Why sustainability?

Project: Improved Early Warning Early Action Ethiopia 12th March 2018

In the upcoming global conference ‘Preparing for Shock: Is Preparedness the New Frontier?’ taking place in Geneva on 14th and 15th March, we will explore enabling approaches and obstacles to sustainable preparedness programming and hear from local implementing staff, national networks, global programmers and researchers who have first-hand knowledge on these areas. For more information about the conference, please visit our event page here.

In this blog post leading up to our conference, Helen Asnake, Regional Learning Advisor for Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and DRC), reflects on efforts to ensure sustainable programming.

Sustainability is the ultimate goal of aid and development. It is also about making sure the different humanitarian and development interventions are owned by host countries, and programmes live on beyond their life cycles. Most humanitarian actors and donors focus on short-term programming, which may be due to limited resources and capacity. Yet in reality, unless there is a plan to ensure sustainability from the beginning it will be difficult to achieve the project/programme goal within a 2-5 year timeframe, especially if the vision of the project is to make a lasting change. 

Sustainability shouldn’t be seen only as an exit plan and the focus of attention in the last few months before a project closes. Investing in preparedness needs targeted approaches to identify where to invest and why. It is also about understanding who the right stakeholders are to partner and engage with, in order to ensure sustainability from the outset.

Examples from DEPP projects in different countries show that engagement with host country government departments is crucial, and working on influencing systems and policies is one way of ensuring sustainability. The DEPP Early Warning –Early Action project in Ethiopia has successfully collaborated with the government and other key stakeholders to strengthen national early warning systems. The government is part of the consortia partnership and the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) owns the project initiative. Although the project has now finished, the fact the NDRMC has been involved in the design and implementation of the project, has generated some learnings on developing partnerships for sustainable programming.

Join us for our session on 15th March where we’ll hear the following speakers discuss strategies on sustainable programming, and other key debates on this topic:

Melisa Pittoti – Director of Program and Policy from ICVA Geneva

Mohammed Amad, Chairman NHN -Pakistan (Chair)

Khalid Mahmood, Director Planning, Department of Disaster Management, Bangladesh

Esteban Bong Masagca, Executive Director, People’s Disaster Risk Reduction Network, Inc. (PDRRN),  Philippines



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