On Wednesday 23rd October 2013, GfGD will be hosting their first National Conference in London. Aimed at students and recent graduates, this one day event will be a great opportunity to learn more about GfGD and their work, explore the role of geoscience in development, and meet people across the country with the same interest in applying their work to fight poverty and improve society. Put the date in your diary, and keep an eye on our facebook page and website for further information soon!
Today the UK government released their highly anticipated foresight report into “Reducing the Risk of Future Disasters”. This report, led by the UK government’s chief scientific advisor, Sir John Beddington, looks at disasters in developing countries that have resulted from natural hazards.
The aim has been ‘to provide advice to decision makers on how science can inform the difficult choices and priorities for investing in disaster risk reduction, so that the diverse impacts of future disasters can be effectively reduced.’
The GfGD team look forward to reading through the report and discussing it’s findings. We will be hosting our first twitter discussion about the report on Saturday 1st December, at 3pm. Please join us to feed in your initial thoughts about the report. You can find us on @Geo_Dev, using the hashtag #Foresight.
We look forward to hearing from you!
The ‘Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction’ (IRDR), headed up by Professor Peter Sammonds, is based at University College London (UCL). UCL’s GfGD University group hosted a student forum at the end of October in collaboration with the IRDR. This was a chance for students to engage with people from academic backgrounds and NGOs to share ideas on student placements in the development sector and receive feedback and advice.
We listened to a series of short talks given by representatives of GfGD, Engineers without borders and ‘Thinking Development’ (an academic – NGO partnership working to build a high capacity primary school in Haiti).
The talks inspired considerable discussion and the GfGD representatives had a fantastic opportunity to learn about the best way to facilitate student involvement in development projects. Here, we summarise some of the key considerations that GfGD will be taking very seriously as we move towards organising both UK-based and international student placements in the future:
- A field project is more likely to be a success if it incorporates local expertise,
- It is crucial to clearly communicate what you are doing and why to the affected community,
- It is advisable to work within an existing project, run by an organisation with a long-term presence in an area.
- Projects should be driven by and demanded by the local community,
- If the current partners have to withdraw before the project is complete, the project should be flexible and well-documented enough that it can be completed by another organisation.
- Information, even about failed projects, should be reported in an accessible format so that others can learn from it.
We are very grateful to Peter Sammonds for his support, Joel Gill, Anna Mason and Claudia Ramirez for their excellent talks, and to all attendees for their thoughtful contributions.