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