Tag Archives: NGO

Community Resilience: Aid versus Preparedness

Building community resilience means building group solidarity and the connection between this, faith organisations and charities is well known.

Elsewhere I’ve written about Resilience – drawing on Faith for Strength and how faith organisations including places of worship could play an increasingly active role in preparedness. How effective responses from faith organisations are, especially in times of crisis, emergency or disaster is clear: often they are the first on the ground lending assistance and giving aid. In some instances, this is not unproblematic, however, as my counter terrorism colleagues will appreciate for the provision of aid and welfare can also lead to creating a so called ‘enabling environment’ for extremist groups. Maybe this is part of the reason why some of those who really are doing good unconditionally and purely from a humanitarian point-of-view have such a hard time. Maybe it’s simply because some of them look a little different.

Meet Ravi Singh:

Khalsa Aid has a long and outstanding track record of providing aid not only internationally, but also  – yes you are hearing correctly – here in the UK.

“This is our community, these are our countrymen who are in dire need. I never knew the amount of devastation until we drove around to get to this place, we had to go several different routes and it’s amazing. The floods … the fields are like lakes. It’s unbelievable, how will they recover from this disaster? I think we all need to pull together; it’s very very important. ”

Ravi Singh, 2014  Disaster Charity Khalsa Aid Helps (UK) Flood Victims

 

 

“The impact of the floods in the north of England and Scotland has been enormous. Yet the disaster has brought together people who might never normally mix – from the armies of Sikh and Muslim volunteers to the individuals sending care parcels.”

 

The image in The Guardian article How the floods united the north from which the above quote is taken, shows volunteers from Khalsa Aid, giving out food to villagers in the flood-hit Lancashire village of Croston.

…. and in July 2016 they were handing out water to stranded motorists during a heatwave

So, why am I telling you all this? While absolutely brilliant, it simply should not come to this in the first place. Not today, in the 21st century and not in the UK, a first world country.

What is to be done?

Places of worship as centres for community resilience

Previously I’ve talked about Community Resilience Building Blocks – it all starts with prepared individuals which puts the onus on individuals and why that is tricky in Resilience and Preparedness Roadblocks: what stops us? While fundamentally ‘preparedness must begin individually, we also all know that real strength lies in social groups and solidarity; see Altruism and why it pays to be kind.  As I mentioned earlier, one way of building community resilience is by drawing on Faith for Strength but it goes further, for places of worship can do a lot more than prayer and can become the nexus for community preparedness, responding to spiritual as well as bodily needs during times of real crisis.

This approach is already happening in North Yorkshire. Last year the North Yorkshire Resilience Forum created a successful evidence-based model approach which you can read more about in UK Community Resilience, a brilliant example of what works.  It is my and other people’s sincere hope that in the future this kind of forward thinking, pro-active model will be supported and made available much more widely across many parts of the UK. It is also my hope that eventually such models will tackle and include food security issues.

Places of worship are important for another reason: security

The UK Government Home Office reacted swiftly in the aftermath of the horrific attacks in France on Jacques Hamel, the 85 year old priest at St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray.

While certainly a step in the right direction, the funding scheme is sadly limited to securing property, rather than people.  Being rooted in (hate) crime prevention thinking, this is not surprising.  What a brilliant opportunity this could be to broaden capacities and capabilities!

Places of worship, similar to schools, feature as areas of refuge and shelter-in-place on many an emergency planner’s community emergency plan. Why not also provide the wider resources needed to to communities so that they can respond in a major incident, emergency or disaster? I leave you with this question on this hottest September days since 1911 and also with a link to our newest information hub for places of worship evaq8.co.uk/PlacesOfWorship

Wishing you a safe and prepared rest of the week.

Monika  

This post is also accessed by bit.ly/AidVSPreparedness

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Rethinking Resilience – Capacities of Relief Staff & Volunteers in Disaster Zones

Something amazing is happening in the NGO (non-government organizations / charities) sector:

A fundamental rethink of deployment strategies is now under way.

This is really exciting news for everyone, not just those of us that are involved in some way small or large with Disaster Risk Reduction, or DRR for short. After all in today’s world, it is all too easy for any of us to experience a role switch from being a giver of aid to that of being a recipient. You may want to check out my earlier post on Altruism and Resilience and why it pays to be kind.

So, what exactly is taking place and where and when did it all start?

Source: USA todayThe devastating Nepal Earthquake seems to have been one of those ‘tipping points’ – although here Malcolm Gladwell’s original concept is blown out of all proportion for there certainly was nothing ‘little’ that made a big difference.

Maybe I should borrow the term mother of all wake-up calls instead as a description of how it all started. In any case, what really matters is that things are changing – and, most importantly –  for the better.

At first, we received isolated enquiries. More came. Then volunteer groups and now NGOs.

They are requesting custom-made Personal Deployment Kits including Emergency Food to support teams throughout their deployment phase.

Source: The TelegraphTypically teams of between one or two dozen specialists are sent to disaster zones for up to 2 – 3 weeks at which point they are rotated back and replaced if needed. Thus far they brought with them their specialist equipment but relied on local supplies for food and shelter. No longer!

Kits are now being designed by our team so that DRR workers can be fully self-sufficient and avoid placing strain on the local infrastructure. Naturally, kit contents are different depending on the specific situation and organisation so I’m sorry that I can’t give you any teasers nor can I name the involved NGOs thus far.

However, if you are in any way involved as a volunteer or staff in relief or aid work I would encourage you to talk to your organization and get them better prepared with a better integrated and more robust approach.

Things to consider:

– deploying on commercial airlines? Do standard flight safety rules apply on military transports? Items such as matches or flameless-ration heaters (used in food preparation) are restricted for commercial air travel. More info on types of Emergency Survival Food

– how many meals, how many persons? Freeze dried food are lightest and thus easiest to transport and store. They can be reconstituted by adding hot water; see water purification and food preparation

– how much can be stored in a location, how much needs to be carried as for example in a Go-Bag style backpack? Balancing the right contents yet avoiding excess weight is crucial.

Naturally, there is much more to consider but this is a start. Besides, we are always happy to advise so simply give us a call or send us an email.

Have a great week!

Monika


thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Community Resilience and Preparedness!

 

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

join EVAQ8.co.uk on facebook  follow EVAQ8.co.uk on twitter  join EVAQ8.co.uk on google+  discover and share EVAQ8 on pininterest  explore EVAQ8.co.ok on You Tube