The aim of this series of videos is to disseminate key outcomes, best practices, and achievements by the participants in the capacity development process of the Global Crisis Response Support Programme (GCRSP). The GCRSP experience shows that when you put together dynamic and committed subject matter experts from different organizations eager to learn and improve their work there is a high chance that the results will exceed everyone's expectations. This is what the GCRSP has seen with the participants from the OAS, CARPHA, CDEMA, CARICOM IMPACS and RSS during this last year. These videos aim to share some of these outcomes with the goal of not only making them more visible to everyone but to encourage the positive and inspiring work of all the GCRSP participants.
The EU through the Joint Research Center (JRC) supported the OAS in the establishment of the Americas Digital Information System (ADIS), an open source information, monitoring and analysis powerhouse designed by the JRC and modelled after the Europe Media Monitor. ADIS is a building block of a functioning virtual situation room: a sense-making tool which — properly calibrated and developed— can serve to catalog key indicators for early warning.
Consistent with the GCRSP goal of interconnectivity, the Organization of American States is working hand-in-hand with CARICOM IMPACS, CARPHA, CDEMA and RSS to find synergies and ways to connect their potential virtual situation rooms. As a result the OAS has begun to make ADIS available to its CARICOM counterparts. This connection between the analysts from CARICOM agencies and those from the OAS through ADIS will benefit the analysis work carried out in both the Americas and the Caribbean region.
The training course on gender in early warning systems emphasized the importance of a gender lens when gathering information, especially in a disaster situation. Donna Pierre, CDEMA's disaster management expert, put the learnings from the course to work and started to reflect on how to improve the Strategic Targeting Methodology (STM). The STM is a tool developed collaboratively by the secretariats and national offices of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and CDEMA to help organisations prioritize communities for risk resilience interventions.
During the process of improving the STM, Donna collaborated with other GCRSP participants from the Joint Regional Communications Centre. Their joint effort has contributed to improving a tool developed jointly by different organizations which has been used to facilitate the community selection processes for projects funded by ECHO, DFID, OFDA and the Canadian Red Cross, amongst others, across the Caribbean region.
Inspired by the GCRSP training course on knowledge management, participants from different sections of the Organization of American States created, bottom-up, a community of practice to share knowledge, mitigate knowledge loss and increase knowledge retention and, ultimately, to improve their daily work. This ongoing initiative is also contributing to breaking down the "silo mentality" that very often prevails in large organizations.
In this video Marian Vidaurri from the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy explains how the GCRSP has not only provided useful tools and techniques to improve the analytical work of the OAS, but has also inspired them to create a common space where different departments and secretariats can come together to share knowledge, debate new ideas and improve their work.
According to the Cyber Security Program of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS), the responsibility for securing cyberspace lies with a wide range of national and regional entities from the public and private sectors working on both policy and technical issues. Following CICTE’s approach of building cyber security capacity in OAS member states the Cyber Security Program collaborated with the GCRSP to implement a five-day training course in the Caribbean region. The course enhanced the participants’ skills in identifying and analyzing critical cybersecurity considerations in crisis response and also provided an opportunity to apply their new knowledge and skills to a crisis scenario in a simulation exercise.
As Sean Fouche from CARICOM IMPACS explains in this video, establishing this connection with CICTE contributed to developing the cyber security objectives for the region as defined in the 2013 Crime and Security Strategy and enhanced the collaboration with other key actors in the area of security and defence, fostering regional cooperation in cyber security.
In the Caribbean, participants from the GCRSP came up with ideas on how to ensure the knowledge from the training courses remains in the organizations and is also transferred to other colleagues. CARPHA and the Regional intelligence Fusion Centre came up with initiatives that, if managed well, will benefit the RSS and CDEMA Regional Training Centres.
Now the Caribbean regional agencies have a repository of knowledge on topics including open source information, knowledge management, scenario analysis and gender in early warning. They also have personnel trained in applying these topics to their daily work who can share what they have learnt. This pool of knowledge if stored and managed properly could become a very useful resource for the Caribbean region.
For more than a year and a half CARPHA, CDEMA, RSS and CARICOM IMPACS have been training and working together to enhance the crisis response mechanism in the Caribbean. This process culminated in a simulation exercise enacting an emergency situation blending aspects such as security, health and disaster management. The four regional agencies used this opportunity to test their capacity to produce and share collaborative situation awareness reports, their decision-making processes and responsibilities, as well as to test a virtual situation room where all of them shared in real-time key information for the response.
The local ownership of the exercise design ensured its relevance for the Caribbean agencies that are now better prepared to address contemporary complex emergencies.