“A prompt and effective emergency response cannot take place without preparedness ”
Tokiniaina is a Logistics Associate with WFP in Madagascar, a country that experiences about $100 million of annual losses from natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and earthquakes. For him, preparedness isn’t just a component of the humanitarian response cycle – it’s at the heart of it.
“Preparedness is the most important part of the Disaster Risk Management and reduction cycle. It’s a set of initiatives carried out by the government and the humanitarian community, but above all it’s initiatives driven by and for the population. A prompt and effective emergency response cannot take place without preparedness. Good preparedness is synonymous with achieving the objectives set in an operation.”
For the past 11 months Tokiniaina’s been a driving force behind the Logistics Cluster Preparedness Project, an initiative aimed at strengthening national supply chain resilience in some of the world’s most at-risk countries. Kickstarting in Madagascar in 2018 under the lead of the National Bureau of Disaster Risk Management (BNGRC), the Madagascar project works with partners in the country’s capital as well as five high risk regions across the country.
In between missions and meetings, we catch up with Tokiniaina to learn more about his role, the project, and preparedness in Madagascar.
First of all, could you tell us a little bit about your background?
After graduating in Environmental Management with a specialisation in Disaster Risk Management, I started working at the BNGRC as a volunteer consultant to support emergency preparedness teams. I then worked as a junior consultant in the research centre of the University of Antananarivo, specialised in economics and development. It was here that I became particularly interested in projects which promoted resilience.I joined WFP two years ago as a Coordination and Information Management Assistant for the Cyclone Enawo emergency response in north-eastern Madagascar, before taking up the position of Logistics Assistant and then Logistics Associate in charge of preparedness in Madagascar.
What were your motivations while applying for your current position?
What really drove me to apply was the project itself, which represents a real opportunity to strengthen my interpersonal skills and in particular to take part in important decisions on future coordination and emergency response mechanisms for the country.
Can you tell us what the Madagascar project about?
This capacity building project aims at establishing a system for coordinating the activities of all partners involved in preparedness at both national and regional level. The overall objective is to avoid duplication of efforts as much as possible and to maximise the resources available for future emergencies.
Why is emergency preparedness particularly important in Madagascar?
Madagascar is one of the world’s most at-risk and vulnerable countries for disasters such as cyclones and floods. Because of this, it’s essential to set up a strong emergency preparedness system, closely aligned with the country's development policies.
What are the main challenges encountered in terms of preparedness in Madagascar?
The main challenge is the coordination of all efforts towards achieving a single objective. Each organisation has its own expertise in emergency and preparedness. The challenge is to streamline and capitalise on these expertise to obtain tangible benefits not just for the humanitarian community, and ultimately those need during an emergency response operation.
What have you enjoyed the most so far in your field of work?
What I appreciate most about this work is the exchanges and collaboration with professionals of all backgrounds who have a lot of experience in emergency management in Madagascar.
What is the biggest challenge?
I would say that the biggest challenge is communication and information management. We need to ensure there are strong systems in place so that the important flow of information between the different partners and collaborators is achieved.
What’s next for you?
Madagascar is an excellent start for my career in the humanitarian field. My ambition for the future is to find a similar position in other countries to expand and strengthen my knowledge and skills and apply what I’ve learnt in Madagascar to new and different contexts.
For more information on preparedness in Madagascar, visit our page: https://logcluster.org/preparedness/madagascar