Expanding Horizons and Sharing Experiences: The PhilPrep South-South Learning Exchange


In support of its dedication to empowering local communities through multidisciplinary actions toward resilience, the UP Resilience Institute (UPRI) acts as the academic pillar of the Philippine Preparedness Partnership (PhilPrep). PhilPrep is the primary advocate of quadripartite partnership in the Philippines, promoting collaboration among main actors in humanitarian action: the government through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the civil society through the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), the private sector through the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), and the academe through the UPRI.

To strengthen capacities and deepen the impacts of PhilPrep initiatives, focal persons from each member organization were invited to join a learning exchange visit to one of the Asian Preparedness Partnership (APP) countries. From the UP Resilience Institute, Ms. Lea Victoria Serrano, a researcher under the Education Division, was invited to participate. Participants from the other PhilPrep partners included Ms. Lorelei Bendijo of OCD, Mr. Emmanuel Serrano and Ms. Francisca Doctolero of CDP, and Ms. Michelle Bayhonan of PDRF.

The PhilPrep focal team receiving a token from the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI)

The focal team visited Nepal during the last week of February 2023. From February 22 to 24, the PhilPrep focal team met with organizations under the Nepal Preparedness Partnership (NPP) and their partners.

Nepal is prone to flooding due to its terrain. The region is also tectonically active and is therefore vulnerable to earthquakes and associated hazards. Some aspects of the socio-economic development in Nepal are comparable to certain areas in the Philippines as well. These similar conditions cultivate fruitful discussions and increase the applicability of best practices and the relatability of encountered challenges among representatives of the two countries.

Commitment from Primary Duty Bearers

The PhilPrep focal team speaking with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) of Nepal
The National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC), managed by the MOHA

The Ministry of Home Affairs of Nepal serves to maintain the peace and security of the country’s people and to protect their lives and freedom.  The MOHA manages an institution like the Philippines’ National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which also engages with multi-sectoral institutions within the government to handle disasters. They also have a National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) in the same compound as the MOHA building.

The MOHA functions similarly to OCD in the Philippines. And just as the Civil Defense Administrator of OCD serves as a co-chair for PhilPrep, the Joint Secretary of MOHA serves as a co-chair of NPP.

Youth, Innovation, Research, and Education

The Youth Innovation Lab presented the BIPAD Portal, or the Building Information Platform Against Disaster portal, an integrated and comprehensive Disaster Information Management System initiated by the Government of Nepal, MOHA, and NEOC

The focal team also met with the Youth Innovation Lab, which conducted various projects that engaged youth to create information management systems for disaster information and human rights. One of the projects they shared was the BIPAD portal, which was done in partnership with the Government of Nepal. This system was built to provide a national portal with data from independent national, provincial, and municipal platforms, employing a bottom-up approach to gathering disaster data. The portal collects credible data from government units, non-government organizations, academic institutions, and research organizations into a single platform. While it is accessible to the public, it is mainly utilized by government officials and disaster practitioners to enhance disaster management from preparedness to rehabilitation and up to policy making.

Dr. Shriram Sharma (on the right), Lightning Expert, with Ms. Serrano of the UPRI (on the left)

One of the primary hazards in Nepal that is less prominent in the Philippines is lightning.  Nepal experiences over a hundred lightning-related casualties in a year. According to Dr. Shriram Sharma, an expert on lightning fields and protection against lightning, the location and topography of Nepal make it prone to thunderstorms. Dr. Sharma also shared that disaster studies in their country are science and engineering focused when approaches to disasters must be multidisciplinary. To expand this field into other spaces, he shared some of his efforts in bringing science into awareness-building and policy development. This undertaking is also a challenge in the Philippines.

Creating a Localized Model of Multi-stakeholder Partnerships

These are only a few highlights from the three-day learning exchange. The team was able to meet many other organizations from various sectors, including members of international and local NGOs, as well as the private sector. Through this, the team got a clearer picture of the humanitarian landscape of Nepal and how some aspects may be replicated in the Philippines.

The PhilPrep focal team presented during the meeting with NPP

The learning exchange was punctuated on the final day by a meeting between the Nepal Preparedness Partnership (NPP) and PhilPrep. Both country-level partnerships of the Asian Preparedness Partnership were able to share how they implement a localized, multistakeholder collaboration within the context of their respective nations.

Ms. Serrano shared how the multidisciplinary approaches pursued by the UPRI are utilized in disaster management. Of the programs shared, the Nepalese partners were interested in the DRRM Graduate Degree Program Development and the UPRI Talk programs of the UPRI.

Indeed, the changing climate and its hazards are global issues that must be addressed collectively at different levels. A program such as the APP South-South Learning exchange not only broadens horizons through the open exchange of ideas, sharing of challenges, and how these are overcome but also promotes solidarity and learnings among nations with similar experiences in disaster.



Posted by the UP Resilience Institute Education on May 04, 2023