Margarita de la Cruz of the Guiuan Development Foundation, Inc (GDFI) during a consultation by hosted Give2Asia and The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR).
Earlier this month, Give2Asia and the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) were in the Philippines to host the first in a series of conferences focusing on community disaster risk reduction and resilience building. Each of the conferences, held in four of the six countries determined to be most at-risk (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam), will serve as a foundation for further channels of shared learning and grant making from the Give2Asia Disaster Preparedness Fund.
The conference was held as a part of the joint Give2Asia and IIRR NGO Disaster Preparedness Program, which aims to connect private sector philanthropy with the most effective organizations working in disaster preparedness, risk reduction and resiliency building in Asia’s most vulnerable countries.
The July 2-4 conference in the Philippines served as a unique platform for participants experienced in disaster mitigation in vulnerable communities to share their knowledge, best practices, and challenges. Though each country faces unique local obstacles, the Philippines and Indonesia are environmentally similar. The conference was not only an opportunity for G2A and IIRR to further understand the local context of disaster management and risk reduction, but for the 40 participants from both countries to collaborate and learn together.
Over three days, the participants engaged in discussion, and 12 of the participants gave formal presentations. Many participants emphasized the importance of involving multiple stakeholders (e.g. local inhabitants, local government units) to pool resources, enlist technical support and expertise, and successfully implement disaster management and mitigation practices. Additionally, participants considered effective disaster risk and reduction as a form of sustainable development, with one participant even deeming it a form of conflict resolution. However, many of the participants stressed similar challenges of strengthening local leadership, changing resistant mindsets to favor more effective risk reduction strategies, as well as the difficulty in developing and maintaining productive partnerships with local government units.
The biggest challenge is finding funding for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. International grantmakers and the private sector often favor disaster relief work, while neglecting to support disaster preparedness and resiliency. G2A and IIRR will utilize the information and resources produced by the conference to better educate international and private sector donors in how to create sustainable disaster risk reduction and resilience building through grant making.