Engaging urban communities in humanitarian response

11 March 2014
16:00 - 17:30, GMT +3

Panel chair: Bonaventure Sokpoh, Groupe URD

  1. Engaging the urban population: Challenges and good practice from the Kathmandu Valley

    Presenter: Samuel Carpenter, British Red Cross

    The challenges and opportunities of engaging urban populations in humanitarian action are only beginning to be explored systematically. Building on a study of urban preparedness in the Kathmandu Valley, conducted by the British Red Cross in partnership with Groupe URD, this presentation will examine new learning and emerging good practice in engaging crisis-affected urban communities in preparedness for response.

    The first step for agencies in effectively engaging the urban population is to understand urban communities themselves, including their diversity, mobility and dynamics. The involvement of urban communities in managing risk brings with it a set of challenges relating to their involvement in assessments and participatory activities, but it also affords a range of opportunities such as the harnessing of new ICT tools and the use of new approaches to assessing local political economy dynamics and networks of influence. Similarly, involving urban communities in preparedness for response involves exciting prospects for strengthening the capacity of first responders and local leadership, as well as challenges in effectively connecting affected communities with the other levels and actors of the urban disaster management system.

    Overall, the presentation argues that to effectively engage the urban population in preparing for disaster in a complex urban system, the sensitive adoption of new approaches, partnerships and technologies is essential.

  2. What engagement means to us: A view from Mukuru Slum

    Presenter: Anne Muthoni Wachira, Programme Coordinator, Mukuru Slums Development Projects

    Over 60% of Nairobi’s population lives in slums. Of these, 600,000 people live in Mukuru alone, where living conditions, in particular shelter and sanitation, are incredibly poor. Mukuru is vulnerable to disasters and has experieced several fires in recent years. This presentation from Mukuru Slums Development Projects discusses a slum-based CBO’s experience partnering with international humanitarian organisations. It examines humanitarian response in Mukuru slum from the perspective of a local organisation, including the challenges and opportunities of working in an urban slum.

  3. Engaging urban communities in the Haiti Earthquake Response: Lessons learned from the shelter program

    Presenter: Sharon Reader, Beneficiary Communication Delegate, IFRC

    The Haiti Earthquake in 2010 is one of the largest urban disasters in recent times. Issues of limited social cohesion, lack of space, gang control of camps and the huge numbers of people in need combined to pose major challenges to the IFRC in how to deliver traditional emergency response activities like hygiene promotion and shelter provision. Unable to rely on traditional community structures like the village committees and tribal chiefs, the Red Cross turned to technology like SMS systems, radio broadcasts and automated hotlines to ensure people could access the information they need, ask questions and provide their feedback on Red Cross programmes.

  4. Q&A