Enhancing Humanitarian Response Capacity in Bangladesh – the Context Project

Bangladesh is one of the most-disaster prone countries in the world, at risk of a multitude of humanitarian crises, particularly crises resulting from the impact of climate change. Cyclones, earthquakes, as well as slow onset disasters such as flooding, water-logging, saline intrusion etc. have the potential of affecting the lives of thousands of people and leaving lasting impacts on infrastructure and livelihoods.

In this environment, the quality of humanitarian response really matters. To help affected people better, is essential to adhere to humanitarian principles, generate timely access to affected people and foster greater collaboration between humanitarian agencies to manage risks.

However, in the context of increased competition for funds and recognition, capacity building initiatives tend to take place on a siloed basis, with limited collaborative learning and sharing across the sector.

In response to this ongoing trend, MzN International, with financial support from the UK Department for International Development’s Disaster and Emergencies Preparedness Programme, is implementing the Context Humanitarian Skills Development Programme in Bangladesh. Since 2015, the training builds the knowledge, network and capacity of humanitarian professionals. MzN International organises the training as part of a larger initiative to improve the quality of humanitarian response in the country through long-term, coordinated capacity building efforts.

More than 100 participants successfully trained across the sector

So far, the programme has brought together over 100 participants from almost 30 organisations, both INGOs and national organisations across in different regions of Bangladesh. This wealth of knowledge and experience from such varied organizations and individuals significantly enriches the programme and helps create new links and collaboration opportunities across the sector. In this way, the programme helps to move beyond a siloed, fragmented approach to capacity building, aiming to strengthen the sector as a whole and a collective capacity to respond, over a period of three years.

Photo: Graduation Ceremony – Context Participants, 5 December 2015
Last December the first three cohorts of the programme celebrated their Graduation event, kicking off the creation of an active alumni group and further helping to create a network of committed and professional humanitarian professionals.

Benefits of the Context Programme at a glance

  • 6-9 months learning journey
  • largely self-directed study and learning–by-doing
  • long-term, mixed-method approach
  • active learning, reflection and development process
  • going beyond the two residential workshops of the programme
  • focus on universal humanitarian standards
  • tailored to specific local context of Bangladesh

By the end of the programme, Context participants are equipped with the skills they need to deliver disaster response in a safe, efficient, professional manner that benefits the communities they work in, but also with new contacts and new ideas of how they can do good, better!

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