For the past four years Give2Asia and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction have been implementing the NGO Disaster Preparedness Program.
The Program aims to increase the impacts of investing in disaster preparedness programs of local Community Based Organizations (CBOs) through grant-making and capacity development. As a key component of the program, a Community of Practice (CoP) of at least 100 local NGOs in 8 countries in Asia was organized early this year.
CBOs across Asia have demonstrated many times that they are deliver local impacts with limited resources, especially when faced with disasters. Despite shortfalls in funding and capacity, many such local organizations are on the frontlines of preparing for and recovering from increasing occurrences of natural hazards.
The CoP is a learning process and at the same time a virtual platform by and for the local CBOs. As a learning process, members discuss and share knowledge and experience on an agreed topic to realize more lessons and good practices in disaster preparedness programming.
Members contribute to the CoP that serves as a hub for knowledge resources in the form of a website. They share knowledge materials, updates of their work, and participate in the webinars organized for each learning theme.
To increase access to online knowledge resources, we have partnered with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (‘The Academy’). The CoP website provides members links to the courses available at www.kayaconnect.org – the Academy’s eLearning platform.
Aside from access, the Academy provides technical assistance in the conduct of webinars on key topics in disaster risk reduction and preparedness. Given their expertise in providing high quality online learning and extensive network of humanitarian organizations, we believe that the Academy contributes greatly in achieving the goals of the CoP.
To date, we had conducted three one-hour long webinars that started in 2017. The first was about the important Role of Local NGOs in Disaster Risk Reduction and Community of Practice Launch. Held in March, this was also when we launched the CoP website. The second webinar in April discussed Facilitating Inclusion in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and the July webinar was on Fundraising in Disaster Preparedness.
The Academy’s support in conducting these webinars has been very effective. The webinar platform that they are using, Zoom, is very friendly for the participants to use. This is indicated by the increasing number of participants attending these webinars. The Academy also assists us in marketing the webinars through promotion on social media.
We will still have two more webinars to be conducted this year on Innovations in DRR, and finally on Engaging Government and Policy Advocacy for DRR.
As part of this partnership, The Academy committed to transfer the technical capacity in facilitating webinars to IIRR’s communication and DRR teams. This way, even beyond the term of the current project, IIRR will be able to continue to use the webinar as a tool to capacitate development workers. It is this mission, the mission of building capacities for development, that makes our partnership with the Academy very strategic and important.
Wilson John Barbon has been with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction since 2012 as a specialist and program manager of IIRR’s regional program on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. He manages IIRR’s contribution to the NGO Disaster Preparedness Program, a partnership project with Give2Asia since 2014. Currently he is assigned to develop and establish IIRR’s country program in Myanmar by implementing a 3-year program in promoting climate smart agriculture via climate smart villages in Myanmar.