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