Concept Paper for Discussion on. Improving Emergency Management in Africa A Focus on Education and Information Technology

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1 Concept Paper for Discussion on Improving Emergency Management in Africa A Focus on Education and Information Technology by K. Harald Drager, Charles Kelly and Desmond Pyle TIEMS president and Board Members Executive Summary TIEMS believes that preventive measures in emergency management are the most cost effective way to reduce the risk and to deal with potential hazards and threats. TIEMS notes that Africa is underserved with respect to disaster management capacities. As a result, the society has decided to launch a plan for Improving Emergency Management in Africa: A Focus on Education and Information Technology. The program goal is to reduce the impact of disasters in Africa by improving the access to and availability of information needed to effectively prevent, mitigate and manage disasters. This will be accomplished by Establishing a virtual network of disaster managers in Africa, Establishing an electronic portal to provide easily access to information on disaster management, Establishing a partner system between disaster management professionals in Africa and elsewhere, Present on-line and distance education courses on different aspects of disaster management, Provide opportunities to participate in conferences, seminars and training programs, and, Develop tools and mechanisms which combine advanced technology and userfocused content to expand awareness of risks and hazards and mitigation. The program will be managed by TIEMS in partnership with other organizations and institutions using Africa specialists with oversight provided by a Program Management Board. Partnership and funding for the program is being sought internationally. Improving Emergency Management in Africa

2 Program Name Using Information Technology and Education to Improve Emergency Management in Africa Problem Statement Africa faces a wide range of disasters, including food insecurity, drought, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, epidemics and conflict. The impacts of these disasters are often exacerbated a lack of knowledge and awareness, incompletely developed disaster management systems and, in places, a lack of resources, These constraints to effective disaster prevention, mitigation and response are not uniform across Africa, and have their most severe impacts where access and availability of information is most limited. It is generally accepted that improving knowledge about disasters strengthens the capacities of individuals, communities, and the public and private sectors, to prevent or manage these events. In short, better information means fewer and less severe disasters. Improved knowledge about disasters can occur through: Educational efforts, including public awareness campaigns, community mobilization and formal education and training, The media, including general and special (e.g., pre-cyclone season) information campaigns, Increasing access to information sources, including the dissemination of published documents as well as access to documents and other materials over the internet, and, Expanding information sharing between policy makers, academics, emergency managers and communities on the disaster management needs and successes. The challenge for Africa, given its vastness, variety of potential disasters, variable capacities to receive and utilize information, and different levels of development, is to define and establish an effective mix of appropriate information availability and delivery tools and mechanisms to reach as large a segment of potentially disasteraffected populations as possible. These tools and mechanisms need to go beyond a technology-based focus and specifically consider mechanisms for providing the right information to the right people at the right time. In short, improving the management of disasters in Africa needs to focus on not only information delivery, by how it is understood and used. Goal and Objectives The goal of this project is to reduce the impact of disasters in Africa by improving the access to and availability of information needed to effectively prevent, mitigate and manage disasters. This goal can be attained by: 1. Establishing a network of disaster managers in Africa using the internet. Improving Emergency Management in Africa

3 2. Establishing an electronic portal for disaster managers and others in Africa to easily access a wide variety of information on all aspects of disaster management. 3. Establishing a professional partner system between disaster management professionals in Africa and elsewhere to strengthen the flow of advice and technical support on specific disaster-related issues. 4. Presenting, in cooperation with specialized educational institutions, on-line and distance education courses on different aspects of disaster management. 5. Providing opportunities for individuals involved in disaster management activities to participate in conferences, seminars and training programs on disaster management. 6. Developing and promoting tools and mechanisms which combine advance technology and user-focused content to expand awareness of risks and hazards and mitigation measures at the country and community levels. Program activities will be implemented in cooperation with other organizations working to improve disaster management in Africa as detailed below. The program will focus on individuals in the public and private sector involved in various aspects of disaster management. This group includes academics, government officials from policy makers down to community leaders, as well as individuals from the non-governmental sector involved in dealing with disasters, and individuals from the private sector who develop and commercialize the tools needed to confront disasters. Hereafter, all these individuals are included in the term disaster management professionals. Specific Program Activities Virtual network for African disaster managers TIEMS will use its existing virtual conference internet list server to establish a formal structure through which those involved in different aspects of disaster management in Africa can communicate and exchange information. Exchanges on the network will be semi-moderated. Members will be able to send and receive messages as will (within the bounds of good netiquette). At the same time, the moderator (program manager) will periodically initiate discussions on the list on topics related to disaster and emergency management. Further, the moderator will forward to the list items of information of interest to list participants. The program manager is expected to run the list for the two years of the program. During years three and four, responsibility for the list will be progressively transferred to list members, with the list being fully self-managed by year five. Electronic portal access to disaster management information The program will use the TIEMS web site as a basis for an electronic platform through which disasters managers in Africa will be able to access documents and information useful to their work. This platform will not duplicate existing platforms Improving Emergency Management in Africa

4 (e.g., ReliefWeb, IRIN), but focus on Africa-specific content and provide a mechanism for the sharing of information between those involved in various aspects of emergency management in Africa. This task will be managed by the program information technology specialist in cooperation with the education specialist. Professional partnering between disaster management professionals A system for professional partnerships between African and non-african disaster managers will be established through the program. The initial partnerships will be between self-selected African disaster professionals and TIEMS members. As the system evolves the program will expand partnerships beyond TIEMS as appropriate. The partnerships are expected to be of use to African professionals who must often fact conditions where interchanges with other individuals of similar professional interests are limited. Partnerships will also be of value to young African professionals in developing career opportunities and for researchers interested in working in Africa. This task will be managed with the program manager with support of the information technology specialist. On-line and distance education The program will provide an Africa-specific channel to develop and present a wide range of on-line and distance education courses for professionals. The program will work with existing disaster management training programs (e.g., Univ. of Wisconsin) as well as academic organizations providing disaster and emergency management courses in Africa. Courses offered will cover all aspects of disaster management and will be offered at the introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. The wide range of disaster-related educational opportunities already available could suggest that an additional initiative in this area is not needed. However, it does not appear that most of those involved in disaster management in Africa have access to, or can afford participation in, the educational programs already on offer. The program will work to address these two challenges. Specific attention will be paid to using the internet and interactive web-based communication systems to expand educational opportunities across the continent. This task will be managed by the program education specialist in collaboration with the information technology specialist. Participation in professional development opportunities The intent of this program activity is to provide high value-high impact exposure to key disaster management professionals, including policy makers and academics. The program will, on an annual basis, provide partial or full scholarships to African disaster management professionals to attend a limited number of conferences, seminars or workshops. Some of these scholarships will be made Improving Emergency Management in Africa

5 available for TIEMS meetings, for which TIEMS will match program funding. A total of 20 scholarships per year will be provided. Selection of individuals for the scholarships will focus on four criteria: (1) Whether the applicant currently has a disaster management-related occupation, (2) Whether the applicant will be able to present an original piece of research or report at the conference or meeting, (3) Whether the proposed conference, meeting or workshop will provide the applicant with skills, education or exposure which would not otherwise be available, and (4) Whether the applicant will be able to use the knowledge gained to educate others about an aspect of disaster management. When appropriate, scholarships will be awarded to young professionals (i.e., individuals under 35 years of age), but on a one-off basis. This program task will be managed by the program education specialist in consultation with the Program Management Board. Combining advance technology and user-focused content This program activity will focus on applying the advantages of cutting edge internet and other technology to the practical challenges of preventing, mitigating and responding to disasters in Africa. A wide array of technological tools is, in theory, already available to the disaster management professional. However, these tools are not, in many cases, actually accessible or used to their full value due to a lack of awareness, resources or training. The program will work with technology resource providers and users in Africa to develop a process to assure access to appropriate levels and types of advanced technology to improve the preparation, assessment, management and recovery from disasters. This system will be tailored for different countries and different disasters. The system will also cover the means by which disaster managers can communicate to and with potential disaster victims and disaster survivors. Taking into account the number of countries in Africa, the program will focus this task on five countries during the first period. Countries will be selected based on the (1) Range and nature of disasters faced, (2) Existing level of technology used in disaster management and (3) Presence of a local counterpart for the program. Each country will be considered a pilot effort to be revised and replicated in other countries facing similar disaster-technology combinations. This program task will be managed by the Information Specialist in coordination with the program manager. Results Matrix Task Outcome Means of Measurement Virtual network African disaster managers able to communicate and exchange information. Level of use of the network by African disaster managers. Electronic portal 1. Direct and easy access to documents and reports useful to disaster managers. 2. Development of a repository of 1. Survey of users. 2. Review of portal content. African-generated information on disaster management Professional partnering Establishment of 100 professional partnerships between African disaster Survey of participants in program. Improving Emergency Management in Africa

6 On-line and distance education Professional development opportunities Advanced technology and user-focused content managers and professionals not resident in Africa. Increased training opportunities and activities for African disaster managers. 1. Participation of 100 African disaster managers in professional conferences/meetings/workshops. 2. At least 100 presentations by activity participants after their return from conferences/meetings/workshops 1. Improved use of advanced technology for disaster management activities. 2. Improved content in disaster management messages in 5 countries. Change in number of African disaster managers participating in on-line or distance education courses from baseline. 1. Program records of participation in conferences, etc. 2. Reports from participants. 1. Evaluation of change from baseline. 2. Evaluation of change from baseline. The program will conduct mid-term and final evaluations to assess progress and accomplishments relative to the intended outcomes. Program Management The Using Information Technology and Education to Improve Emergency Management in Africa program will be implemented by The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS, see box). Management of the program will be overseen by a part time program manager, a part time education specialist and a part time information technology specialist. To minimize costs, a virtual approach will be taken to program facilities. Each team member will work from their own location and rely on the internet to communicate and co-ordinate program activities. However, an annual program management and planning meeting will be schedule in conjunction with the annual TIEMS meeting. The management of the program will be supervised through a Program Management Board of at least five but not more than nine persons. The Board will include the President of TIEMS and at least three members resident in Africa. The Board will approve the program annual work plan and provide advice and support in the implementation of the program. The International Emergency Management Society TIEMS was established in 1993 as an international, independent, non political, non profit society... to promote the development and use of modern technologies in emergency management. From a small start, TIEMS has been growing with the establishment of regional chapters and special interest groups and currently has --- members worldwide. TIEMS holds annual and regional meetings and hosts a web site ( focused on emergency managment. The Society has also hosted virtual conferences on disasters in Africa in 2004 and (See Annex A for more details on TIEMS and Annex B for details on the virtual conferences.) For the project period, TIEMS will be focusing efforts on supporting improved disaster management in Africa. Given the Society s focus, these efforts will be directed toward a better and more effective use of modern technologies, particularly in the areas of education and communictions. Improving Emergency Management in Africa

7 Cooperation and Co-ordination TIEMS will take the initiative for worldwide cooperation and coordinate its proposed program for Africa with the following organisations and institutions: UN and its specialized agencies African organizations Worldwide universities Humanitarian organizations Private & public companies The Telecommunication Development Bureau The Digital Satellite Broadcast Provider/Operator The Global University System Karakawa Foundation TIEMS Chapters Others Budget A budget will be developed in cooperation with project and funding partners after thorough discussion and conclusion of the final program content and project plan. Financing TIEMS will take the initiative towards different institutions, governments and industry worldwide and try to raise the needed finances, and organize the program. The following groups will be addressed: International Insurance and Reassurance Companies International/Global Operating Companies Emergency Management Industry Governments World Bank/International Finance Corporation International Monetary Fund EU Commission African Development Bank UNESCO Others Time schedule for introducing and establishing the program A draft Improving Emergency Management in Africa: A Focus on Education and Information Technology program plan has been presented and circulated and commented throughout the TIEMS organization. The draft program plan presentation at CTO conference on Using ICTs for Effective Disaster Management Forum in Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania in November 2007 will give a broader exposure of the program idea, valuable feed-back and a larger network of potential partners, which improves the chances to get the program funded and started up. Improving Emergency Management in Africa

8 Annex A: Background on TIEMS The International Emergency Management Society (TIEMS) was founded in Washington in 1993, and is today registered as an international non-profit NGO in Bornem, Belgium. TIEMS will arrange its 15 th annual international conference in Prague, Czech Republic 17 th - 19 th June 2008, with the main focus on: Global Cooperation in Emergency and Disaster Management TIEMS mission statement reads: TIEMS is dedicated to developing and bringing the benefits of modern Emergency Management (EM) tools and techniques to society for a safer world Over the 15 year life, the society has been known to be a true international society with participants at its conferences from more than 50 countries, and close to 2000 papers of exceptional quality have been presented. The global organisational infrastructure for TIEMS, consists of Regional and National TIEMS Chapters as the fundamental elements of the organisation. This is made to strengthen and add value to the central core organisation. The fundament for TIEMS Chapters has been made in all countries there has been held workshops, with the following names and regions covered or under planning: Korea, Russia, Australia & South Pacific, Germany, Croatia, Central & Eastern Europe, Holland, Belgium, North America, Romania, Turkey and China TIEMS International Board of Directors is the top management of the society and consists of 17 persons from 14 countries. Membership in TIEMS has been offered since January 1, 2003, and the organization is building steadily up a global membership base. An International Program Committee has been established to be responsible for the professional program at TIEMS conferences, symposiums and workshops. The recruitment of members to the International Program Committee is an ongoing activity. In TIEMS effort to become a true international organisation, it is important to recognize the different social and economic situation in the world, and to deal with these in a practical way, so that involvement of those countries not having the economic ability to travel and participate in TIEMS global events can be achieved. TIEMS Regional Councillor for Africa took the initiative to do a virtual conference prior to TIEMS annual conference 2004, aimed at involving the African countries, where emergency management professional may not have the financial resources to travel to TIEMS annual conferences. TIEMS believes that preventive measures in emergency management are the most cost effective way to reduce the risk and to deal with potential hazards and threats. TIEMS notes that Africa is underserved with respect to disaster management capacities. As a result, the society has decided to launch a plan for: Improving Emergency Management in Africa: A Focus on Education and Information Technology. Improving Emergency Management in Africa

9 The program goal is to reduce the impact of disasters in Africa by improving the access to and availability of information needed to effectively prevent, mitigate and manage disasters. TIEMS is in the process to seek finances to initiate the program. TIEMS is also involved in an EU project building up a Public Safety Communication Forum in Europe ( with the following mission statement: Forum for Public Safety Communication Europe is to foster, by consensus building, excellence in the development and use of public safety communications and information management systems to improve the provision of public safety services and the safety of the citizens of Europe and the rest of the world TIEMS is continuously building up national/regional chapters and is seeking new opportunities in global emergency management to achieve its mission statement. Annex B: TIEMS virtual conference for Africa In TIEMS effort to become a true international organisation, it is important to recognize the different social and economic situation in the world, and to deal with these in a practical way, so that involvement of those countries not having the economic ability to travel and participate in TIEMS global events can be achieved. TIEMS Regional Councillor for Africa took the initiative to do a virtual conference prior to TIEMS annual conference 2004, aimed at involving the African countries, where emergency management professional may not have the financial resources to travel to TIEMS annual conferences. A virtual conference was arranged through organize an exchange of s around four topics dealing with disaster management in Africa, with one topic covered in each of the four weeks preceding TIEMS annual conference The results of the exchange was summarized each week and shared with participants as well as summed up in a report posted to the TIEMS WEB-site, as follows: Education is the key to the better management of the risk, hazards, and vulnerabilities associated with disasters in Africa. Education about disasters needs to be targeted at all levels, from primary to post-graduate and continuing education, include the general public, civil society, policy makers, trans-nationals and special communities (e.g., the disabled), and be communicated in a language which is understood by the recipient. Considerable attention has focused on the failure of disaster management in Africa. Successes, often involving local efforts and participation, have gone unrecognized and unpublicized. Successful disaster management efforts in Africa need to be documented and analyzed to identify which approaches work with which communities. Some of the disasters which occur in Africa, are different from those faced in other parts of the world. Africans express concern about the disastrous Improving Emergency Management in Africa

10 impact of protracted conflict, HIV/AIDS, child trafficking and other hazards, not faced as potential disasters in other parts of the world Defining disasters, and thus prevention, mitigation and preparedness measures, should take into account African concerns and the particular social, physical and technological challenges which exist in Africa Preventing or mitigating disasters in Africa is part and parcel of the development process. Disaster relief receives the greatest attention in Africa. Mitigation, prevention, preparedness, vulnerability and risk reduction and building resilience need to receive equal attention in development process, programs and projects Governments and those funding development in Africa need to adopt and follow policies which lead to a reduction of disaster risks and vulnerabilities and increase resilience across all social levels. To do otherwise means that the developmental process fails before it starts, and this outcome is a failure in good governance. The sharing of information is critical to an improvement of disaster management in Africa. The TIEMS-sponsored conference was one step in this process, but the process needs to continue in a regular and formal manner Further exchanges on disaster management in Africa should take place through whatever means available. These means can include internet and live conferences and meetings. These efforts would be easier and more effective with the creation of an All Africa Disaster Prevention Network. This network would be patterned after similar networks elsewhere in the world, and would deal with training and capacity building, advocacy and public information/education activities and resource mobilization Improving Emergency Management in Africa

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