/ / AHA Centre Diary 1


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