to strengthen its sustainability through engaging a range of partners and supporters across all of its working areas, and its recent engagement with Temasek Foundation International evidences the value that new and innovative partnerships can have for both the AHA Centre itself, as well as the communities of ASEAN who find themselves facing disaster.
Temasek Foundation supports a diverse range of programmes that uplift lives and advance communities in Singapore and beyond, to strengthen social resilience, foster international exchange and regional capabilities, and advance science and nature. These are made possible through non-profit philanthropic endowments gifted by Temasek, a global investment company headquartered in Singapore. It was during 2018 that – recognising the value and role of the AHA Centre’s work in the region – Temasek Foundation approached the Centre with the opportunity for a valuable partnership. Only a few months after that, the multiple disasters in Central Sulawesi provided a platform for the two organisations to join together on disaster response efforts, with Temasek Foundation offering direct material support for the communities of Central Sulawesi – facilitated and distributed through the AHA Centre’s broad network of responders in the field.
Temasek Foundation helped answer a critical water and sanitation need during the disaster response and recovery period, by providing 1,300 water filtration kits through the AHA Centre. The portable and disposable filtration kits – valued at USD 91,000 – had a filtration capacity of about 2,500 litres, providing critical access to clean water for affected communities across the disaster-struck Indonesian province. Additionally, during 2018, as part of Temasek’s year-end greeting cards initiative, corporate donations were raised for non-profit organisations, of which the AHA Centre was a listed beneficiary and received a donation of SGD 5,000 as a result.
Aside from direct support opportunities, both parties also recognise the value in their aligned goals for capacity building – in this case related to disaster preparedness, as well as response. With their initial joint efforts proving the value and success in strategic activities, both organisations will explore further opportunities and activities that can support disaster management engagement in the region.
Written by : Carla Budiarto | Photo : Temasek Foundation International
The AHA Centre is proud to partner with Direct Relief – a humanitarian aid organisation with experience throughout more than 80 nations worldwide. Direct Relief leverages its status as a licenced and accredited distributor of pharmaceuticals to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies –providing medical aid, particularly in times of disaster. Direct Relief has also utilised its years of experience in disaster response to design and implement standardised solutions such as emergency response packs and medical facility modules that help address the needs of vulnerable communities before and after disaster strikes. In 2016, the AHA Centre and Direct Relief signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI), with the three-year partnership resulting in a range of benefits for both parties, as well as the communities of ASEAN facing disaster.
Direct Relief’s approach to disasters focuses on supporting the immediate needs of communities by working with local partners and governments to determine required solutions based on each unique emergency situation. Their disaster response priorities include emergency logistics, equipping first responders, and bolstering existing medical systems, considering the specific needs of displaced persons, and being flexible based on disaster and location. Such aims align with those of the AHA Centre, and were reflected in the aims of the 2016 MOI which included:
● Access for the AHA Centre to in-kind (donations) of pharmaceuticals, medicines, medical equipment and supplies;
● The opportunity to stockpile and prepare such medical materials;
● Collaborative disaster preparedness working arrangements that support the AHA Centre with the identification of medical materials commonly required during disaster response, and supporting the efficient access to such materials when required;
● The collaborative development of a framework to engage corporate entities, such as medical suppliers, for stockpiling, funding and understanding medical supplies, that will in turn support the overall emergency preparedness and response mechanisms of the AHA Centre;
● Organising and engaging in information and knowledge-sharing activities between the partners, as well as externally, and Direct Relief providing the AHA Centre access to its own relevant resources and knowledge management that may support the AHA Centre’s operations.
More recently, the partnership has evidenced its value during the range of disaster responses coordinated by the AHA Centre during 2018 – particularly during the large-scale response and recovery efforts after the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami during late 2018 and early 2019. Direct Relief identified a need for the procurement and development of specific health needs within a number of the region’s disaster-affected communities, and through the AHA Centre provided a direct injection of USD 50,000 for a latrine project. The support resulted in the development of 120 latrine units across 12 locations, having a significant impact on positive health outcomes for the people during the recovery phase. During the response, the AHA Centre also facilitated Direct Relief to provide support communicating with the Government of Indonesia and local NGO partners, to ensure smooth and suitable delivery of support in the affected region.
Direct Relief has also recently highlighted an interest in supporting the AHA Centre’s ASEAN Resilient Village project taking place during Central Sulawesi’s recovery stage. With 2019 marking the end of the current MOI, the AHA Centre and Direct Relief – in recognition of the valuable partnership – have already begun talks to continue and expand their working relationship. There are an array of potential opportunities and mutual values that may be addressed outside of the current agreement, and both parties hope to finalise the continuance of the partnership in the coming months.
Written by: Carla Budiarto, William Shea | Photo : Direct Relief
AGENCY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION
The Government of Switzerland, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), highlights humanitarian aid as a key priority within its international development efforts. Disaster risk reduction, emergency relief, and reconstruction are the three pillars of the SDC’s humanitarian activities, therefore aligning them strongly with the AHA Centre’s role in the ASEAN region. Throughout the last few years the SDC and AHA Centre have worked on a range of activities aiming to advance the ASEAN region’s disaster management practices and processes, forming the base of this key strategic partnership between the two bodies.
As part of this partnership, in 2018 the SDC supported the AHA Centre on the implementation of a real-time earthquake disaster response simulation, together with the Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM – as covered in the Column Volume 48), which facilitated the AHA Centre staff to implement internal preparedness and response mechanisms, and included a review and evaluation following the scenario. SDC has also provided support through a range of expertise and consultations within AHA Centre programming, including two for the ARDEX-18 Referee Training in July 2018, and the implementation of ARDEX-18 in later in November. The experts were not only engaged directly in the activities, but also supported performance reviews of the AHA Centre’s emergency operations functions once the event had finished.
Additionally, Switzerland also provided funding support during 2018 to facilitate the AHA Centre’s participation in the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Mongolia, also ensuring best practices from the region could be highlighted at this important event. Such support and engagement is of high importance for the AHA Centre, as it allows for a united and strong ASEAN voice on the international disaster management stage. This importance was further strengthened by the AHA Centre’s Executive Director Ms. Adelina Kamal when she stated recently that.
“ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS OF THE AHA CENTRE IS TO ENABLE THE ASEAN REGION TO ACHIEVE ITS VISION OF BECOMING THE GLOBAL LEADER ON DISASTER MANAGEMENT BY THE YEAR 2025. WE HIGHLY APPRECIATE THAT THE SWISS GOVERNMENT AS THE HOME OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY SEES THIS IMPORTANCE AND HAS HELPED ASEAN THROUGH THE AHA CENTRE CLIMB THAT LADDER BY CONNECTING US WITH OTHER REGIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND THE INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY”
Written by: Wiliam Shea | Photo : AHA Centre, SDC
GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON DISASTER RISK MANAGEMENT
Disaster Risk Management (DRM) forms a key element of all international development agendas and its implementation is an important element for all nations. Such importance and presence, however, has been found to lead to a range of cost burdens, overlapping programmes, and working duplications as varying government and non-government agencies undertake their DRM activities. The German-funded Global Initiative on Disaster Risk Management (GIDRM) project aims to overcome these obstacles, and create efficiency and coherence within national and international DRM efforts.
Based on the realisation of such agendas as the Sendai-Framework, Paris Climate Agreement and Agenda 2030, GIDRM works to link a range of DRM elements of such agendas through planning, implementation and reporting of DRM requirements. Funded through the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the GIDRM has engaged with the AHA Centre and a number of ASEAN nations during the second phase of the project, specifically working with the Philippines who have been designated as one of GIDRM’s two key pilot countries (the second being Mexico). Rather than a top-down approach, GIDRM works to support efforts from the bottom-up. Examples of successful coherence and efficiency from national and sub-national levels aim to be highlighted at regional and global level, to promote learning and good practices, and form recommendations for expanded activity implementation.
The partnership between GIDRM and the AHA Centre began in 2016, and has resulted in a range of workshops and training exercises, implemented both specifically for the AHA Centre and also engaging a wider range of regional disaster management stakeholders. In 2018, the AHA Centre and GIDRM undertook an earthquake disaster response simulation, allowing the AHA Centre staff to practice their internal preparedness and response mechanisms, which were reviewed and evaluated after the scenario took place. GIDRM also previously supported implementation of the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) 2016 in Brunei Darussalam, and worked with the AHA Centre and ASEAN Member States to review ARDEX processes, as well as wider mechanisms including the Standard Operating Procedure for Regional Standby Arrangements and Coordination of Joint Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Operations (SASOP).
Written by : William Shea | Photo : AHA Centre
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS
AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES
Engagement between the AHA Centre and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been ongoing since 2014, with particular focus towards information and knowledge-sharing, as well as technical exercises.
The IFRC holds strong similarities to the AHA Centre in its approach to disaster management – with its aim to promote and support united disaster response and preparedness efforts on a global scale. This mission only serves to strengthen the need for such a strategic partnership, as the AHA Centre strives to do the same from an ASEAN regional perspective. Therefore, recent years have seen the IFRC and the National Societies become important stakeholders within the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), the AHA Centre’s key operational mechanism for emergency response under the One ASEAN, One Response plan. Within these efforts, both organisations have embarked on continuous information sharing and distribution during emergency response operations, with both organisations’ Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) playing pivotal roles in providing the sector, and the wider community with relevant and up-to-date information during times of disaster.
The IFRC also has been a key participant in the ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX), within which the AHA Centre takes the lead in the exercise’s design and organisation. The IFRC has also provided valuable and active engagement within the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ASEAN-ERAT) training programme, most recently providing facilitation and training services on Humanitarian Logistics as part of the ASEAN-ERAT Level 2 course, held in September 2018. The IFRC also supported the ASEAN-ERAT advance course pilot on Rapid Assessment, in which they facilitated a session on Protection, Gender and Inclusion in Emergency.
The IFRC provides capacity development support to the ASEAN Member States through the AHA Centre’s Executive Programme (ACE Programme), in which they share knowledge and expertise regarding resilience, protection and inclusion, alongside Disaster Law and advocacy. The AHA Centre has also taken on opportunities to participate in the IFRC’s signature programmes – such as the Regional Disaster Response Teams and Operations Management Training – to learn further about how IFRC staff and volunteers support national disaster response teams and work alongside international teams. These mutual engagements and cross-learning exercises have supported both the IFRC and AHA Centre to gain a better understanding of how each other’s processes and mechanisms work, and how they can mutually engage and build on each other ‘s strengths, creating further efficiency and stronger impact during times of major disaster response.
Written by : Carla Budiarto | Photo : IFRC
UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR
The United States Goverment through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the AHA Centre’s original partners, with the agency having supported the AHA Centre since its establishment. This support has allowed the AHA Centre to perform its roles as a regional humanitarian and disaster management response institution to the scale and capacity that we see today. The partnership between USAID and the AHA Centre has resulted in a cast range of achievements, including, amongst many, the development of a disaster monitoring and response system, and the establishment of a customised technical assistance and training facility.
One of the most notable collaborations between the two parties has resulted in the development of the Disaster Monitoring and Response System (DMRS), implemented through the US PROGRESS programme. DMRS is an effective tool that improves the consolidation of meteorological, seismic, and demographic data, information that is integral for decision making, as well as almost real-time disaster monitoring across the region. Alongside this, the partnership with USAID has also resulted in the development of the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA) guidelines, which serve as a key tool for identifying vulnerabilities in areas prone to natural disasters. The RVA guidelines aim to support disaster managers in prioritising preparedness measures for both people and economic assets.
In terms of capacity building, the AHA Centre and US PROGRESS continue to develop and refine training curriculum to create a framework for the ASEAN Standardisation and Certification for Experts in Disaster Management (ASCEND). USAID also funded the development of the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), which acts as the main guiding blueprint for One ASEAN One Response. Such support expanded as far as the AJDRP’s review period, which included implementation through contingency planning workshops in Metro Manila and Myanmar during 2017. As part of these workshops, various disaster scenarios were tested, including under the duress of earthquake, tsunami, and typhoon. Information regarding identified gaps and recommendations was gathered from participants, and then incorporated into the updated and refined AJDRP document.
Additionally US PROGRESS also works with the AHA Centre related to the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in disaster management activities. A number of workshops have already been undertaken, introducing improved ways to utilise new communication technologies such as TV white space, alternative radio frequencies, and social media to increase the ASEAN region’s capacity to respond to disasters.
USAID has supported the AHA Centre in developing skills through trainings, in particular through funding the ASEAN Technical Assistance and Training Facility (TATF) in an effort to build disaster resilient nations and communities through the ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration (ADVANCE) programme. Earlier in 2018, the agency facilitated two workshops on Incident Command Systems and Incident Action Planning. In partnership with the United States Forest Service, the two-week workshop equipped participants with skills to develop strategies for various emergency-response scenarios.
Written by : Christella Feni, Will Shea | Photo : USAID
Medical services are an integral element for all phases of ASEAN disaster management – preparedness, response, and recovery. Medical professionals play a vital role in working to safeguard the health and wellbeing of individuals directly and indirectly affected by disaster, as well as aid workers deployed in the field. Importantly, the improvement of the affected population’s psychological health and resilience in order to recover quickly after experiencing a disaster also form a key health-related focus. In the ASEAN region, Mercy Malaysia forms one of the primary organisations for health-related activities in disaster situations, and work alongside the AHA Centre in improving health elements in the ASEAN disaster management field.
MERCY Malaysia, or the Malaysian Medical Relief Society, is an international, non-governmental organisation that focuses on providing medical relief, sustainable health-related development, and risk reduction activities for vulnerable communities, in both crisis and non-crisis situations. MERCY Malaysia is a member of the AADMER Partnership Group (APG), a consortium of seven INGOs who are committed to work with ASEAN to ensure the people-centred implementation of AADMER, leading to a resilient ASEAN region. MERCY Malaysia’s capabilities have also been included by the Government of Malaysia within the ASEAN Standby Arrangements.
MERCY Malaysia has been supporting and contributing in delivering humanitarian aid and expertise to the ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) since 2013. Through this partnership, there will be a greater support, facilitation, involvement, and beneficial participation of civil society organisations from ASEAN Member States. This will be facilitated through a Regional Alliance for Collective Emergency Response (RACER), which allows non-government emergency response organisations to support One Asean One Response. Using the ASEAN Joint Disaster Response Plan (AJDRP), RACER will contribute to the realisation of One ASEAN One Response vision. Furthermore, MERCY Malaysia provides support on developing mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for ASEAN-ERAT members deployed to emergency response situations.
To formalise MERCY Malaysia’s engagement with the AHA Centre, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) on the 27th of June, 2018, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the sidelines of the Eighth Meeting of the Governing Board of the AHA Centre. The MoI not only strengthens the partnership between the two entities, but also signifies their commitment to cooperate in areas of mutual interest, and to reinforce each party’s current capacities that are recognised as mutually beneficial.
Written by : William Shea | Photo : MERCY Malaysia
THE PHILIPPINE DISASTER RESILIENCE FOUNDATION
The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) is a unique organisation, who forms the major coordinating body for the Philippines’ private sector engagement and support on disaster management. The ASEAN region has become increasingly aware of the importance of private sector engagement in disaster management field, as well as the value that such engagement can foster, with organisations such as the PDRF providing strong examples of the strong, responsive and skilled resources that can support the overall disaster management efforts of this disaster-prone region.
Over recent years, the AHA Centre has turned its focus more heavily to the engagement of the private sector throughout its disaster management work, based on the reasons above, alongside the private sector’s own realisation that disaster is something that impacts them heavily – and that they need to do more to support with ongoing efforts. The PDRF mission and work form a solid match with the AHA Centre, therefore their partnership is mutually beneficial on many levels. The partnership was first formalised in April 2017, with Ms. Adelina Kamal, the (then acting) Executive Director of the AHA Centre, and PDRF President Rene Meily putting pen to paper to formalise this valuable agreement.
The PDRF itself is composed from a team of highly committed professionals who work alongside field experts and reputable humanitarian institutions to organise, coordinate, and solidify the commitment of the private sector within overall disaster management efforts. The PDRF has been a leader in effective reconstruction measures that address the needs of disaster-stricken communities, with their programmes developed for post-disaster recovery in key sectors such as shelter, livelihood, education, environment and water, infrastructure, sanitation, and health. Alongside this, they operate their own state-of-the-art operations and communications centre, engage in community resilience programmes, and support the business sector across a range of elements related to disaster preparedness as well as business resilience in the event of disaster.
Within this context, the AHA Centre PDRF partnership focuses towards supporting and advocating increases in public knowledge and awareness regarding disaster management. Through PDRF’s support of One ASEAN One Response, there will be a range of exchanges and knowledge sharing activites, that will be mutually reliant on each other’s assets and expertise, in order to increase and boost the capacity and capability in responding to disaster. In addition, the partnership will encourage private sector and start-up businesses to be more engaged, and share more ideas for disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and management, and resilient recovery.
Written by : Valerie Bayhon, William Shea | Photo : PDRF