Geology for Global Development

Disaster Risk Reduction

Dialogues for Disaster Anticipation and Resilience – Your Help Needed!!

Following a recent discussion with staff at the Humanitarian Futures Programme, an independent policy research initiative based at King’s College London, an important opportunity emerged for YOU to support one of their programmes.

The ‘Dialogues for Disaster Anticipation and Resilience’ project is designed to bridge the gap between those who make science and those who use science to make decisions… Scientific learning and technological innovation hold tremendous opportunities for strengthening capacities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to future crises. Yet unlocking this disaster risk reduction potential remains dependent on developing approaches which support effective dialogue between ‘those who make science’ and ‘those who use science to make decisions’. Only through sustained two-way dialogue will those with ‘humanitarian’ responsibilities know what questions to ask of emerging science and technology, and those with scientific and technical expertise be able to understand how their learning can better inform specific humanitarian decision making processes and contexts. “ 

The dialogues project, therefore, is a toolkit and practical guide to share emerging learning about those approaches which can support effective dialogue and appropriate application of scientific and technological learning to promote resilience to a range of potential future risks.”

Dialogues

On the dialogues website (available here – http://www.elrha.org/dialogues) you can search for information based on dialogue type (accessing information, understanding information, or supporting appropriate application), search by risk type (earthquakes, hurricanes etc) or search by discipline (hydrology, seismology etc). These searches come up with a series of case studies, in which a knowledge exchange process is outlined and its impact assessed. On each of these case studies you can add your comments and suggestions. You can also submit general thoughts after looking at these case studies via their online survey.

We would love GfGD members to get involved in supporting this project – by looking at some of the case studies and adding any comments that you may have. You could gather in a small group and talk through the tool and 1-2 case studies together. If you are based at KCL, Southampton, Sussex, UCL, Reading, Liverpool or Portsmouth – there will be opportunities to attend facilitated trials of this system (all times, locations to be confirmed). Keep an eye on the blog for further information and updates!

Dealing with Disasters / 4th Conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management

This week (4-6th September 2013) a major conference is talking place at Northumbria University in Newcastle, with a focus on disaster risk reduction and disaster management. The conference, Dealing with Disasters Conference / 4th Conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management, will explore the theme ‘From Opportunity to Action: Bridging the Gap between Disaster Reduction and Development through Science(s), Technology and People Centred Actions.’

Some of the topics covered at the event will include:

  • Engaging demographic difference and change in disaster and development,
  • Developing public-private-civil societal-academic partnerships to improve Disaster Risk Reduction knowledge sharing
    and decision making,
  • The risk governance, scientific advisors, science and policy interface,
  • Education, communication, and development in disaster risk reduction,
  • Cities, risk and infrastructure technologies,
  • Disaster education, learning and response.

The conference will be a fascinating opportunity to hear from a range of stakeholders – both science and non-science, development practitioners, policy makers and others. We will be tweeting from the event (check out www.twitter.com/gilljoel and www.twitter.com/geo_dev) and writing up some of the key sessions on the GfGD blog afterwards.

New Opportunity – Hazard Factsheets

Geology for Global DevelopmentJane Robb, GfGD Communication Officer, writes about a new and exciting opportunity for GfGD members…

For many of our followers the opportunity to get involved in international development as a geologist, or at all, is difficult. One of GfGD’s core purposes is to help change this at a UK level, to make sure that good geoscience – and geoscientists – can contribute to good development. But for those of us who can’t manage to undertake one of the great placements GfGD offers, there is now the opportunity to contribute to global development using your own knowledge of good geoscience – but from the comfort of your own university/home.

In association with the non-governmental organisation (NGO) CAFOD and the disaster risk reduction working group of bond (the UK network of development NGOs), we are inviting GfGD University Groups and individuals to produce a two page factsheet on natural hazards in a specific developing country, all of which have been identified by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as important areas.

The best bit about the opportunity to develop these factsheets is that they will be given to NGOs to use on the ground where they are needed. This is a real opportunity to inform and help people and programmes in developing countries – and any GfGD University Group, or keen individual can get involved!

This is the perfect chance to do something for the development sector – even if you can’t get direct experience in an organisation. The experience of developing these can be used on your CV to show that you have contributed to real organisations on the ground in mitigating natural disasters.

You will also get experience in communicating science, a key skill for any scientist, especially in the development sector where those working there have to engage with communities, governments, aid workers and policymakers on a daily basis – many of whom will not have any background in geoscience. You will also gain crucial skills in critical analysis of sources to develop these sheets – a skill that any scientist has to rely on throughout their career.

DJMFull details of this opportunity are now available on our website – including details of how to set about getting involved. Once you’ve had a read of the information sheet, you or your GfGD University Group Ambassador should contact our Publications Officer Donald John MacAllister (publications[at]gfgd.org) to register your interest and select the country you would like to write about.

Upcoming GfGD Placements

July will be a busy month for a few GfGD members – as they undertake geoscience-development based placements with a variety of hosts. Below we introduce you to the three students, and give them the chance to say a few words about the opportunity they’ve been given. Each student will be preparing a report on their placement, which will be made available on our website. All future placements will also be advertised here.

Name: Julian Templeton
University: Lancaster University
Placement Host: Humanitarian Futures Programme/British Geological Survey (1-5th July)
Placement Themes: Disaster Risk Reduction, Science Communication, Seismic Hazards
Julian says…“I am delighted and feel very privileged to be offered this placement and look forward to working with the Humanitarian Futures Programme and British Geological Survey as well as reporting back to GfGD. I believe the placement will enable me to gain first-hand experience of the communication and analytical skills needed to make a difference to current resilience issues. It will also allow me to build upon my experience and help lead me in the right direction, providing a good foundation of knowledge for going into a PhD. Working with the HFP/BGS will help me in further learning about areas of DRR and how organisations actively involved in DRR operate and aim to create a more resilient society.”

Name: Dawn Brooks
University: Imperial College London
Placement Host: Tearfund (1-12th July)
Placement Themes: Water Management in Bangladesh
Dawn says… “When I found out about being selected for the internship at Tearfund I was so excited! Getting any work experience with an overlap of international development and earth science is quite hard, let alone a placement to do with water resource management (which is what I want to go into after my degree). I hope my internship gives me an opportunity to apply what I have learnt so far in my degree, allows me to learn about an aspect of water resource management I don’t know much about and also gives me a useful insight into how I can use my degree to work in the international development sector.”

Name: Amy Wright
University: University of Durham
Placement Host: CAFOD (15-19th July)
Placement Themes: Disaster Risk Reduction
Amy says… “I’m delighted to have been provided with the chance to undertake this placement considering the lack of opportunities for geoscience undergraduates to gain relevant work experience in the development sector. In addition, I am currently in the process of applying for master’s programmes in hazard and risk, with the view to gaining a job in hazard and risk management, and the ability to obtain an insight into this type of work is invaluable.”