Guest: the work of the Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center
Did you know that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), comprising 189 National Societies, is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people?
In order to help the American Red Cross and the IFRC with this mission, the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) is an international resource center that develops knowledge, innovation and best practices related to disaster preparedness that will inform the future operations of the IFRC and National Societies as well as any disaster preparedness practitioner in their key areas of interest worldwide.
In this context, the GDPC helps safeguard communities from feature disasters through three main areas: Research, Learning and Dialogue by engaging strategic partners in key research opportunities; Technology through introducing mobile apps for preparedness and early warning messaging in new markets and exploring the potential of electronic games and other technology opportunities; and Innovation and Scale by identifying model preparedness programs and investing in their expansion to maximize impact around the world. To make all this happen, the team is relying on partnerships with the private sector, universities and the expertise of Red Cross staff and volunteers who can help take model programs to scale and provide technical assistance to partners adopting the program in their country.
Some of the accomplishments of the Center include workshops, trainings and research that enhance disaster preparedness capacities at community, local and national levels. Additionally, the Center is working in a First Aid and Hazard preparedness apps program, designed to provide efficient and cost-effective access to mobile applications to better inform millions of people about what to do before, during and after an emergency. The app program is rapidly expanding and will include up to 100 Red Cross partners. The First Aid and the Hazard preparedness apps can be downloaded from the app store of your home country. Moreover, supported by Disney, the GDPC successfully piloted with the Vietnam Red Cross the ‘Pillowcase Project’, a school-based disaster preparedness program. This project involves the creation of an interactive, child-friendly brochure that equips students with information about what to do before, during and after an emergency. The program was conducted in 25 schools across two provinces and reached a total of 3,953 students. The pilot is expected to expand with the British Red Cross and Peruvian Red Cross.
As a contribution to strengthen the capacities for disaster preparedness practitioners GDPC launched PrepareCenter.org. The website is a worldwide network that allows collaboration among humanitarian and international development practitioners and shares resources and experiences on disaster preparedness and related issues. The site features topic, hazard and country profile pages in 18 languages, a cross-language search tool and growing array of +600 resource materials. The GDPC is encouraging community practitioners to share good practices, solutions and lessons directly from the field through ‘Share Your Stories’ on PrepareCenter.org. Experiences from the field are not always easily captured by traditional or quantitative methods, but through story-telling, others can learn and envision new ways of working in similar disaster preparedness contexts.
Please contact [email protected] with any comments or questions about the GDPC, or visit preparecenter.org for more information.