Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Short HRI Q&A and Words of Wisdom on Emergency Response Funding

For whatever reason, this blaag seems to have received increased attention recently, which, while not unpleasing, has brought along the occasional unsolicited email from well-wishers, haters and inquisitive types. The latter are the most fascinating and I thought I take the opportunity for a very unusual step out of character and address here a few of the common questions raised by representatives of this group, to avoid any "duplication" involved in having Nathan the intern respond individually:

Q: Do you work in development?
A: No, I just learned stuff from repeatedly watching that movie where Angelina is the suitably dressed selfless HRI employee working in some refugee camp in "Africa".

Q: What is your opinion on the link between <put whatever you fancy here> and development?
A: I don’t have one. Except if you are a donor of course, in which case Nathan the intern will get a draft proposal going, pointing out the obvious interdependence between the two and HRIs readiness to make the link more meaningful by empowering stakeholders and building capacity to harness the power of the <put your pet subject here> to impact the poor and vulnerable and reverse the cycle of poverty by innovative strategies.

Q: Why do you choose to write a “spoof” blog instead of participating constructively in a debate about <put whatever you fancy here>?
A: Did you just call me a poof?

Right, with that out of the way, let’s get back to more important business - a very quick one today as i am planning a lobster-binge over lunch, to celebrate my return to Moroni after many a week of wanderings, complete with having being "stranded" in Paris due to that islanding vulcano thing.

If you feel a bit overwhelmed by recent earthquakes, plane crashes, landslides and famines that may have led to the proverbial “donor fatigue”, you should pity the professional emergency type who, having missed the opportunity to score a good-for-street-cred job in Haiti is forced to follow the thinning stream of cash to all sorts of lesser emergencies just to put bred on the table.

Luckily HRI, having seen our share of emergencies, has developed useful coping mechanisms to identify and secure sufficient resources to keep our “emergency” presence uniformly spread across the globe. A helpful factor of course is the Central Emergency Response Fund – CERF, a funding mechanism mentioned right here a while back, that has the helpful rule stating that in order to become eligible for funding, any emergency must be recognized and formally declared as such by the respective government.

Many whiners in our business have refered to this clause as dangerous because it allows dodgy governments to refuse assistance to groups in emergency that they don’t like. Whatever, I say. For those of us inclined to look at the full half of the glass, the beauty is that with HRI extensive network of partners and affiliates working closely with governments across the globe to “build their capacity”, it is a small matter to get this or the other government (dodgy or not, who are we to judge) to declare the small landslide here, minor cattle epidemic there as an emergency, after which HRI immediately liaises with the CERF people to get that "rapid response" cash in to put some plastic sheeting in place, buy a few goats.

Stuff like that keeps our world class emergency response team busy and HRI in the headlines - good for us, good for business the sector .


  1. Keep up the goodness, iv forwarded your "Bible of Relief" to six drinking buddies who are high in 6 Ministerys, get ready for some (double) Vision 2030 funding! I also used your proposel wrighting tips to land a fat seat on the gravy train, looking busy cos of course Jesus is-a-comming!