As the world grows more urbanised, large scale disasters are increasingly impacting urban areas. Aid agencies are much less significant players in urban responses, as their available resources are often dwarfed by those of existing service providers. It is crucial for effective urban disaster response to build strong relations with national and municipal authorities as well as private sector services suppliers, and to work within existing legislation and long term plans for the cities.
As a senior consultant at a large, private sector service supplier, Jamila explains the impact of RedR’s training on her role:
"The key thing I took away from the course is the big difference between working in an urban and rural context in emergencies. Learning about the complexities of urban disasters was very eye-opening. One of my main interests is community engagement and stakeholder management, and it was interesting to explore this in an urban emergency context. We also covered how to profile populations, communicate with them, and assess their different needs and opportunities for engaging them in the response efforts.
The exchange with others on the course was another valuable aspect - I think I was only 1 of 2 participants [out of 20] who were not working with iNGOs in emergencies on the ground. I would definitely recommend the course to my colleagues. Overall, the quality of the case studies and material used, as well as the group and individual exercises were very well suited to the topic and to give us a good understanding of managing emergencies in an urban context. The course facilitator, Jim Kennedy, was particularly knowledgeable in the topic and made sure that he gave us clear and generous explanations and feedback on the several questions and points raised.
In terms of how the course has impacted on my work, I applied some of my learnings in a proposal for a WASH project in Jordan following the course. I definitely think it contributed to my professional development as it increased my understanding of the complexities in cities from a governance perspective (which in turn impacts management of emergencies) and this is a key focus area in the work we do in Arup. Separately, it has helped build on my skills in the humanitarian sector and I hope this will help me get involved in more projects with a humanitarian focus going forward."