As a result of the partnership between Makerere University School of Public Health, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) in Nairobi Kenya, RAN participated in the Consultative Workshop organized by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) in Arusha, Kilimanjaro Region Tanzania. The RAN team was represented by Harriet Adong, RAN Communications Manager in a workshop which was held on Tuesday May 15 to Wednesday 16, 2017. During the engagement, discussions were directed towards Effectively Establishing and Maintaining the East Africa Humanitarian Learning Platform. The workshop was hosted and facilitated by MS-Training Center for Development Corporation (MS-TCDC)  For the case of Uganda, this workshop was leveraging from country discussions held on May 10, 2017 in Kampala under the theme ‘Improving access and use of Humanitarian Evidence’.

This consultative workshop brought together 20 key multidisciplinary Humanitarian Leadership Academy partners in the East African region involved in the humanitarian work and capacity support for different target communities. The participants also included strategic stakeholders who actively provided input to the learning platform/space establishment discussion.  This workshop participants were from Kenya (Kenya Institute of Management, Kenya Red Cross Society, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Save the Children and Action Aid Kenya), Tanzania (Ardi Institute, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Red Cross Society, Oxfam Tanzania, Save the Children, Relief to Development Society and World Vison Tanzania and Uganda (Makerere University School of Public Health, Development Research and Training, Ugandan Red Cross and Oxfam Uganda).

Walking through the engaging workshop, participants shared about the diverse learning needs in the region, highlighted the gaps and problems around learning in the region, shared learning products, activities and key learnings, discussed the usefulness of a learning space or platform, sustainability issues, learning space framework, workplans and costings-resource mobilization avenues all feeding into successfully developing and maintaining a learning platform for East Africa.  Some of the learning needs shared include; the importance of disaster risk reduction and coordination, introduction to humanitarian response and system, importance of coordination in disaster response, Disaster Risk Reduction, preparedness, planning and prioritization, coordination basics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Humanitarian project cycle management, standards for humanitarian response, accountability, resource mobilization, capacity building and organizational partnerships for leverage  to mention but a few.

The 2-day workshop addressed the need to operationalize the learning framework and come up with identified products and services, which can add value to the learning platform and network. This workshop also strengthened learning and networking among partners as well as create opportunities for sharing best practices among stakeholders in learning provision in East Africa.  This was also an opportunity to share about RAN, highlighting what is unique in RAN’s activities and how these activities are implemented highlighting the learning products. Participants were excited about the fact that the RAN team identifies, nurtures and develops resilience innovative solutions to address diverse community challenges noting that the team had a starting point to push forth the workshop’s goal. Participants were also interested in knowing more about the innovations currently under incubation and how these can quickly effect transformation in the communities.

Other than other identified and discussed possible areas for partnership with workshop participants and the institutions they work with, it is also from this workshop that the partnership between HLA, RAN and Uganda Red Cross Society attracted more attention highlighting the need for more reliable and user-friendly community radios to supplement and complete all the community related work. The 3 partners discussed the need to further support RootIO-Community Radio currently under incubation at RAN to further positively impact the communities in need. Most importantly identified was the need to adequately prepare the communities to effectively cope with disasters incorporating reliable early warning systems to secure the populations in case of a disasters. Agreeing to the need to and timeliness of having this learning platform up, running and sustained, participants divided up time bound roles and activities yielding to the platform. It is time to translate knowledge into action for the East African Learning Platform.

The conversation was shared on Twitter @AfricaResilient #EAHLS for East Africa Humanitarian Learning Space.

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