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The Latest Issues and Trends in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance

The Path to Responsible
Disaster Risk Reduction

April 2008
Vol. 26, No. 4
03 Inside this Issue
06 Where Do We Stand? – Results of the
first U.S.-Based NGO Baseline Disaster
Risk Reduction Survey
08 Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction
into Development Activities
09 Cyclone SIDR: Community-Based Early
Warning in Bangladesh
10 Building Resilient Communities
12 Disaster Risk Reduction in the Pastoral
Context: Commercial De-stocking
During Drought
PHOTO ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 14 The Health Sector and Disaster
We would like to graciously thank Christine
Persaud for contributing her photographs Reduction
in the March issue article, Experienced Advice 16 Integrating Climate Change into the
Crucial in Response to Kidnappings.
Disaster Risk Reduction Agenda?
18 Multi-Sector Disaster Risk Reduction
as a Sustainable Development
Template: The Bamako Flood Hazard
Mitigation Project
20 The Priorities That Count
22 Psychological Security: The Issue of
Managing Editor Monday Developments is published 12 24 Reducing the Impact of a Global
times a year by InterAction, the largest
Nia Davis
alliance of U.S.-based international
Editor development and humanitarian
nongovernmental organizations. With
Kathy Ward
more than 160 members operating in Also in this Issue
every developing country, we work to
Copy Editor overcome poverty, exclusion and suffering 25 Inside Our Community
Tawana Jacobs by advancing social justice and basic dignity
for all. 27 Career Developments
Advertising & Sales
Michael Haslett InterAction welcomes submissions of news 28 Position Announcements
articles, opinions and announcements.
Article submission does not guarantee
Communications Department
inclusion in Monday Developments. We
Nasserie Carew, Public Relations reserve the right to reject submission for any
Tawana Jacobs, Public Relations reason. It is at the discretion of our editorial
Tony Fleming, New Media team as to which articles are published in
Michael Haslett, Publications individual issues.

Editorial Committee All statements in articles are the sole opinion
Linda Poteat and responsibility of the authors.
Disaster Risk Reduction
Articles may be reprinted with prior
Working Group permission and attribution. Letters to the
editor are encouraged.
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Inside this Issue

By Sam Worthington, President and CEO, InterAction

“Disaster risk reduction is not a luxury. It’s an
essential insurance policy for a more disaster-
prone world, and one of the smartest, most
cost-effective investments we can make in
our common future. The benefits of this in-
vestment will be calculated not only in dollars
saved, but most importantly, in saved lives.”
- Jan Egeland, Former U.N. Under-Secretary General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

According to an Oxfam International report released
in November 2007, natural disasters have increased
four-fold over the last two decades, from an aver-
age of 120 per year to as many as 500 per year. The
Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disas-
ters reports 197 million people were affected by di-
sasters in 2007; and more than 90 percent of deaths
related to natural disasters occur in developing
countries. Natural disasters disproportionately af-
fect the poorest and most vulnerable populations,
as the U.S. has witnessed in the aftermath of Hurri-
cane Katrina. When disasters occur more frequently,
communities face a downward spiral of vulnerabil-
ity without sufficient time for recovery. Photo: courtesy of Bonnie Gillespie/ARC

This issue of Monday Developments explores di-
a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and
saster risk reduction: the types of potential disas-
preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards, within the
ters, their effect on poor communities and ways to
broad context of sustainable development.”
mitigate disasters. It also addresses preparing for
a pandemic and ensuring the health and safety of
field staff as well as the role climate change plays in Disaster risk reduction can mitigate the impact of every
increasing the risk for disasters. With research show- type of hazard – earthquake, flood, cyclone, drought, con-
ing that climate change will continue to cause in- flict – in ways that support livelihoods and promote faster
creases in climate-related hazards, our community recovery in communities. The World Meteorological Orga-
must take the time to re-examine and adapt our nization estimates that one dollar invested in disaster risk
development and relief practices to take vulner- reduction activities saves seven dollars in disaster related
abilities to natural hazards into account. A number economic costs. NGOs can implement low-cost interven-
of bodies throughout the world have taken on this tions that go far to reduce vulnerabilities and increase the
challenge and are responding with disaster risk re- capacity of communities to cope with hazards, furthering
duction programs. The UN International Strategy for the goal of promoting sustainable development.
Disaster Reduction (ISDR), the focal point within the
UN system for disaster risk reduction, defines disas- Disaster risk reduction bridges relief and development pro-
ter risk reduction as “the conceptual framework of grams – better disaster risk reduction integrated into de-
elements considered with the possibilities to mini- velopment programs will reduce the need for large-scale
mize vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout humanitarian operations in response to natural disasters.
continued on next page

continued from previous page

Local governments and institutions have an opportu- The World Bank and US Geological Survey calculated
nity to play a significant role in protecting their citizens that economic losses worldwide from disasters during
against disasters and managing the response to natural the 1990s could have been reduced by $280 billion
hazards, and many already do so. European NGOs and worldwide if $40 billion had been invested in mitiga-
donors have come far in promoting disaster risk reduc- tion and preparedness.
tion programming, with the UK Department for Interna-
tional Development committing in 2005 to providing 10 A recent survey of U.S.-based NGOs conducted by the Di-
percent of its post-disaster funding for disaster risk re- saster Risk Reduction working group at InterAction found
duction activities. that despite small budget allocations and minimal staff,
activities in disaster risk reduction are encouraging, and
U.S.-based donors and NGOs are also increasingly in- there is increasing momentum both nationally and inter-
corporating disaster risk reduction activities into their nationally to address risk reduction in development pro-
work. In addition to responding to disasters, USAID’s Of- gram planning, community and national preparedness
fice of Foreign Disaster Assistance works with partners programs. With additional resources, capacity building
to identify, manage, and reduce vulnerability to hazards and attention to disaster risk reduction, we can collec-
through sustainable, multi-sectoral mitigation and pre- tively reduce the impact of hazards and climate change
paredness programs. Each of their disaster risk reduction and promote the sustainable development of the com-
programs promotes at least one of the priorities outlined munities we work in.
in the ISDR Hyogo Framework for Action, adopted at the
January 2005 World Conference on Disaster Reduction in – Sam Worthington, President and CEO, InterAction
Hyogo, Japan.

Clements International continues to meet the
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areas including Kidnap & Ransom and War &
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Where Do We Stand? Results of the First U.S.-
Based NGO Baseline Disaster Risk Reduction Survey
By Anne Castleton, Government Grants Coordinator, Church World Service

Just over a year ago the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Working Group was
formed at InterAction to advocate for the integration of DRR into NGO pro-
gramming and to share promising practices in the field. In the first quarter Those with a unit or team dedi-
of 2008, the DRR steering committee surveyed U.S.-based international NGOs cated to DRR were asked about
to get a baseline of disaster risk reduction activities and learn how they are the unit/team’s mandate.
incorporating DRR in their organizations. Nineteen agencies responded in-
cluding, among others, the American Red Cross, CARE, Catholic Relief Services
“The goal of our global emer-
(CRS), Church World Service, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the
gency operations unit is to
Children, World Relief and World Vision.
ensure communities emerge
quickly from disaster with
Organizations were asked a variety of questions in order to assess the scale limited human suffering and
and type of programming being implemented and to learn how disaster risk loss of life. There is a DRR ob-
reduction activities fit into the organizational structure and strategic vision of U.S.- jective within that goal that
based international NGOs. states ‘communities served by
Mercy Corps will be better pre-
Survey Results pared to respond and mitigate
against potential hazards.’”
Structural placement and staff dedicated to DRR. Half of the responding – Susan Romanski, Director,
organizations said risk reduction was a distinct sector in their organization but Emergency Preparedness and
less than half of those said they had a team dedicated to DRR. Seventy percent Disaster Risk Reduction, Mercy
of the organizations reported that the DRR portfolio was managed in their Corps
agency’s humanitarian or emergency response unit. Usually no more than one
full-time staff or several part-time staff work on DRR in emergency response “In planning with our local
units. Some agencies have full time DRR staff at headquarters working with re- implementing partners, both
gional and country level staff who work on DRR as part of their humanitarian/ our emergency response and
emergency responsibilities. development units are tasked
with working to ensure that
Integration with development programming. Although research and field risk reduction practices are
practice indicate that it is crucial to integrate DRR activities into long-term de- incorporated, as a matter
velopment programming, the survey results suggest that doing so is not yet of best practice, into our re-
the norm. When asked if risk reduction was integrated into other program- lief and development work.”
ming, the results reflected the current reality that humanitarian and develop- – Donna Derr, Director, Emer-
ment departments operating within the same agency are often operating as gency Response Program,
independent, non-integrated silos. Church World Service

“We aim to ‘facilitate the con-
nection from good practice
in our DRR programs to per-
suasion in others through
the good use of research,
excellence in partnerships,
There are signs that this may be changing. Amy Hilleboe, Senior Technical Ad- efficient advocacy and com-
visor for DRR at CRS wrote, “DRR is considered to be an emergency issue by many munication strategies, and a
staff mostly because funding is part of emergency reconstruction. However, de- high quality evaluation, learn-
velopment programs are quickly getting involved in reducing risks to disasters ing, and knowledge agenda.’”
especially in agriculture and natural resource management programs.” – Oxfam America Disaster Risk
Reduction Strategic Framework
Budgetary allotment. Disaster risk reduction is still a very minor part of over-
all budget for most U.S.-based organizations. Only two organizations estimat-
ed that DRR was between 10 and 25 percent of their budget.

Is risk reduction institutional-
ized in your organization?

“Organizational strategic plans
now incorporate language
about the need to reduce the im-
pact of disasters; tools and stan-
dards for preparedness plan-
However, the American Red Cross, whose mandate is to respond to domestic ning explicitly recognize DRR
emergencies and support international disaster relief efforts through a net- as a key framework to analyze
work of 186 National Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies, wrote that it is, “in- disaster risks; training programs
creasingly integrating DRR into our planning and programs while deepening in- now incorporate DRR; a center
house technical knowledge in this arena. This is evidenced through an increased of excellence within our orga-
budgetary mark dedicated to DRR.” nization has been established;
strategic partnerships that focus
Strategic planning and policy. Fifty percent of respondents said risk reduc- on DRR have been established.”
tion is now institutionalized in their organization’s strategic plan or policies. – Rigoberto Giron, Director, Emer-
These efforts are in various stages of planning and implementation but there was, gency and Humanitarian Assis-
overall, a sense of the increasing importance and institutionalization of DRR. tance Unit, CARE

DRR programming. Agencies are implementing a wide range of DRR pro- “DRR is part of the global or-
gramming. In addition, agencies mentioned knowledge sharing with inter- ganizational strategy for the
national and indigenous organizations; field office and partner workshops; years 2008-2012. It is part of
search and rescue planning and drills; and environmental mitigation within the emergency prepared-
infrastructure projects. ness and response unit’s op-
erational plan, and in a cross-
Advocacy. Recent research suggests that successful NGOs combine effective cutting fashion supports the
programming with advocacy on their chosen issues and two-thirds of the sur- four program priorities of our
veyed organizations engage in external advocacy on risk reduction. The target strategic plan. It is incorpo-
audience for this advocacy ranged from the local community and local part- rated into the country offices’
ners to international donors and national governments. Organizations seem program strategic documents.”
to be increasing their advocacy on DRR though not yet in a coordinated inter- – Sarah Talbot, Program Coordi-
agency effort. nator, Save the Children

Conclusion and Next Steps
Despite small budget allocations and
minimal staff, activities in disaster risk
reduction are encouraging, and there
is increasing sense of momentum both
nationally and internationally to ad-
dress risk reduction in development
program planning, community and na-
tional preparedness programs.

As a next step, it is crucial to learn from
active consortiums in Europe and else-
where how they have been able to move
ahead in capacity building around risk re-
duction and to continue to use the work-
ing group to share best practices and ad-
vocate for more DRR programming.

The InterAction Disaster Risk Reduction
Working Group is open to new mem-
bers and we welcome your inquiries or
comments. Please contact: jrobbins@

Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into
Development Activities
By Amy Hilleboe, Senior Technical Advisor for Disaster Risk Reduction, Catholic Relief Services

n 2005, Hurricane Stan devas- replicated. They supported the to convert DRR initiatives from paper
tated broad swaths of Central construction of elevated corn dry- statements to field practice.
America, causing widespread ing facilities to protect future crops
flooding that ruined homes, de- from excess water. The community The Hyogo Framework for Action
stroyed crops and displaced com- has embraced the elevated drying promotes strategic and systematic
munities. Relief agencies mobilized concept because it provides a safe approaches to reducing risks and
and helped millions of people re- and convenient way to dry corn at vulnerabilities to hazards through
store their lives and livelihoods. harvest time and protects the crop strengthening national and com-
from flood damage. An elevated munity resilience. This thrust is cap-
But this catastrophe also offered an corn drying facility can be made from tured in the first of the three stra-
opportunity to implement strategies local materials. Moreover, it requires tegic goals in the framework: “The
that would lessen the impact of future minimal technical training, though more effective integration of disas-
natural disasters – an increasingly fre- farmers may need guidance on main- ter risk considerations into sustain-
quent possibility as we begin to feel tenance and pest management. able development policies, plan-
the effects of global climate change. ning and programming at all levels
Reducing risk may not grab head- with a special emphasis on disaster
In the Bajo Lempa region of El Sal- lines or appear on CNN, because prevention, mitigation, prepared-
vador, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) media attention tends to focus on ness and vulnerability reduction.”
moved quickly to restore livelihoods disasters that have occurred rather
through a sustainable development than disasters avoided and the plan- CRS recently established a unit that
approach. The community priori- ning that allows for risk reduction. focuses on DRR. As an initial step to-
tized protecting their corn produc- But disaster risk reduction (DRR) ward understanding DRR initiatives
tion from future flooding, as heavy works because it promotes steward- from the field perspective, CRS car-
rains often precede the corn harvest. ship of our natural resources, and ried out an inventory of programs
The traditional method for drying it strengthens local ownership, en- that aim to reduce risks to disasters.
corn was to bend the corn stocks in abling communities to play a great- Many of the programs were integrat-
half to encourage drying and pre- er role in determining their future. ed into emergency rehabilitation
vent rain water from entering the projects, while others were part of
husks. However, heavy rains weigh Disaster risk reduction has become a development programs. The initia-
the bent corn stocks to the ground priority focus for many international tives included community risk map-
resulting in large-scale crop loss due relief and development organizations ping, first responder preparedness,
to exposure to flood waters. in recent years. While the UN Interna- post-disaster improved housing
tional Strategy for Risk Reduction de- reconstruction, and post-disaster
CRS and local partners focused on fines commonly used DRR terms, the agricultural recovery and mitigation
a simple solution that could be challenge for many organizations is schemes to adapt agricultural and
livelihoods practices to changed cli-
matic conditions, such as prolonged
drought and erratic rainfall.

As climate change requires innova-
tive adaptation of traditional prac-
tices that previously relied on pre-
dictable cyclical climate patterns,
Bajo Lempa in El Salvador provides
an encouraging example of success.
With expectations that climate-relat-
ed disasters will increase in frequency
and scale, we cannot afford to wait to
embrace and implement DRR in our
disaster response strategies.
Photo: courtesy of Liliana Rodriguez

Cyclone SIDR: Community-Based 3,300 people perished, far more lives
were saved. One need only to look at
the pre-CPP era when 500,000 and
Early Warning in Bangladesh 150,000 people died in the 1970 and
1991 cyclones, respectively, to under-
stand the CPP’s impact.
By Rebecca Scheurer, Director of Program Integration, American
Red Cross, and Rod Snider, Senior Disaster Preparedness Advisor, ARC While early warning messaging for
Cyclone Sidr was largely success-

ful, challenges remain and study-
n mid-November of 2007 a large (CPP), and the government of Ban- ing Cyclone Sidr provides another
tropical depression in the Indian gladesh joined as a key partner in learning opportunity. For example,
Ocean evolved into Super Cy- 1973. The CPP aim remains the same many fishermen who were out
clone Sidr, a category 4-equiv- today: to reduce vulnerabilities of to sea and did not have radio re-
alent storm with Bangladesh in its high-risk communities through ception to hear of the impending
direct trajectory. Government au- low-cost effective preparedness ac- cyclone threat were killed. Addi-
thorities and the humanitarian com- tivities. Central to CPP is a wide net- tionally, there were signs of doubt
munity braced for a large-scale disas- work of cyclone shelters situated on about the credibility of the alarms.
ter, remembering cyclones of similar higher ground to serve as safe ha- Many of those affected indicated
size that in years past killed hundreds vens for at-risk families. Other core that previously a tsunami warning
of thousands of people. News of the elements include evacuation drills, had been issued where nothing
impending landfall of the massive public awareness campaigns, ex- happened and people needlessly
cyclone triggered the use of an ex- tensive radio networks and disaster moved to shelters. This led many
tensive national disaster prepared- preparedness training. families to ignore warnings of Cy-
ness plan, one that is well-rooted in clone Sidr and stay in their homes.
decades of trial and error, and con- Others were unwilling to leave their
The training component is the fun-
sidered a commendable success in a homes and household assets for
damental piece of the CPP. More
country familiar with disasters. fear of theft.
than 40,000 community-based vol-
unteers have been trained by the
Bangladesh is one of the most disas- Bangladesh Red Crescent to deliver Field reports on the disaster-affect-
ter prone, densely populated and disaster warnings. These volunteers ed households indicate that the
environmentally challenged coun- are equipped with skills and tools to cyclone shelters require better con-
tries in the world. Vast portions of go from house to house, primarily struction, were limited in their ca-
its 134 million people are regularly on bicycles and using megaphones, pacity to hold evacuees, and were
threatened by natural hazards, par- warning of impending storms and not designed to meet some basic
ticularly cyclones, floods and land- assisting with evacuations. An inte- needs. For example, the available
slides, which compromise the safety, gral part of the community-based latrines were inadequate for the
health and prosperity of the nation as early warning program is a four-tiered populations using the shelters. Cy-
a whole. It is clear that current trends warning system designed by the clone shelters are single-use, mean-
such as climate change, population Government of Bangladesh. When ing that between storms, there is
growth and urban migration are plac- danger reports reach level three, less incentive to maintain them,
ing more people in harm’s way. In an warnings are broadcasted via HF/VHF and they are not an integral part of
effort to lessen loss of life and house- radio systems to local government the community.
hold assets, the Bangladesh Red and Red Crescent Chapter offices in a
Crescent Society (BDRCS) has been mass communication campaign. Vol- Such challenges underscore the
striving for decades to strengthen unteers are then quickly mobilized to need to invest more in disaster
the disaster management capacity begin community rounds, delivering preparedness efforts and to fur-
of its extensive volunteer network warnings and encouraging families ther promote disaster education at
through disaster management train- to immediately evacuate. scale in places such as Bangladesh
ing, programs and partnerships. where large populations are readily
In the case of Cyclone Sidr, weather exposed to natural hazards, and to
In reaction to the catastrophic cy- data allowed for several days of lead ensure that preparedness measures
clone of 1970, in which over half a time for residents to prepare for its incorporate the needs and priori-
million people were killed, in 1972 arrival. A network of some 34,000 ties of communities. Thanks to the
the League of Red Cross Societies volunteers were mobilized according commendable work undertaken
(now the International Federation to the CPP and effectively commu- by BDRCS on cyclone prepared-
of Red Cross and Red Crescent So- nicated to millions of people, even ness, this case study provides the
cieties) and the BDRCS established where many had limited or no ac- humanitarian community with op-
the Cyclone Preparedness Program cess to TV and radio. As a result, while portunities for learning, program
adaptation and replication.

Building Resilient
By Erynn Carter, Global Emergency Operations
Program Officer, Mercy Corps, and Lynn Renken,
Director of Programs Mercy Corps Indonesia

ndonesia, the second-most disaster prone country in
the world, has experienced a variety of natural and
geological disasters in the last five years. In response
to the 2004 tsunami that devastated Aceh, the affect-
ed area was inundated with attention and donor funds fo-
cusing heavily on developing a tsunami warning system
in key locations throughout the archipelago. However,
little attention and few resources focused on community
and government preparedness for other types of disas-
ters to which Indonesia is vulnerable such as earthquakes,
flooding, fire, drought, volcanic eruptions and landslides.

Recognition of the increasing number and scale of recent
disasters prompted the convening of the World Confer-
ence on Disaster Reduction held in Kobe, Japan in 2005.
In Kobe, 168 countries agreed to a strategy that aims to
substantially reduce the economic, environmental, social
and human losses of disasters. This ambitious ten-year
plan, known as the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA),
contains three strategic goals and lays out five priorities
for action.

The Ring of Fire Photo: courtesy of Bunga Sirait

An area that has borne the brunt In the past three years, Padang Pari- current challenge is to implement
of Indonesia’s numerous disasters aman experienced two major earth- projects at both the national and
is the west coast of Sumatra Island, quakes, in April 2005 and March local levels. In order for this to hap-
where natural disasters have been 2007. After the April 2005 earth- pen, the spirit of this global frame-
consistent and widespread up and quake, community members and work needs to make a difference in
down the coast. West Sumatra teachers reported that students the lives of vulnerable people living
Province, specifically the area of and people from the impacted in disaster zones. This is what Mercy
Padang Pariaman, is at high risk of communities fled to the mountains Corps, as part of a seven-agency
natural disasters since it is situated and stayed there for several days. consortium called the Emergency
along the same coastal fault line as Community members said they Capacity Building Project (ECB), did
Aceh. But in comparison to Aceh, were scared a tsunami would fol- in Padang Pariaman.
people living in West Sumatra are low the earthquake so they did not
poorer – more than 12 percent of want to return to their homes. As a
the population lives below the pov- result, businesses and schools were A Community-Based Risk
erty line – and the area has received closed for at least a week due to Reduction Project
very little international support for widespread fear and displacement
emergency preparedness despite of the population. The economic, In 2006, Mercy Corps implemented
the huge geographical risks. In the environmental, social and human a disaster risk reduction (DRR) pilot
last seven years, over 600 people costs of the quake were acutely felt project in Padang Pariaman. The
lost their lives during these types by the community, highlighting the main goal was to enable communi-
of natural disasters. In 2007 alone, need to turn the HFA into practice in ties in the target area to minimize
92 people died, 926 people were in- high-risk communities. the loss of life and assets from
jured, and over 54,000 houses were natural disasters by: (1) developing
damaged in two earthquakes that Three years after the Kobe confer- community-based emergency pre-
struck West Sumatra. ence and the creation of the HFA, the paredness; (2) creating a response

planning model; and (3) building
the government’s capacity to use
this model in communities in the
most efficient and effective man-
ner. To further this goal, the proj-
ect focused on strengthening the
capacity of the government of In-
donesia to consistently conduct
participatory emergency planning
with communities.

Participation is Key
Since the success of any risk reduc-
tion activity depends on the com-
munity’s capacity and participation,
increasing local disaster prepared-
ness capacity was a central element
of the project. To do this, a Model De-
sign Workshop was conducted and Photo courtesy of Helmi Urzaiz
resulted in the establishment of the
Participatory Disaster Risk Reduction
Model (PDRR). In this model, at-risk
Since the district government was Preparedness Makes a
extensively involved in this project,
communities are actively engaged it saw the benefits of DRR prepared-
in the identification, analysis, plan- ness work. It has spent $38,000 on
ning, implementation, and monitor- community-requested DRR activi- Another earthquake struck the
ing and evaluation of disaster risks in ties, and more government funds same communities in March 2007,
order to reduce their vulnerabilities have been secured for communi- but the response was completely
and enhance their capacities. ty-based DRR work. The money different. Teachers reported less
has been used to build irrigation panic than in April 2005 and stu-
Project implementation activities channels in communities to pre- dents responded to the earth-
to minimize the loss of life and as- vent flooding, and to construct new quake in a more calm and orderly
sets in future earthquakes includ- roads and pathways to facilitate the fashion. Students had practiced
ed: training of trainers and school establishment of evacuation routes their evacuation drills, making
facilitators for both local partners in six sub-districts of Padang Paria- them more comfortable when the
and local government staff in the man. In hindsight, the timing of the actual earthquake occurred, and
PDRR Model and hazard mapping, project was impeccable, as the gov- they now understood why natural
earthquake simulation activities in ernment of Indonesia had recently disasters like earthquakes happen.
the community, and workshops to approved a bill that explicitly states Schools re-opened the day follow-
share key information with com- disaster risk reduction, prepared- ing the earthquake, instead of a
munity members and government ness and management constitute week later. Overall, the communi-
officials. one of the government of Indone- ties were able to return to a sense
sia’s nine National Development of normalcy more quickly following
The project also involved school Priorities, and that this prioritiza- the 2007 earthquake.
safety and evacuation drills, and tion should also be reflected at the
school competitions to encour- local and district levels. So what happened between these
age preparedness and planning. two earthquakes? The commu-
Finally, Mercy Corps provided pub- As a result, the project’s goal and the nity, government and civil society
lic education materials about the priorities of the government were worked towards a shared vision and
results of the hazard mapping ac- very similar, especially in a high-risk in the process built a more resilient
tivities and laid out the evacuation area like Padang Pariaman, where community. With governments act-
routes. By the end of the project in the district leader was under pres- ing on DRR at the national level and
March 2007, nine communities had sure to show progress quickly. As a communities working on issues in
emergency preparedness plans result, the Padang Pariaman District their towns and villages, the abil-
created with community members. leader was eager to implement ac- ity to substantially reduce the eco-
Over the course of one year, over tivities and to learn new tools and nomic, environmental, social and
23,000 community members and strategies to implement and man- human losses caused by disasters
89 schools participated in disaster age disaster risk reduction at the seems greater than ever before.
preparedness activities. community level.

Disaster Risk Reduction in the

Photo courtesy of Darcy Kiefel
Pastoral Context: Commercial
De-stocking During Drought
By Adrian Cullis, Food Security Team Leader, Save the Children/
Ethiopia, and Ina Schonberg, Senior Policy Advisor, Save the Children

Background As part of PLI, Save the Children/US
piloted a number of livestock-fo-
cused drought responses to protect meetings resulted in Save the Chil-
The lowlands of the Horn of Africa core breeding livestock. Interven- dren/US supporting several field
are predominantly inhabited by tions included emergency animal visits for 21 livestock traders who
pastoralists. These areas are char- health, supplementary feeding and, traveled to Ethiopia’s drought-affect-
acterized by recurrent drought, after the onset of the rains, the re- ed southern rangelands. Two trad-
which results in the deaths of hun- distribution of livestock amongst ers subsequently established cattle
dreds of thousands of livestock families. At the same time, other buying centers around Moyale.
and loss of significant household livestock were removed from range-
assets. The livelihood rebuilding lands through commercial de-stock- During February and March 2006
process characteristically takes five ing of livestock in poor condition. the two traders purchased some
to 10 years, so reducing the impact This is a process of accelerated mar- 20,000 cattle at an estimated cost
of natural disasters in this context keting that can be beneficial during to the traders of $1.01 million. The
is key to improving livelihood resil- droughts. Pastoralists normally only cattle were transported to fatten-
iency among the pastoral popula- sell their livestock when they need ing units around Addis Ababa and
tion. It also saves donor funds by to purchase basics such as grain, tea, the majority was later exported to
mitigating the impact of drought sugar, clothes, human and livestock Egypt. Monitoring information col-
and reducing the need for a costly medicines, or pay school fees or the lected by Save the Children/US in-
emergency response. like. In times of drought, however, dicates that over 5,400 households
rather than letting animals die, pas- benefited from this intervention,
The 2006 drought in the Greater toralists are open to selling larger selling on average 3.7 cattle each at
Horn of Africa affected the lives of an number of livestock and in this way a value of Eth Birr 1,620 (US$ 186).
estimated 11 million people, many
of whom were pastoralists. Typical Pastoralists normally only sell their livestock when they need to purchase
responses to drought emphasize the basics such as grain, tea, sugar, clothes, human and livestock medicines, or
provision of food aid. More attention
pay school fees or the like. In times of drought, however, rather than letting
should be given to livelihood protec-
tion and support. In pastoral contexts, animals die, pastoralists are open to selling larger number of livestock and in
this means taking action to manage this way invest the cash they receive in protecting their remaining livestock
herd size and animal health.
invest the cash they receive in pro- The price obtained during this pe-
The Pastoral Livelihoods Initiative tecting their remaining livestock riod for stressed cattle is well below
(PLI) was a two-year program fund- through the purchase of veterinary “normal” market prices. Nevertheless,
ed by USAID for the Afar, Oromiya medicines, feed or the purchase of participants were pleased to receive
and Somali Regions of Ethiopia. It additional food for the household. payment for cattle that were likely to
focused on livestock production die without further intervention.
and improved range management, Commercial de-stocking
early warning systems, livestock
marketing and livestock policy re-
The benefits of restocking
form. The release of funds at the Save the Children/US supported
the Ministry of Agriculture’s De- Assisted by Tufts University, Save
onset of the drought enabled NGOs the Children/US carried out a par-
to switch funds away from “normal” partment of Fisheries and Livestock
Marketing in its use of radio and TV ticipatory impact assessment of
development activities to drought the intervention which confirmed
related “alert and alarm” phases of announcements to advertise a se-
ries of meetings with livestock trad- that the pastoralists used the in-
the drought cycle management come rationally. 114 households
model (see ers to highlight the opportunity for
accelerated livestock off- take. The were surveyed.

Use of income from commercial de-stocking (% of total) ers to carry out similar activities in
other drought affected areas, in part
because of the poor quality of Ethio-
pia’s road network and the associ-
ated high transport costs. To imple-
ment this intervention on a larger
scale, road network improvements
are required.

Long-term livestock marketing poli-
cies affect how such a disaster risk
reduction effort can be carried out.
Policy support and strategic invest-
ment in domestic and export live-
stock marketing would strengthen
use of de-stocking as a risk reduction
tool. At the time of this de-stocking
intervention, Ethiopian livestock ex-
porters were able to sell the recov-
ered cattle to Egypt. The Egyptian
and other Middle East markets were
later closed to Ethiopian livestock
exporters because of livestock dis-
The points on the graph show the percentage of expenditure represented by ease outbreaks in the Greater Horn.
each expenditure type (average of participants surveyed). The bars above and When such restrictions are in effect,
below show the confidence interval of the survey (i.e., the range of accuracy livestock markets and prices are less
of this percentage based on the numbers of individuals surveyed). This data buoyant. Greater scale can also be
showed that: achieved by addressing structural
weaknesses in Ethiopia’s livestock
- 39 percent of revenues were used to protect a core herd of livestock, in- marketing industry, in particular vet-
cluding 18.8 percent for supplementary feed for breeding stock, 11.7 per- erinary and sanitary standards.
cent for transporting livestock by truck to non-drought affected areas, and
six percent for veterinary medicines and animal health services; During drought, people use cash
wisely. This should open the door for
- 27.7 percent were spent to buy food for the household; and considering additional approaches
to disaster risk reduction including
cash transfers during times of great
- 79 percent of all expenditures were spent locally (on livestock support,
need and a cash payments/subven-
food and clothing purchases, paying off debt, and support to relatives,
tion system for households that
many of whom were also drought affected).
maintain smaller herds.
The impact assessment found that the project provided a 41-fold return on in- This article is based on articles by
vestment, based upon the value of the cash transfer (total receipts from cattle Dawit Abebe, Adrian Cullis, Andy Cat-
sales) to the participating pastoral households, as compared to the implement- ley, Yacob Aklilu, Gedlu Mekonnen
ing agency’s cost (noting that the private traders carried out much of the work and Yodit Ghebrechirstos, available
themselves). online in id21 Insights and Disasters
(in print)
Key lessons learned
This program provided a strong return on investment and critical support to
pastoral households, reducing the impact of drought on vulnerable households
as well as allowing them to maintain greater long-term livelihood resiliency.

Intervening earlier, before the condition of cattle deteriorated significantly,
would have provided households with greater cash returns. Defining and agree-
ing upon triggers for de-stocking, developing contingency plans, and making
funds available rapidly would allow for a more timely response. De-stocking
should be considered before the official declaration of a drought.

While the results of this drought-related intervention had a major impact on
pastoral livelihoods around Moyale, it was not possible to engage other trad-

The Health Sector and literally life-saving, for example,
through first aid and basic trauma
management. For those with condi-
Disaster Reduction tions requiring continuing therapy
such as diabetes, hypertension, or
HIV, it means ensuring that they
By Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Chief Health Adviser, International have some personal stocks of es-
Medical Corps sential medication and a means of
replenishment. The target for ade-
At the heart of the Hyogo Frame- common vectors of disease (for ex- quate preparedness is to ensure that
work for Action is the concept of ample, mosquitoes for malaria) are communities have the know-how
building the resilience of com- under control – are one of the “best and means to mobilize their own ca-
munities and nations in facing up buys” in disaster reduction. There- pabilities to manage their own im-
to disaster risks and impacts. A fore, prevention is the day-to-day mediate health needs for at least the
healthy society is a prerequisite job of any well functioning health first 48 hours – before outside help
for a more resilient society. This is system – especially at the primary gets through. Maximum self-help
because healthy people are bet- community level. also means that hard-pressed health
ter able to cope with – and recover professionals and over-crowded
from – the shocks and crises that health facilities can prioritize care for
An additional role of prevention in the more seriously affected.
are an increasing part of the daily the health sector is to ensure that
experience of millions of the most critical health infrastructure, includ-
poor and vulnerable citizens on our ing health centers and hospitals, do Health preparedness in the commu-
climate-challenged planet. not stop functioning at the precise nity also requires an awareness its
moment that they are most need- most vulnerable members and their
Thus, the health sector has a crucial ed, i.e. in disaster and emergency special needs, such as the elderly,
role to play in all phases of the disas- situations. This means, for example, disabled, and child-headed house-
ter reduction cycle. Effective and well- that hospitals are sited, where pos- holds. National Red Cross and Red
timed health sector interventions can sible, in less hazardous locations. Crescent Societies around the world
reduce disaster impact through: They should be built to resist col- strongly and successfully support
lapse in earthquakes, to avoid the the development of first aid and oth-
likelihood that their roofs will be er community capacities. The experi-
• Health prevention before disas- ence of cyclone-prone Bangladesh
ter strikes; blown off in cyclones, and to not be
prone to flooding when the waters demonstrates how well-prepared
rise. It means investing in back-up communities are much more likely
• Health preparedness for disas- to be able to take repeated disaster
ter response; power and communications sys-
tems. The example of the Caribbean experiences in stride and emerge
territory of Montserrat is salutary: reasonably healthy, compared with
• Health protection when disaster planners sited a new hospital in the communities that are caught off
arrives; and middle of the lava path predicted guard. The Kashmir earthquake ex-
by their own risk assessment study emplifies the latter. If vulnerability
• Health promotion when disas- – of which they were duly reminded assessments had been systematically
ter turns to recovery and recon- when the volcano erupted in 1995 carried out, if hospital disaster plans
struction. dramatically overwhelming the had been better prepared, tested,
hospital even before its expensive and disseminated, and if health staff
machines had been unpacked. The had been better prepared in mass
Health Prevention casualty management, many lives
current campaign on “Hospitals Safe
from Disasters” spearheaded by the might have been saved and health
The objective of prevention in the International Strategy for Disaster facilities might have been able to
health sector is to reduce the vul- Reduction and the World Health Or- function better, in spite of damage
nerability of people to the risks to ganisation is long overdue. and impact on health staff.
their health when disaster strikes.
In other words, it is not inevitable Health Protection
that a disaster due to a natural or Health Preparedness
manmade event should result in
outbreaks of disease. Basic pub- The objective of health-related
The objective of preparedness in the
lic health measures such as good protection is to minimize loss of
health sector is to ensure that disas-
coverage with immunizations for life from preventable conditions
ter-prone communities have basic
diseases like measles and polio, and to optimize the health status
competencies in caring for them-
and a well-nourished population of disaster-affected populations.
selves, their families and neighbors.
living in an environment where the Rapid emergency response is the
The right knowledge and skills are

key as most lives are saved through health sector progress is also the history of how new insights and innovations
what happens in the early period have emerged from the crucible of severe health challenges such as the plague,
of a disaster. Building preparedness cholera, influenza and other pandemics of the distant past, and SARS and other
capacity both among first respond- emergent communicable conditions of present day. Applying lessons learned
ers within communities and among from health responses to past and current disasters, for example through the
external actors has a direct bearing strengthening of public health surveillance and early warning systems, is a vital
on effectiveness. This is the practi- investment in the reduction of future risks and vulnerabilities.
cal approach of International Medi-
cal Corps in numerous emergencies
around the world. For example, it is
working with local partners in Indo- The increasing frequency and seriousness of disasters is probably inevitable, at
nesia to strengthen their capacity least for the next few decades, in the context of accelerating climate change.
through training in emergency med- But there is nothing inevitable about the impact on human health. Concerted
icine and disaster management. health action in prevention, preparedness, protection and promotion can do
much to reduce and mitigate the negative consequences – but only if the right
In addition to emergency medical leadership advances these efforts and partnerships are mobilized at global,
assistance, public health measures national and community levels.
are crucial to health protection in
the aftermath of disasters, espe-
cially when they involve popula- INDONESIA: A MODEL IN HEALTH AND PREPAREDNESS
tion displacement and formation of CAPACITY BUILDING
over-crowded camps. Commonly, International Medical Corps (IMC) is working with key Indonesian NGOs
this includes the provision of safe and community level first responders in preparedness and organizational
water and sanitation facilities, edu- capacity building in one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.
cation on food safety and hygiene, As members of the Indonesia Medicine Relief Committee (IDMRC), these
maintenance of immunization pro- NGOs are an integral part of Indonesia’s disaster response capability, com-
grams, and vector control. With the plementing that of the national government. They train health workers
know-how, organizational capacities, with specific courses on emergency medicine and disaster management
and cost effective technologies now planning, including basic and advanced life support, hospital prepared-
available, a post-disaster breakdown ness, water rescue, and collapsed search and rescue. Through various al-
in public health is largely avoidable liances they also maintain a roster of volunteers ready and able to deploy
and considered unacceptable. when emergencies and disasters strike. Databases have been developed to
identify key stakeholders and logistics resources in times of emergencies.
However, technologies alone can-
not protect health during emergen- The approach focuses on the concept of “Safe Communities” in which disas-
cies. It also requires awareness of the ter management, response training and medical emergency care are inte-
needs of the most vulnerable groups, grated into local health systems in order to establish disaster-prepared and
and much more needs to be done strong internal capacities for disaster management and response thereby
on gender-based approaches to reducing the impact and further health risks of a disaster. The aim is that
humanitarian health interventions. these communities be able to adequately respond without outside assis-
Women and children are particularly tance in the first 24 to 48 hours after a disaster strikes. The strength of the
vulnerable to sexual violence, abuse approach comes from the fact that medical and non-medical personnel
and exploitation during and in the are trained in both disaster management and medical response. Everyone
aftermath of disasters. The repro- – from doctors to targeted key community members – is trained to provide
ductive health needs of women and a well organized and sequenced response.
girls are often seen as a lesser prior-
ity in emergency relief efforts. A “Safe Community” should have in place the following: (a) every hospi-
tal has a disaster plan updated every three years, and regular disaster pre-
paredness exercises, including evacuation drills, with a view to ensuring
Health Promotion rapid and effective disaster response; (b) every targeted area has a disaster
plan and an annual simulation exercise; (c) the response time for partners
The objective of post-disaster health and other first responders should be under 10 minutes in normal emergen-
promotion is to strengthen societal cies and response should be in collaboration with security and search/res-
capacities to repair and recover cue teams for disasters; and (d) a goal of realizing a decline in the mortality
through “building back better.” This and causality rates in both normal emergencies and disasters in targeted
is based on the premise that al- areas. [please confirm accurate as edited]
though repeated disasters are a set-
back to development, they also pro- The NGOs in this project have made such significant progress that in 2007
vide incentives and opportunities the Ministry of Health requested that they undertake a series of trainings
for moving forward. The history of in nine provinces identified as particularly disaster-prone.

Integrating Climate Consider two definitions in the DRR and climate change

Change into the Disaster Disaster Risk Reduction is defined by ISDR as the con-
ceptual framework of elements considered in order to

Risk Reduction Agenda
minimize vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a
society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and
preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards within the
By Susan Romanski, Director of Disaster Risk broad context of sustainable development.
Reduction, Mercy Corps
Adaptation is defined as adjustment (in natural or human
systems) in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli

he international humanitarian and development or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits benefi-
community has traditionally worked on climate cial opportunities.
change and disaster risk reduction strategies sepa-
rately, involving different sets of practitioners and These definitions highlight that the goals of the two ap-
drawing upon different sources of funding. However, proaches are similar and mutually reinforcing. Therefore,
within current efforts to deal with climate change issues, from a programmatic perspective, it seems natural to in-
strategies to adapt to climate change often have much in clude adaptation as a disaster risk reduction strategy to
common with on-going disaster risk reduction strategies – climate change, and to adopt disaster risk reduction strat-
a fact that opens the window for much greater collabora- egies as part of adaptation practices.
tion between the two disciplines.
Making the Link
The main global forum for all parties involved in disaster risk
reduction to raise awareness on reducing disaster risk, share At the UN Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, scientists
experiences and guide the UN International Strategy for Di- and NGOs highlighted the growing body of scientific data
saster Reduction (ISDR) is the UN Platform on Disaster Risk on climate change presented to governments, but ac-
Reduction. The June 2007 session in Geneva strongly high- knowledged the disconnect between that data and the
lighted the need for countries, international organizations, solutions that NGOs and civil society have to help mitigate
NGOs, community groups, politicians and scientists to come some of these issues. They recommended that environ-
together and recognize disaster risk reduction strategies as mental groups and relief and development groups start
a frontline defense against climate change. More recently, working more closely together. Even within relief and de-
the Bali Action plan, which charts a course for a negotiating velopment organizations, many have separate units deal-
climate change after the Kyoto Agreement expires, empha-
sizes the link between DRR in its section on adaptation, and
ISDR continues to highlight that adaptation and disaster
risk reduction agendas are closely linked.

So then, what can be done to integrate DRR and climate

View DRR as a Frontline Defense Against
Climate Change
DRR Practitioners can help communities prepare for and
mitigate against hazards, many of which are, and increas-
ingly will be, caused by climate change. Some hazards are
rapid onset, such as increased storm and flooding inten-
sity. Others are chronic, such as impact of agriculture and
increased desertification. DRR can incorporate strategies
to promote resilience in a community by promoting sav-
ings or insurance in case of disasters or using drought re-
sistant seeds, building better health systems or preparing
communities with training and early warning systems that
help them respond to hazards when they occur. With the
increase in hazards due to climate change, these strate-
gies should be replicated to help more communities deal
with the increase in risk.

ing with these issues: DRR usually falling within emergency another way, even if individual households in a community
response units and climate change under environmental- were to develop economically and become more resilient
focused units. While there are some practical reasons for to hazards, they would still be in danger if the community
this, there should be more energy to bring these groups to of which they are a part lacks important elements such as
the same table. Here are some reasons why: evacuation plans, trained first responders, shelter options,
first aid equipment, and basic emergency stocks.
• DRR programs usually have some element of hazard
identification and risk analysis. A community should Importance of a Multi-Hazard Approach
be able to identify their own hazards, but may not
always have the information they need to predict
Despite the increase in hazards due to climate change,
hazards related to future effects of climate change. In
many people working on disaster risk reduction strategies
many cases, the help for communities may be indirect,
do not want to focus solely on climate change hazards. This
such as supporting advocacy related to central govern-
is because if an agency focuses on a single hazard, they
ment support. It is important for DRR programs to help
might miss opportunities to address multiple hazards at
communities identify risks that climate change may ex-
the same time. Luckily, many disaster risk strategies, such
acerbate and determine how to advocate for support.
as training and the development of preparedness plans
and evacuation plans, are similar for many hazards.
• In the same vein, relief and development organiza-
tions could complement the work of scientists and
environmental NGOs on climate change risks to en- Ways to Integrate Climate Change and
sure that communities get the full picture of other Disaster Risk Reduction Strategies:
potential hazards, and the best ways to mitigate them.
Planning, training, early warning systems, and infrastruc- 1. Create a disaster risk reduction and climate change
ture can help communities better prepare for a broader unit or working group. A structural change or interde-
scope of hazards. Many existing tools which focus on partmental group can sometimes help to foster the right
participatory methodology and preparedness training atmosphere for collaboration and can highlight the im-
can inspire additional community engagement. portance of climate change within the broader context
of disaster risk reduction.
Disaster risk reduction can be seen as a component of
good development practice, as can identifying the risks 2. If the above is not possible or right for your organiza-
posed by climate change. When NGOs discuss building tion, consider joint assessments and pilot projects in-
community resilience (i.e., the ability for a community to volving your disaster risk reduction and climate change
cope to disasters) one important piece is the community- staff that combine using climate change hazard data and
level ability to prepare for and respond to a disaster. Put community led adaptation and risk reduction strategies.
Photo courtesy of Bunga Sirait

3. Even if your agency does not have a full time DRR or
climate change person on staff, use climate change data
for the places you work to help communities develop a
broader picture of the hazard risks they face.

4. Understand each other’s terminology. Read “On Better
Terms” a great publication by UNISDR available at http://

5. Use the Hyogo Framework for Action and National
Programs for Adaptation to advocate that national gov-
ernments support communities in implementing risk re-
duction strategies and adaptation programs together.

6. Consider involving universities, businesses, founda-
tions and corporations that are interested in either topic
to see the benefits of integrating DRR and climate change
adaptation efforts at a community level.

7. Create integrated proposals for donors using a multi-
hazard approach including existing and future hazards
of climate change.

Multi-Sector Disaster Risk
Reduction as a Sustainable
Development Template:
The Bamako Flood Hazard
Mitigation Project
By Charles A. Setchell, Shelter, Settlements, and Hazard
Mitigation Advisor, USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Photo: courtesy of Charles A. Setchell

amako, Mali, is perhaps best known as the center of 2. Refuse removal, collection, and disposal, includ-
a vibrant music scene. Less well known is that por- ing removal of backlogged refuse in waterways, and
tions of the city haven’t flooded in nearly nine years, the establishment of a refuse collection system and
in part due to a flood hazard mitigation project landfill operation;
funded by the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assis-
tance (OFDA) shortly after the devastating floods of 1999. 3. Livelihood generation related to drainage/reten-
tion improvements, refuse collection and disposal,
That’s the good news. The bad news is that precious few know and the initiation of a composting operation;
about the project, or how it might serve as a template for sus-
tainable development, which is the subject of this article. 4. Public health and sanitation improvement
through enhanced water management, training and
Background awareness raising; and

Flash flooding throughout Bamako in August 1999 re- 5. Decentralization support to promote democratic
sulted in death, destruction and significant economic governance by engaging local government authori-
losses for several thousand families. OFDA responded ties and project area residents in a process of identify-
by providing funds to Action Contre La Faim (ACF) for lo- ing needs and priorities throughout the project cycle.
cal purchase and distribution of relief supplies to flood
victims. Subsequent OFDA analysis of the causes of the Results
flooding resulted in the October 1999 approval of a four-
year, $525,000 mitigation project in the city’s most affect- In addition to promoting decentralization, other project
ed commune, which was implemented by ACF. outcomes included:
One of the primary causes of flooding in Bamako and 1. Restoring channel volume in key project area water-
cities in many countries is the disposal of refuse in wa-
ways through the removal of several hundred tons
terways, which compromises the ability of those waterways
of accumulated refuse and debris, which improved
to safely absorb floodwaters. Efforts to reduce flooding risks
drainage capacity and reduced flood risk;
are thus linked to improvements in urban service provision
(e.g., improved retention, drainage, and refuse collection
and disposal), a typically mundane development activity 2. Improving water retention capacity in selected sites
that becomes an extremely useful disaster risk reduction throughout the project area by constructing slip
(DRR) tool when linked directly to hazard mitigation. trenches (a.k.a., soak pits), thereby reducing both
runoff volume and flood vulnerability;

Project Objectives 3. Establishing a refuse collection and disposal service
through the creation of eight collection routes, each
The project focused on five objectives: served by a collection team using tractor-trailers,
with disposal at a nearby landfill established by ACF.
1. Watershed management, including retention strat- (This service generated numerous livelihood opportuni-
egies (e.g., slip trenches and diversion efforts) and ties for unemployed youth, and became self-sustaining,
waterway bank restoration; in that collection fees soon more than offset costs.);

4. Garnering the attention of the national government Why Is The Bamako Case Important?
and other donors, which resulted in the project’s
replication elsewhere; At least two reasons come to mind. First, water-related
disasters such as floods, cyclones and droughts are not
5. Reducing the incidence of selected water- and mos- at all trivial. According the International Federation of the
quito-borne illnesses in the project area by 33-40 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies World Disasters Re-
percent; and port 2007, 98.5 percent of the 2.7 billion people affected
by natural disasters during the 1997-2006 period and 85
6. Changing development policy. After the project was percent of the $788 billion in economic losses during the
completed, USAID/Mali requested that OFDA review same period were caused by hydrometeorological events.
its development policies to better reflect DRR con- Given these daunting totals, promoting Bamako-like DRR
cerns. The review remains an excellent example of projects on a wide scale seems more than prudent.
integrating DRR and development policy, thereby
enhancing prospects for sustainability. Finally, Bamako also serves as a good example of ad-
dressing DRR issues where most human beings now live:
Summary in cities. Often located in “harm’s way,” cities in develop-
ing countries are projected to double in population and
triple in physical area in the coming years, thereby plac-
The Bamako project was much more than just reducing ing even more people in “harm’s way.” Thus, the need for
flood risk: it demonstrated that such an effort can also be multi-sector DRR in urban areas reflecting the multi-fac-
a cost-effective means of promoting several other objec- eted character of those places has never been greater.
tives. At a time of constrained project budgets, the mul-
tiple benefits of DRR in Bamako should be recognized,
appreciated and considered as a model for DRR program- It seems then that Bamako has a whole lot more to offer
ming activities elsewhere. When these activities include the world than good music.
public service provision or other inherently developmen-
tal efforts they can become templates for the pursuit of *The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author and
the broader objective of sustainable development. do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States Agency for
International Development.

The Priorities That Count
By Elizabeth Stevens, Humanitarian Communications Officer,
Oxfam America

f you live in harm’s way, chances The traditional charity-based
are you are poor. Flood plains, model of providing aid casts
volcanoes, ravines and city disaster survivors as helpless
dumps are where you put your beneficiaries and aid as a
Photo: courtesy of Oxfam
house when you haven’t the means gift, not a right. It fails to recognize
to build it somewhere else. the knowledge and resourcefulness But a recent study suggests that ef-
that may have helped a community fective community capacity-build-
And if you live in a poor country survive past emergencies, or the ing for disaster risk reduction may
where natural hazards are plentiful, importance of helping communi- still be in its infancy.
chances are the authorities don’t ties become strong advocates on
see living in a secure community as their own behalf.
your right and their responsibility.
Aid Providers Miss the Mark
Many humanitarian agencies have
accepted that helping communi- In February 2008, the Sri Lankan
The essence of disasters is not high
ties build their own capacity is a Institute for Participatory Interac-
winds, heavy rains and shifting tec-
more empowering and sustainable tion in Development (IPID) – in part-
tonic plates, but rather the expo-
approach to disaster-related work nership with Oxfam – completed a
sure of communities to the violence
than simply providing charitable study that focused on community
of hazards like these. The heart of
handouts. But what does it really capacity-building work in relation
effective humanitarian work, there-
mean to try to strengthen the capac- to disaster preparedness in tsunami-
fore, is helping vulnerable commu-
ity of communities? To answer that affected communities in Sri Lanka.
nities tackle the poverty and denial
of rights that force them to live in question, we must first ask, “Capacity
the path of disaster. for what?” The research revealed, among oth-
er things, that there is no consensus
If a humanitarian agency’s goal is to around what comprises capacity-
Risk Reduction Meets help community members protect building. Asked by researchers to
Human Rights one another at times of emergency, describe a good community capac-
its idea of capacity-building might ity-building program, some govern-
“Deficient community capacity has be to provide first aid training to ment officers and NGOs included long
often left the victims of disaster as a village’s disaster-preparedness lists of traditional, top-down aid-de-
helpless survivors and as faceless committee. But for an agency fo- livery measures like “provide cooked
beneficiaries of external benevolence cused on addressing root causes of meals” and “provide clothing.”
instead of key actors with the ability vulnerability, first aid training might
to help themselves and each other.” be step one; step two might be help- Even some of those who were
– from a research report on com- ing to mobilize the village disaster- able to distinguish aid handouts
munity capacity-building by the In- preparedness committee members from community capacity-building
stitute for Participatory Interaction to advocate for programs and re- seemed to think that once an emer-
in Development sources the community lacks. gency was underway, it was no
longer necessary to support com-
“A strong capacity-building ap- munity efforts – that the job of aid
By using participatory proach should provide communi- providers suddenly shifted to tradi-
techniques, the ties with the time and space to ar- tional aid delivery.
ticulate not only their short-term
community can needs but also their broader per- The Art of Listening
gain confidence and spective on what has left them vul-
nerable to disasters,” noted Oxfam The participatory methods of the
legitimacy, and start America’s Disaster Risk Reduction IPID study were as interesting as its
Specialist Jacobo Ocharan. “This
to speak out in ways can be a big step toward articulat-

that were previously ing and advocating for disaster risk
reduction and development as hu- Every step of the process in this re-
impossible. man rights.” search was designed to reinforce

“Pressure to spend money quickly after the tsunami clearly tion phase begins, it is time for ur-
gency to give way to deliberation.
pushed aid agencies to move their programming along faster
than they should have, both in terms of their own competence First Things First
and the communities’ perspective,” according to Peter Walker In order to provide the right pro-
of Tufts University’s Feinstein International Center, who is grams in the right way, humanitar-
ian agencies need to listen well.
completing a study on the history and present challenges of Communities, with their intimate
the humanitarian system. knowledge of the situation on the
ground, hold the key to which di-
saster risk reduction programs are
most needed and wanted, which
the principle that community Pressure to Spend will last and which will fail, which
members deserve to be heard, and
the reality that they are capable have the potential to address key
Community consultation and ca- rights and move development for-
of helping themselves at times of pacity-building are central to pro-
emergency. ward and which will never prove
viding humanitarian aid in ways more than a quick fix. The IPID re-
that not only save lives but chal- searchers, with their keen attention
“Participatory approaches depend lenge the conditions that place so to creating a safe environment for
on facilitators acting as conveners many lives in daily jeopardy. Yet discussion, point the way to effec-
and catalysts, but without domi- they are time-consuming and the tive listening.
nating the process,” wrote the re- results are not always the kind of
searchers. “Many find it as difficult tangible, highly reproducible ben-
as it is time-consuming. Facilitators But in order to create the space
efits that are easy to convey to vot- for communities to be heard, we
need to show respect to the partici- ers, donors, and others on whom
pants, be open and self-critical, and must create space for ourselves,
aid providers rely for support. In by educating donors, members of
learn not to interrupt the process. fact, community input of all kinds is
They need to have confidence in the public and the media about
on a collision course with expecta- the hidden costs of rushing in the
the community.…” tions from most stakeholders that delivery of humanitarian programs.
humanitarian aid providers can Call it building our own capacity for
The IPID facilitators initiated activi- and should produce quick results. keeping community interests at the
ties but then stood back as the par- center of our programs.
ticipants took over the work of com- A different tsunami-related study
ing to consensus and conveying their now underway shines a spotlight
thoughts and experiences through Ms. Samaranayake laid out the
on the way meaningful commu- guiding principle simply and well:
diagrams and prioritized lists. nity engagement suffers when “The priorities that count are those
NGOs push resources into disas-
of the community.”
“We tried to create a setting in which ters too aggressively.
they could share their perceptions
freely and honestly,” said lead re- “Pressure to spend money quickly For more information about Oxfam’s
searcher Mallika Samaranayake. after the tsunami clearly pushed Humanitarian Field Studies program, please
aid agencies to move their pro- visit
Beyond the short-term results of gramming along faster than they emergencies/fieldstudies, which will include
a summary of the IPID final report when it is
the research, which included frank should have, both in terms of their released.
appraisals of disaster-prepared- own competence and the com-
ness programs, the opportunity munities’ perspective,” according
for these community members to to Peter Walker of Tufts University’s
think through and articulate key Feinstein International Center, who
issues around their needs and vul- is completing a study on the his-
nerabilities may turn out to have tory and present challenges of the
long-term significance as well. humanitarian system.

As the researchers put it, “By us- If mitigation and preparedness ef-
ing participatory techniques, the forts are overwhelmed by an emer-
community can gain confidence gency, of course essentials like
and legitimacy, and start to speak food, water, shelter, clothing, and
out in ways that were previously medical care need to be rushed to
impossible.” the scene. But once the rehabilita-

Psychological Security: The Issue a comprehensive process designed
to support humanitarian workers in
Darfur and Eastern Chad and the or-
of NGO Staff Wellness ganization will also likely spearhead
a collaborative process to outline
minimum standards for staff care.
By Lisa McKay, Director of Training & Education Services,
Headington Institute It does seem that a shift around is-

sues of staff wellness is underway
mages of desperation and need ted. Over time, however, humani- – one driven by both practical and
in refugee camps are familiar to tarian workers are cumulatively im- moral imperatives.
many: row upon row of tents pacted by experiencing and risking
covered with blue tarpaulins, traumatic events, living and working Practically, many humanitarian or-
people lining up to receive the food in fluid and insecure environments, ganizations are concerned about
being measured out to them, chil- witnessing suffering and need on a high levels of burnout and staff turn-
dren whose menacing bravado far daily basis, and working with limited over, and the impact on the design,
outstrips their physical size casually resources within an ever-quickening implementation, effectiveness and
handling AK-47s. They are scenes cycle of disaster response, recovery, longevity of relief and development
from Sudan, Chad and many other and reconstruction. All of these and programs. Both common sense and
places. And in and behind these a host of other unusual stressors as- research suggest that staff who feel
scenes are humanitarian workers sociated with aid work inevitably well-prepared and supported will
trying to help meet those needs. take a personal toll. stay longer with their organizations,
and in the broader humanitarian
Meeting those needs as a humani- Ironically, it is perhaps partly because field. At its core, this means that the
tarian worker, however, means en- of the inherent resilience of many specialized knowledge and invalu-
tertaining risk. In the last twenty aid workers that an organizational able practical experience they have
years, the number of attacks on culture of strength, independence gained at some personal cost will
aid workers around the world has and ‘machismo’ is not uncommon continue to benefit the organiza-
risen sharply, with the rise in acts of in humanitarian agencies. Histori- tion and, ultimately, program ben-
violence growing steeper in recent cally the managerial message, often eficiaries.
years. Nearly 80 percent of aid work- unspoken, has tended to be, “If you
er victims are nationals of the coun- can’t stand the heat, get out of the Organizations in the business of
try in question, but international hu- kitchen.” Until recently, little credence helping others should set a high
manitarian workers are far from safe. was given to the notion that humani- standard in how they care for and
International aid work has the fifth tarian workers (and the work they are support their own staff – even in
highest job-related death rate among doing) would benefit in significant the midst of crises. At this moment
U.S. civilian occupations, and it is the and lasting ways from psychological humanitarian workers from all over
only one where the leading cause of support services such as counseling the world are working in crises in
death is intentional violence. or stress management training. Darfur, Chad and elsewhere. For
most of them, however, this is not a
The last two decades have seen an In the last several years, however, one-act play. Humanitarian workers
increased acknowledgement of the issues of staff well-being and psy- confront disaster on a regular basis
risks. The issue of staff security has chological support have attracted as they move from crisis to crisis. It
become a fairly standard opera- an increasing amount of attention. seems a worthwhile investment to
tional consideration, and agencies Some research about the experi- help make sure that they are able –
have responded to security risks in ences of humanitarian workers has not just physically but psychologi-
a variety of ways – many by devot- been published, and more studies cally by strengthening policy and
ing increased time and resources to are underway. Several conferences practice around staff support and
help ensure the safety of their staff have explored related issues (e.g., well-being and helping humanitarian
though contingency planning, mon- The Headington Institute, People workers understand stress and trau-
itoring and training. In the wake of in Aid, and Antares sponsored ma and improve their coping skills.
this culture shift around security has conferences). Some guidelines on Then, the next time a crisis like Darfur
grown another level of awareness: staff care have been proposed (the unfolds experienced staff will still be
aid workers not only face significant Inter-Agency Standing Committee there to help others.
threats to their physical security, but Guidelines of Mental Health and
also to their psychological security. Psychosocial Support in Emergency
Settings, the Antares Guidelines of
Those who choose a career in aid and Good Practice, and the People in
development tend to be naturally Aid Code of Good Practice). Most
resourceful, passionate and commit- recently, InterAction has undertaken

Case Study: NGO staff well-being in the Darfur region of Sudan and Eastern Chad*
In the spring of 2007 the Director of the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance – OFDA, Ky Luu, travelled to
Sudan. During his visit he was approached by several aid workers who expressed a desire for better support and
assistance in managing stress. Following this trip, he approached InterAction and voiced his concern about staff
care and wellness in the region.

There are at least 12,000 humanitarian workers in Darfur. It is probably the largest and most challenging com-
plex emergency situation in the world at present. Humanitarian workers in Darfur run a significant risk of being
attacked or assaulted, vehicle hijacked, or kidnapped. At least seven were killed in October 2007 alone.

In October and November 2007 InterAction commissioned the Headington Institute to assess the adequacy of
policies and programs to support humanitarian workers and mitigate stress for staff in Darfur and Eastern Chad.
Institute staff surveyed and interviewed 80 staff from 10 organizations. Key findings included:

• More than half of the staff surveyed reported feeling under more physical and emotional stress than was
normal for them.

• The three most frequently cited sources of stress were: witnessing or hearing stories of personal tragedy, suf-
fering and devastation; being separated from family and friends; and heavy workload.

• While there is a growing awareness of the need for policies and programs to support humanitarian staff in
high stress situations, policies and programs vary widely across organizations. Relatively few agencies have
clearly articulated a commitment to staff well-being in policy documents or outlined proactive plans for staff

Key over-arching issues related to staff support included:

• The critical role of skilled managers in effective staff support;

• The equity of policies and programs as applied to national and international staff;

• The availability of funding and other resources for staff support purposes; and

• The complexity of the situations in Sudan and Chad, and the challenge this poses to designing and imple-
menting relevant and appropriate policies and programs from headquarters.

The assessment report outlined specific findings and recommendations concerning staff selection, preparation
and orientation, and support during and after assignments. Recommendations to InterAction regarding im-
proved policy and practice within the broader humanitarian community included:

• Supporting a series of interagency workshops on stress and trauma management and self-care to promote
resilience and hardiness for staff based in Sudan and Chad;

• Supporting a series of interagency workshops on management skills for crises environments, including com-
munication and conflict management; and

• Overseeing a process to identify, disseminate and implement minimum standards for staff care.

*The report will be available on the InterAction website ( For additional questions about the
Staff Wellness Working Group or the report also feel free to contact Linda Poteat at

Reducing the Impact of a Global Pandemic
By Elizabeth Bellardo, Program Manager, Humanitarian Policy & Practice, InterAction

he potential catastrophic 20 countries over the next three
effects of a global influenza years. Planning has already begun “This is a unique opportu-
pandemic have been widely in Egypt and Ethiopia. nity to build real capacity at
covered in the media over the community level to pre-
the past few years. One prominent pare for this and any other
InterAction’s role in this initiative
quantitative estimation of potential emergency. Communities
builds on the work of the Avian &
global pandemic influenza deaths, may not see this as a prior-
Human Influenza Working Group
based on extrapolation from the ity since they have so many
over the past two years and InterAc-
1918-20 pandemic, puts the num- other pressing needs. And we
tion’s relationships with other NGO
ber at 62 million possible fatalities. should be conscious of not
umbrella organizations. The capac-
The World Bank has predicted that overburdening them. But,
ity map available on InterAction’s
a pandemic could cost the global we shouldn’t ignore the risk.
website will be expanded beyond
economy $800 billion a year. As re- Rather, we should find a way
Avian Flu to cover pandemic pre-
cently as March 21, UK Prime Minis- to work within existing struc-
paredness. The resources that will
ter Gordon Brown said that a global tures. NGOs can use all those
be mapped are not limited to pro-
flu pandemic was a greater threat other programs – community
grams focused solely on pandemic
than terrorism. While these state- health programs, or disaster
prevention. Rather the goal is to
ments are frightening, the threat of preparedness programs – as
map all existing capacities on the
this pandemic presents the interna- a means of working with pan-
ground as an indicator of the level
tional relief and development com- demic preparedness.”–Jeanne
of community preparedness and
munity with the chance to prepare for Koepsell, Senior Pandemic
NGO response capacity, including
a disaster that has not yet occurred. Advisor, American Red Cross
programs in areas such as health,
/ International Federation of
disaster preparedness, food securi-
Red Cross and Red Crescent
Taking advantage of this window ty, community outreach and media.
of opportunity, USAID has brought InterAction will also be updating its
together and is funding a partner- resources on NGO business conti-
ship of organizations and agencies nuity planning so organizations can
to reduce preventable excess mor- share and learn from their counter-
tality during a pandemic, regard- parts. These resources will address Learn More:
less of the cause. The initiative is both headquarters-level continuity
focused on community and first and maintenance of programmatic • Sign up for InterAction’s
responder preparedness, based on service delivery in the field. Pandemic Preparedness
the assumption that during a pan- email list to receive updates
demic, national response capaci- In addition, InterAction will coor- on NGO country and region-
ties in developing countries will dinate regional NGO conferences al meetings, and to ensure
be overwhelmed and medications in Africa, Asia and Latin America to that your organization’s in-
will likely not be available to the present this project in the field and formation is included in the
majority of the population at the help develop and strengthen NGO mapping project. Contact
time they are needed most. The and first responder networks. These Elizabeth Bellardo (ebellar-
Academy for Educational Develop- networks will give local communi-
ment, the CORE Group, InterAction, ties a better chance to mount an
the International Federation of Red organized response when a pan- • Attend the InterAction Fo-
Cross and Red Crescent Societies, demic or other disaster does strike. rum. The workshop on Pan-
and UN agencies are working to- demic Preparedness will
gether with USAID on this initiative. be held on Thursday, May
Now is the time and this is the op-
Major activities include: develop- 8th from 2:30pm-4:15pm.
portunity to begin the contingency
ing networks; resource mapping; (http://www.interaction.
planning that could save many
adapting technical materials for org/forum/)
lives in communities around the
local use; trainings; developing lo-
cal response plans; and identifying world.
a pandemic response kit. The ini-
tiative will be rolled out in about

Inside our Community

ADRA Awarded $6 Million Project for “People in Chuquisaca rely on subsistence farming to feed
their families and earn a living, so it’s critical to give them
Poverty Reduction in Ghana the tools they need to regain their ability to earn a living,”
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) said Chris Sykes, CARE’s country director in Bolivia.
signed an agreement in March with Millennium Devel-
CARE has worked in Bolivia for more than 30 years beginning
opment Authority, which regulates the Millennium Chal-
with its response to a flooding emergency in Beni in 1956.
lenge Corporation’s development contracts in Ghana, for
CARE has 60 years of experience delivering emergency aid.
a $6 million, four-year agricultural project to expand pov-
erty reduction efforts in central Ghana.
Oxfam America Applauds Chairman
The project, which is expected to benefit 30,000 farmers and Berman’s Commitment to Aid Reform
600 farmers’ groups, will develop the capabilities of subsis-
tence farmers in central Ghana by training farmers’ groups Oxfam America congratulated Congressman Howard
in literacy, business planning and marketing methods. ADRA Berman (D-CA) on his formal election to Chairman of the
will help farmers increase their crop yields by facilitating ac- House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and welcomed his
cess to irrigation ponds, grain storage and temperature sensi- stated commitment to begin a “major overhaul of U.S. as-
tive facilities designed to reduce post-harvest losses. sistance to other countries.” His demonstrated leadership,
dedication and foresight will be critical to the success of
The project will stimulate economic growth in a region of foreign assistance modernization.
Ghana with tremendous potential to become the coun-
try’s food basket. “US foreign aid has saved millions of lives and helped mil-
lions more overcome poverty,” said Raymond C. Offen-
“We are absolutely thrilled with this achievement,” said heiser, president of Oxfam America. “Yet foreign aid is still
Charles Sandefur, president of ADRA International. “ADRA underperforming and often fails to reach the people who
International is very proud of the work that ADRA Ghana need it most. Built for the challenges of the Cold War, U.S.
has done toward empowering Ghanaians, and looks for- foreign aid in the 21st century has become slow, bureau-
ward to their continued success in this new initiative.” cratic and fragmented. Chairman Berman’s statement
rightly acknowledges the pressing need for reform.”
ADRA is present in 125 countries, providing community
development and emergency management without Oxfam America seeks reform that would make U.S. for-
regard to political or religious association, age, gender, eign aid more efficient, more modern and more focused
race, or ethnicity. on ending global poverty. The organization advocates the
modernization of the laws, structure, and strategy of U.S.
Additional information about ADRA can be found at foreign assistance. As a U.S.-based nongovernmental or- ganization with hands-on experience working in develop-
ing countries, Oxfam America works to improve US foreign
CARE Helps Isolated Bolivians Recover aid by linking local aid recipients to global aid policies.
from Disaster
In response to recent floods that killed 73 people and af- Advocacy Training for Staff
fected half a million people, CARE has distributed agricultural
materials and will provide long-term rehabilitation to 30,000
InterAction will sponsor its first Introduction
people in the isolated Chuquisaca province of central Bolivia.
to Advocacy training day on Tuesday, May
Chuquisaca was particularly hard-hit, losing more than 60 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the InterAction
percent of its agricultural production to the floods. Many offices. The workshop will end an hour prior
roads and more than 13,500 acres of corn crops were de- to the opening dinner of InterAction’s Forum
stroyed, devastating the lives and livelihoods of the ma- (May 6-9). The training is designed for full-
jority of the people in the province. time staff with less than one year of advocacy
experience. Preference will be given to staff
CARE distributed tools such as pick-axes, hoes, spades and traveling to Washington, DC for the Forum.
wheelbarrows, as well as onion and carrot seeds and fenc- To RSVP contact Margaret Christoph, Senior
ing materials so that families can begin planting again. In Administrative Associate for External Relations,
addition, over one thousand extremely poor people re- at or at 202-552-
ceived a household kit comprised of blankets, a cooking 6553 for information.
pot and kitchen utensils.

InterActions Bids Farewell
to Former President
Julia Taft

nterAction members received in mid-March the sad
news that Julia Taft died at her Washington, DC home
on March 15 after a long illness. Julia served InterAc-
tion twice as President. From 1994 to 1997 she was
the coalition’s second chief executive, leading the coali-
tion through a period of expansion and growing influ-
ence in Washington. In 2006, while already ill, she agreed
to serve as Interim President as the board searched for a
successor to Dr. Mohammad Akhter, following his resig-
nation. She remained in that capacity for six months until
the current President, Sam Worthington, took the helm.

“Julia was a great leader who left an important
legacy to refugees and the world’s most vulner-
able people,” said InterAction’s president, Sam
Worthington. “She supported and led our com-
munity when we needed her guidance and she
will always be remembered for her dedication
and willingness to help those in need.” ate interest in the welfare of those she was able to as-
sist, as well as the personal courage she showed working
Five hundred family members, friends and former col- amidst violence in the Balkans and elsewhere.
leagues attended a memorial service for Julia at the
historic Pohick Church in Lorton, Virginia on March 29. Prior to her first term as InterAction’s President, Julia
Eulogists recalled her long engagement in humanitarian was Director of USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assis-
activities, starting when President Gerald Ford put her in tance. She left InterAction to become Assistant Secretary
charge of the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees in the of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the
United States in 1975. They also described her passion- Clinton Administration and subsequently worked for the
United Nations as Director of the Bureau for Crisis Pre-
vention and Recovery at the United Nations Develop-
ment Program.

InterAction recognized her long record of service at its
Forum in 2007 when Julia became the first recipient of
the organization’s Humanitarian Leadership Award. That
award will now bear her name and be given annually to a
member of the coalition whose leadership has benefited
not just his or her own agency but the community more
generally. InterAction also has decided to name its con-
ference room for her.

At the reception at their Lorton farm following the me-
morial service, members of Julia’s family were given a
bound volume containing the many messages of condo-
lence and remembrance received by InterAction for them
from members around the country and overseas as well
as from U.S. government officials present and past.

Career Development: Staff Well Being in
Sudan and Chad
By Michael Haslett
In October and November of 2007, InterAction commis- cies, guidelines and program that help staff, it is possible to
sioned the Headington Institute to review what practices identify staff that haven’t received or felt adequately sup-
were in place to support NGO field staff working in the ported.” (Headquarters management respondent)
Darfur region of Sudan and in Eastern Chad. The purpose
of the report was to assess the opinions of headquarters “It would be good if material was available about stress
management and field staff about the practices in place management and even better if this topic was incorpo-
to help staff deal with the stresses related to the jobs they rated into the [organization’s] manual. It would also be
were carrying out in these locations. good if a counselor or social worker was available.” (Field
staff respondent)
This column covers a selection of the comments made by
respondents interviewed for the report. Support After Assignment.
Preparation and Orientation for Work in “The biggest hole in the entire process is post-employ-
Sudan and Chad. ment. There is a weakness in the debriefing process; and
the debriefing usually follows more along sectoral lines
Headquarters management and field workers were asked so that the replacement or next person will be better pre-
if their organizations adequately train and prepare their pared to handle the sectoral work. There is virtually noth-
staff for postings in Darfur and Chad. ing on self care, nor on the personal cost is to staff when
self care is ignored. [Organization’s name] also does not
“We need to standardize our orientation process; not all staff look carefully at how well staff cope during their assign-
receive the same preparation, information and orientation. ment.” (Headquarters management respondent)
We also need to prepare national and international staff for
their assignments.” (Headquarters management respondent) “The biggest source of stress and distraction for me right
now is thinking about jumping back into ‘real life’. This has
“When I arrived in Darfur I felt that I was over prepared, been a tough assignment and there won’t be any break.
I expected things to be worse than they actually were. I I know when I leave here, I’ll have to hit the ground run-
thought that my time at HQ was especially helpful in get- ning at home. It makes me exhausted just thinking about
ting up to speed on our projects.” (Field staff respondent) it. I would really like an opportunity to decompress some-
where restful before returning home.” (Field staff respon-
“International staff received one week of orientation in dent, three weeks before the end of his/her contract)
Khartoum. The orientation included culture, security and
job descriptions, and organization goals. There was nothing “In theory, field staff have access to EAP [assistance pro-
about self care or stress management. There is no orientation grams] for three months after the end of the assignment.
for local staff and there should be.” (Field staff respondent) There are no debriefings at the end of tour. [Organiza-
tions’ name] does not bring field staff back to headquar-
“It would be good if material was available about stress ters mostly because it is cost prohibitive.” (Headquarters
management and even better if this topic could be incor- management respondent)
porated into the [organization’s] manual … Staff prepar-
ing to go to the field to work in an emergency humanitar- These interviews reveal that there are many inconsisten-
ian situation need to be better prepared with orientation, cies in training, preparation and support for staff who
security training, self care and stress management, and work in emergency settings, before, during and after
capacity building.” (Field staff respondent) assignments: differences between organizations and be-
tween the services for international and national staff with-
Support During Assignment. in an organization. We hope these responses help to better
prepare you as you look for positions abroad. We also hope
Respondents were asked if their organizations provide they are helpful for organizations and management seeking
adequate support for staff during their postings in Darfur to better understand the needs of staff as they travel abroad
and Chad. before, during, and after their assignments.

“One challenge we face is the unevenness of support of The information used in this column is from “NGO Staff Well-
our staff. International staff have better health coverage being in the Darfur Region of Sudan & Eastern Chad” an assess-
than national staff. Some managers receive leadership train- ment report created for InterAction by the Headington Institute
ing; others do not. Some staff have received stress manage- in November of 2007. The full report will be available shortly on
ment training, others have not. For every example of poli- the InterAction website (

Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

reconciliations. Suitable candidates for HEIFER INT’L

the position will have a Bachelors de- IS AN EOE/AA EMPLOYER BY CHOICE
gree in Accounting or Finance (Masters
degree, CPA or CA a plus), a minimum of DIRECT RESPONSE MANAGER
five years progressive finance/account-
Baltimore, MD
ANNOUNCEMENTS ing experience in the non-profit sector,
with at least three years of experience
working internationally in the same
The mission of World Relief is to work
with, for and from the church in al-
leviating suffering and poverty in the
capacity as head of finance for a large
name of Christ. The Direct Response
CHIEF COMMUNICATION country program (with funding port-
Manager will be responsible for strate-
OFFICER folio ranging from US$5 million plus). gic planning, execution, analysis, and
Cambridge, MA budget management for all direct re-
PHR seeks experienced professional sponse initiatives, including direct mail
to oversee all aspects of external com-
and online fund raising, bringing in
munications, including creating and Windhoek, Namibia
Crown Agents USA, Inc. (CA-USA), an new supporters and upgrading exist-
implementing strategic communica- ing donors. This includes solicitations,
tion plan to advance PHR’s mission international development company,
in conjunction with the Supply Chain cultivations and stewardship efforts for
and program agenda through a range donors at the $1,000-$4,999 level. Re-
of communications tools. Bachelors Management System (SCMS) project,
seeks a Lab Logistics Advisor to be quired qualifications are; Undergradu-
degree, at least ten years progressive ate degree, Minimum of five years of
management experience in the com- based in Windhoek, Namibia. The LLA
will provide technical assistance and fund raising or related direct market-
munications field, proven experience ing experience, Proficiency in MS Of-
coordinating and executing commu- primarily focus on strengthening logis-
tics systems for laboratory commodities fice: Familiarity with Raiser’s Edge and
nications campaigns. For complete other database packages preferred,
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gram and improve supply chain practic- Strong attention to detail. Please ap-
about PHR visit our website www. ply directly online at Apply es. The LLA will ensure logistics require-
to, or mail to Re- ments are provided in USG-funded HIV/
sume Coordinator, PHR, 2 Arrow Street, AIDS commodity support programs. PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Suite 301, Cambridge, MA 02138. PHR Submit a resume in MS Word format to Arlington, VA
is an equal opportunity employer. or apply on- ECDC Enterprise Development Group,
line at No a non-profit micro-enterprise develop-
phone calls, faxes or walk-ins please. CA- ment organization, seeks a Program
FINANCE DIRECTOR USA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Director to manage and expand day-
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of to-day operations; asset, resource,
Congo FOUNDATION RELATIONS and strategic partnership develop-
The IRC has been working in the DRC SENIOR OFFICER ment and marketing; and oversee a
since 1996, initially providing a range Washington, DC wide range of small business, lending,
of life-saving support to displaced and Heifer Int’l, a global, dynamic, non-prof- home ownership, asset development,
war-impacted communities. The IRC it org w/a compelling mission to allevi- and educational services. Must have
currently operates in seven provinces ate world hunger & poverty on a com- B.A./B.S. with a min. of 5 years mgmt
throughout DRC, implementing pro- munity level is seeking an individual to and marketing/fundraising exp. Ad-
grams in six core programming areas generate funding from governmental, vanced degree preferred; Min. of 2
and is currently looking for a Finance bilateral & multilateral agencies based years supervisory exp. Full announce-
Director to take on the overall fiscal on annual plan that incorporates Heifer ment at Send
management responsibility of the contacts. Duties: research, identify & cover letter, salary requirement, writing
IRC DRC Provincial Offices (Kinshasa, manage opportunities to develop ma- sample, three references and resume
Lubumbashi and Bukavu). As a mem- jor funding from institutional funders; to:; or
ber of IRC DRC Senior Management represent Heifer to governmental ECDC EDG, Human Resources, 901
Team, the Finance Director will guide agencies in DC; guide donor relations S. Highland St., Arlington, VA 22204.
and oversee the work of the finance through annual plan; develop annual
unit. The Finance Director is respon- institutional-cultivation prog; serve as
sible for developing, coordinating and GRAPHICS DESIGNER
primary coord for relationships w/spe-
implementing plans for the control, Washington, DC
cific institutional funders. The ideal can-
monitoring and reporting of financial IFPRI seeks a Graphics Designer for the
didate will have proven ability to obtain
operations to include controllership, Communications Division for a one-
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sonal & comm skill req’d BA + 5 yrs exp
grants. The Finance Director oversees ment. The successful candidate will
in institutional grant writing & relations
the timely preparation, review, approv- design or create graphics/illustrations
req’d. Salary $52,000–58,500 + benefits.
al and submission of all internal finan- to meet a wide range of needs, from
For more info about our org, detailed
cial reporting requirements, including production of print and web publica-
job desc, & online application visit
month end closing and balance sheet
continued on next page

Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

continued from previous page tor who will lead over 700 national and
tions to displays, logos, packaging, expatriate staff in successful fund and
multimedia and web. He/she will use program development, growing disas-
a variety of mediums to achieve de- ter assistance and development pro-
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but may require some travel to other accomplish field objectives. Qualifica-
countries including developing coun- tions: 7+ years management experience
tries. For a detailed job description including managing national, interna-
and to apply, go to . EOE tional staff and financial systems, field Assistant
project implementation experience and Director, Women’s
experience living in Asia. Based in Bang-
SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER kok, Thailand with frequent travel in re- Empowerment Unitit
US or UK Office gion. For more information and to ap-
Mercy Corps’ mission is to alleviate ply visit The Asia Foundation is seek-
suffering, poverty and oppression by ing an Assistant Director for its
helping people build secure, produc-
Women’s Empowerment Pro-
tive and just communities. The New
Initiatives team supports and enhances Sign up for grams (WEP) unit based out of
Washington, D.C. The Assistant
Mercy Corps Program Development.
The Senior Program Officer leads and
InterAction’s Director will oversee and direct-
supports program development, pre- weekly email job ly manage WEP grants and pro-
positioning efforts, development of grams, including monitoring
strategic proposals, and facilitates stra-
announcements. project implementation; draft-
tegic planning sessions with country ing letters of agreement, iden-
programs. Qualifications include; BA/ InterAction offers a
tifying and recruiting techni-
BS in relevant field, MA/MS preferred, 8 weekly emailed listing of cal expert consultants; budget
years experience in international devel- extensive employment
opment, including 2-3 years field-based
analysis and monitoring; and
program management, Exceptional and internship financial and narrative report-
English speaking and writing skills. opportunities in the ing. In addition the Assistant
Position location in US or UK office; field of international Director will be responsible for
development and the coordination of all aspects
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT of the proposal development
humanitarian process such as drafting new,
Washington, DC assistance. Receive
Mercy Corps’ mission is to alleviate suf- unsolicited proposals and re-
fering, poverty and oppression by help- approximately 25-35 job sponding to competitive bids.
ing people build secure, productive announcements each Travel to Asia will be necessary,
and just communities. Mercy Corps’ Monday morning from sometimes at fairly short notice.
Washington, DC office is headed by This position entails up 35% of
U.S.-based humanitarian
the President, who oversees overall workdays away from the home
strategic planning and program devel- and development
office. For further details on ed-
opment, as well as the policy develop- organizations with ucation and experience require-
ment and advocacy departments. The positions available in
Executive Assistant provides executive
ments, please visit our website.
and administrative support to the Presi-
the United States and
dent, administrative support to the overseas. We offer excellent benefits and
Director-at-Large, and supervises front salary commensurate with ex-
desk reception staff. BA/S required. Subscriptions are available perience. Please submit your
Minimum 2-3 years’ support experi- application directly by visiting
ence required. See website for further for renewable periods of
our website: www.asiafounda-
qualification requirements. Apply at: one month for US $20 or and selecting “Employ- three months for US $40. ment Opportunities” listed in
Institutional rate, $400/ the “About” menu. Application
ASIA AREA DIRECTOR year. deadline is Friday, April 25, 2008.
Bangkok, Thailand The Asia Foundation is an equal
World Concern, an international Chris-
tian disaster response and develop- opportunity employer. EOE/M/
F/D/V. No phone calls please.
ment organization, seeks an Area Direc-

Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

Manager, Grants, Office of Health

Save the Children, the leading independent organization creating real and lasting change for children in need in the U.S.
and around the world has an opening for a Grant Manager who will provide day-today high quality grant management and
operational support to the Office of Health headquarters and field-based programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America with
particular attention to budgeting and financial monitoring. S/he will provide financial and management support to large
USAID-funded maternal, child, and newborn health programs. S/he is responsible for developing and managing budgets,
sub-grants, contracts, and financial reports; manage program expenditures and work directly with the Prime and SC’s Finance
to assure the fiscal integrity of OH assigned programs; and lead the financial budget development of the multi-year global
procurement and contributes to proposal development. S/he maintains regular communication with the country programs
and builds capacity of this staff to handle USAID global procurements. S/he will ensure accurate reporting to donors and will
work with headquarters to assure smooth program operations and coordination for global procurements. Some travel may be

Minimum of five years grants management experience or as a financial analyst; experience in program planning and in
managing and budgeting , grants, sub-grants and contracts; knowledge of USAID procurement, including umbrella grants; and
proven organizational and administrative management skills with the ability to take the initiative and resolve issues. Previous
experience in or with NGO, not-for profit or private sector organization working in international development is essential.
Ability to problem solve and work well with multiple individuals and organizations; excellent written, oral and interpersonal
communication skills plus a demonstrated ability to work in a team environment; ability to independently prioritize multiple
tasks and to manage multiple budgets simultaneously; computer skills, including proficiency in Excel, spreadsheet software
packages, Word, PowerPoint; Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Business, International Management or equivalent required.

Please visit our Career Website at and apply online to position
#3603. EOE M/F/D/V






Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

SIT Graduate Institute
formerly School for International Training
International Development
including Sustainable Development,
Conflict Transformation, and Management
Development Management
Conflict and Development
Mission-driven Organizations
Global, field-based studies


Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex,
and more violent. It takes a touch of genius— and a lot of
courage—to move in the opposite direction.”
—Albert Einstein, at whose suggestion the IRC was founded

Musu Mulbah
GBV Program Manager

It takes the best to prevail against
the worst of crises.

To join us, please visit:

HR_employeeHero_AprilAd.indd 1 4/3/08 4:51:39 PM

Interested in placing a job announcement or advertisement? Email

Country Director,

Deputy Director, Operations,
South Sudan

Deputy Director, Programs,
South Sudan

Field Coordinator,
DR Congo

Senior Gender Based Violence

Community Driven
Reconstruction Area
DR Congo

To learn more about
working with us,
please visit
FORUM ‘08 MAY 6-9, 2008
Crystal Gateway Marriott , Arlington,VA

For more information on participating, exhibiting,
or sponsoring... visit

HR_thirdPage_AprilAd.indd 1 4/3/08 2:03:43 PM
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 667-8227
Fax: (202) 667-8236

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international
development and humanitarian nongovernmental
organizations. With more than 160 members operating in every
developing country, we work to overcome poverty, exclusion
and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for