Better together: How joint capacity building can improve NGO preparedness for emergencies
22 September 2017
The Asia Regional Platform of the Transforming Surge Capacity project has gathered 7 international NGOs to create the regional shared roster Go Team Asia, which provides surge support to emergencies across the region. Roster members receive many capacity building opportunities; trainings, simulation exercises, one-to-one coaching, and Trainings of Trainers (ToT). This case study shows how the collaborative nature of capacity building for Go Team Asia improves individuals’ and organisations’ ability to work together, which can help them provide faster and more adequate assistance to affected communities.
When the Transforming Surge Capacity (TSC) project set out to create the shared roster Go Team Asia, the aim was to fill occasional, specialised skills gaps to help agencies in their humanitarian responses. However, partner agencies have also come to value the roster as a capacity building tool.
The training course designed by the Transforming Surge Capacity project and provided to members of Go Team Asia focuses on vital soft skills including people management, collaboration, and stress management. For humanitarian organisations with limited resources, jointly developing and rolling out these soft skills trainings allowed them to address a common need and provide capacity building in a cost-effective way.
The joint trainings also represented an opportunity for the roster members to meet and exchange with humanitarian responders from other countries and organisations, allowing them to improve their cultural awareness and create vital networks that will be useful for effective collaboration in response.
Besides training, the Transforming Surge Capacity project in Asia has also run a simulation to test the readiness of individuals and organisations to surge in a disaster. Not only did this exercise provide the roster members with the opportunity to use their learning from the training, it also allowed humanitarian organisations to assess their preparedness systems together with their peers.
Collaborative and localised initiatives such as Go Team Asia are a first step to a fundamental shift in humanitarian action in Asia. Humanitarian agencies should invest more in collaborative capacity building as a way of strengthening the overall sector, rather than operating in silos. Joint capacity building initiatives, for example the training for Go Team Asia, strengthen the collaborative mindset needed by humanitarian responders in the region, and allow agencies to jointly prepare for disasters, building relationships that are key to successful responses. Go Team Asia is building the necessary capacities for agencies to learn from each other, and deliver better responses as a whole.