Monthly Archives: October 2015

Alumni Update: Andy McElroy (IDHA 16)

Andy McElroy (IDHA 16) recently posted a multitude of articles featured by UNISDR: “El Nino threat to the Pacific” focusing on the rising concerns of El Nino on the Pacific this year, “Pacific moves on targets and indicators” discussing the Disaster Resilience Meeting and its findings, “Sendai ‘groundbreaking’ on inclusion” emphasizing the revolutionary influence of the Sendai Framework on the inclusion of people living with disabilities,Vanuatu Builds Resilience” highlighting the recovery and relief efforts being implemented after the recent destruction of Hurricane Pam, Resilience two metres above sea-levelfeaturing the island nation of Tokelau and the troubles that it faces in being so isolated, and “Cook Islands’ online menu for resilience” reporting on how the Cook Islands have found success in an increased disaster risk response effort.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni Updates

Humanitarian Spotlight: Earthquake Strikes South Asia Region

On Monday, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan, sending tremors to cities across South Asia. The quake resulted in devastation and destruction emanating from the epicenter in northern Afghanistan, and reaching as far as Pakistan, Tajikistan and India. The devastation was felt most significantly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and government officials from both countries declared emergencies and ordered military units to join the response.

Disaster officials report that over 340 people have died, with at least 245 casualties occurring in neighboring Pakistan. More than 7,000 homes in Afghanistan alone have been damaged or destroyed. Rescue efforts and attempts to gauge the damage and death toll have been severely hindered by aftershocks, landslides, power outages and telecommunications failures.

Security has also proven to be a problem, as the northern part of Afghanistan has long been affected by militant violence including most recently an intense Taliban offensive. Particularly in Afghanistan’s eastern and northeastern provinces, the earthquake adds another layer of hardship to families, many of whom are now left homeless with winter soon approaching.

Although the Taliban has issued a statement ordering their fighters to “lend their complete help to the victims and facilitate those giving charity to the needy,” concerns remain among the aid worker community, especially with Afghanistan’s status as the most dangerous country for aid workers. Only last month, an MSF hospital in the northern city of Kunduz was bombed by American warplanes while war casualties continue to rise as Afghan government forces battle to halt the Taliban’s expanding reach. Earlier this month, a United Nations employee was fatally shot in Kandahar Province by an unknown assailant.

Despite the remaining security concerns, the United Nations is mobilizing and coordinating a response to the disaster, while humanitarian agencies such as the Afghan Red Crescent Society continue to assert their neutrality in order to access and assist the most vulnerable in this conflict-torn and now disaster-affected region.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Humanitarian Spotlight

Alumni Reunion: Bishnu, Sarah, Jennifer, and Caitlin (MHCE 11)

78MHCE 11 Course Participants Bishnu Waiba, Sarah Wakeen, Jennifer van Wyck and Caitlin Cockroft-McKay, students from Nepal, the USA, Canada, and the UK, just before the closing ceremony when certificates were given out by Course Directors Larry Hollingworth, Lynne Jones, and Peter Ventevogel.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni Updates

Humanitarian Newsletter: October 28-November 11, 2015

Check out the latest IIHA Newsletter with a Humanitarian Spotlight on the Hindu Kush earthquake, news of IIHA alumni and IDHA alumni reunions, and events and opportunities within the humanitarian sector!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Humanitarian Newsletter

Alumni Update: Mukesh Singh, Nick Jones (IDHA 44)

e900c51f-e93c-488c-99e5-35e27c470597

Mukesh Singh and Nick Jones of IDHA 44 recently met up in Kathmandu, Nepal for a reunion!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni Updates

Alumni Update: Dave Tarantino, M.D., MPH (IDHA 27)

Dave Tarantino, M.D., MPH (IDHA 27), has started a new position at International Medical Corps (IMC) in Washington, D.C. as Senior Physician, Medical Planning and Preparedness. He will be working to strengthen IMC’s domestic and international humanitarian assistance and disaster preparedness and response efforts.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni Updates

CIHC Welcomes New Member to the Team

PatriciaAragonesPhoto-1Patricia C. Aragonés recently joined the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), partner organization of the IIHA, as a part-time consultant to assist the CIHC with its strategic initiatives and resource development. She has been part of the CIHC/IIHA family for many years, since graduating from IDHA 7 and HNTC 1. Patricia will be drawing on her 12+ years as a member of the executive team between 2002-14 of Fabretto Children’s Foundation to help CIHC establish a strategic fundraising and development plan. Fabretto, one of IIHA’s practicum partners, is dedicated to empowering youth and communities in Nicaragua through education and economic development and experienced a ten-fold increase in growth between 2002-14. Patricia also brings legal and private sector experience, having worked as a corporate attorney with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and as a start-up business development advisor. Her keen interest in social justice and humanitarian law has led her to also collaborate on human rights and transitional justice projects in various countries and serve as an election monitor. Patricia is a graduate of Georgetown University, Columbia Law School and holds a certificate in not-for-profit management from Columbia Business School.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni Updates, CIHC, IIHA Team

Humanitarian Newsletter: October 14-28, 2015

Read the latest IIHA Newsletter with a spotlight on World Mental Health Day 2015 and the recent Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) course organized by CIHC and IIHA, UNHCR, HealthNet TPO, and International Medical Corps (IMC).

Leave a Comment

Filed under Humanitarian Newsletter

Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs in Emergencies

This past Saturday marked World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2015, a day spearheaded by the World Federation for Mental Health to promote dignified, humane treatment of those with mental illness. The day comes only weeks following the UN’s approval of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include a new target to address to mental health needs. In recognition of WMHD 2015, events were hosted around the world to promote this year’s theme of “Dignity in Mental Health. The renewed attention to mental health and psychosocial issues highlights the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world are afflicted by mental health problems, yet many still suffer in silence, or are victims of stigma, discrimination and abuse.

From September 20-30, the IIHA, in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), HealthNet TPO, and International Medical Corps (IMC), hosted its 11th annual Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) training course to discuss and address some of the challenges of providing mental health and psychosocial care in (post) conflict areas or in complex disaster settings. The course, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, welcomed back Course Directors Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E., Humanitarian Programs Director, CIHC; Lynne Jones, O.B.E. FRCPsych., Ph.D., Visiting Scientist, FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, Harvard University and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Cornwall Partnership Foundation NHS Trust; and Peter Ventevogel, M.D., Senior Mental Health Officer, UNHCR. The Course Directors and Faculty organized a program that effectively balanced academic theory with practical experience, equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed to respond to psychosocial and mental health needs in complex humanitarian emergencies and relief situations. Participants learned the critical importance of understanding the humanitarian context, while gaining practical tools of how to conduct needs assessments, monitor and evaluate projects, and promote security and self-care.

One of the participants of the MHCE course, Caitlin Cockcroft-McKay, Psychosocial Project Coordinator at HealthNet TPO, recently shared with us a personal testimonial of the course:

I feel very privileged to have been a part of the Mental Health in Complex Emergencies training in Ethiopia. It was a fantastically well-organised event, a great networking opportunity & a wonderful learning experience. Much of what I learnt during the ten days is directly applicable to my work in South Sudan and has helped to guide me in my planning for monitoring the quality of the programme we’re implementing. It will also help me to prepare for future projects, knowing that I have learnt from the best and that I can ensure projects are the best they can be for the people they are created for.

The combination of lectures & interactive learning sessions and workshops was fantastic as it gave a real opportunity to learn academic theory, background and research as well as to use skills we developed during the course. A real highlight for me was a practical session whereby we were in roleplay as refugees. Given the internationally diverse nature of the participants, we were able to realistically enact having border authorities who spoke a different language from the majority. It provided us with an experience of what it must be like to be refugees, moving as families through a setting that is totally unknown. It was humbling to realise that Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services are a basic human right, and should be fundamentally integrated into every single area of our programming in the humanitarian sector. We work in these difficult contexts to save lives and alleviate the suffering of people who have already lost so much, but we can’t do that without focusing on MHPSS.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Courses, Event

Alumni Update: Robin Anderson, Ph.D. (Communications and Media in Humanitarian Affairs Course Co-Director)

Robin Anderson, Ph.D., Fordham University Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication and Media Studies and Co-director of the IIHA’s Communications and Media in Humanitarian Affairs course was featured in Fordham news this past August. In the article, Robin analyzes the effects that the misrepresentative media reports had on Katrina residents post-disaster. She speaks about how the television show Treme was able to remedy and accurately recount the events as they actually did happen.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni Updates