Updated: Jan 24, 2022
They say change is the only constant thing in our world. Local, national, and even international organizations continue to face various challenges whenever their plans do not match the reality. In 2021, we still endure the impact of the global pandemic matched with massive economic crisis and social unrest. Now more than ever with crises increasing in frequency and magnitude, organizations need greater flexibility and adaptability.
The Philippine Preparedness Partnership (PHILPREP) is among those that need to be flexible and adaptive to changing times. PHILPREP consists of major actors from the government, civil society, and the private sector. It is composed of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF). The tri-partite partnership was established through the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP), with support from the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
PHILPREP has been working on strengthening local capacities for effective disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) for five (5) years now. During this period, it was found out that there is weak coordination and cooperation among response agencies and local humanitarian actors. There is also lack of cultural sensitivity, accountability, transparency, and participation in DRRM programming. To address this, PHILPREP partnered with the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) in conducting two (2) peer learning virtual workshops on Building Flexibility into PHILPREP’s Disaster Preparedness and Response. The workshops were held from April 13-14, 2021, involving national organizations and agencies from the three major sectors that reflected on the proposed ways of working and identified modifications and recommendations on how the platform can enable flexible delivery of humanitarian interventions in the country.
According to Ms. Alice Obrecht, ALNAP’s Head of Research and Impact and Lead Researcher for ALNAP’s Program on Supporting More Flexible and Adaptive Approaches to Humanitarian Action, organizational flexibility is defined as “the ability for organizations or a system to make changes as needed particularly to disaster preparedness and response”. It is deemed important to facilitate a faster response to changing circumstances specifically in a dynamic of quickly changing situations, providing more relevant and community driven solutions — strengthening accountability and feedback to identify improvements and problematic areas. She emphasized that, “there is no one size fits all solution to a problem” as this tends to blind organizations on creating solutions to many other problems of the community that need to be addressed.
Participants pose for a group picture during the culmination
of the 2-day workshop.
PHILPREP members and its partners were able to learn different approaches that they can explore to equip them in facing multiple crises and help them in addressing changing needs. The workshops allowed them to reflect on how to shift activities and resources when the context changes, or when the understanding of what is needed changes.
In closing the event, Mr. Emmanuel Victor Serrano, PHILPREP Project Coordinator, expressed that “as members and stakeholders coming from three different humanitarian sectors, it has been really heartwarming that we worked together in unity towards building a cohesive and strengthened nation between us... this is not the end of our initiative of being adaptive.” The output from the workshop will serve as a working file for PHILPREP and ALNAP to work and plan on. A series of workshops will also be conducted at the local level to achieve a more adaptive and flexible Philippines.