November 28- 30, 2017 saw Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) join in the first ever COMESA Resilience Academy in Lusaka, Zambia. Given the importance attached to Resilience strengthening and building but also RAN’s role in driving resilience building in Uganda coupled with the need to further mainstream resilience in national development goals and aspirations RAN was invited to the COMESA Resilience Academy http://www.comesa.int/academy/.
Harriet Adong, RAN Communications Manager represented RAN at this Resilience Academy. The Academy was organized by COMESA in collaboration with Rockefeller Foundation. It brought together 40 Multidisciplinary participants including Policy Makers, Government workers including Commissioners and Ambassadors, the Media, CSO workers, Communication Specialists, Resilience experts among others from the 19 COMESA states. Participants discussed and shared about Resilience strengthening, building and related aspects. Among others, participants shared practices, opportunities and challenges related to implementing resilience interventions across the 19 COMESA Member States. This was also an opportunity for RAN to contribute to the development of the National Resilience Framework leveraging from the existing frameworks including that of RAN.
While at the Resilience Academy, Harriet also, managed to productively engage with the COMESA Resilience Academy organizers and secured a slot on the Agenda to share in-depth about RAN, Good Practices, Opportunities and Challenges. During her presentation, she also shared about the Humanitarian Disaster Resilience Leadership (HDRL) Course https://news.mak.ac.ug/2017/04/online-short-course-humanitarian-and-disaster-resilience which she had also earlier shared with the COMESA, Rockefeller Foundation and IMF teams encouraging them and other participants to uptake the course which is being facilitated by faculty at MakSPH and staff at RAN. This course content is closely related to the aspects which were discussed during the COMESA Resilience Academy. It was also yet another rich learning opportunity for Harriet to join in helping the Academy implementers to conduct some real output oriented brainstorming session’s further generating and sharing knowledge, majorly engaging the academy participants to work towards meeting the set objectives.
The Agenda of the COMESA Resilience Academy is shared on http://www.comesa.int/academy/program/ and Harriet is listed as a Speaker on http://www.comesa.int/academy/speakersfacilitators/.The Resilience Academy objectives were: sensitization and awareness raising on the benefits of resilience; sharing of knowledge and experiences on resilience building; identification of opportunities to mainstream resilience in national development and regional integration; and to develop a regional resilience framework. The Resilience Academy participants included senior state officials and technocrats responsible for resilience building in the 19 COMESA member states and experts from Asia, Europe and the Americas. The need to put the spotlight on resilience is assuming greater significance in the face of the impacts of climate change that we are seeing around the world and in our region. Also, regional integration is interconnecting infrastructure, energy, social, economic and financial systems of member states thus disruption in one part of the region can affect the rest.
This and other community shocks and stresses calls for a lot of work in Resilience strengthening and building.
Moving forward, the COMESA member states agreed to continue working together for the benefit of the communities and to move firth with the Resilience Academy approach to enhance knowledge generation and sharing too. Exhibiting the power of collaboration and partnership, this engagement was as a result of successful previous engagements with International Monetary Fund and COMESA teams physically in Kampala, Uganda at different meetings but also remotely sharing about RAN’s work. The COMESA team fully supported Harriet Adong’s travel and up keep while in Lusaka, Zambia – an additional leverage for the RAN Innovation Lab.