#cashisbest - Humanitarian Aid Panel Discussion
Date and Time
Melbourne Athenaeum Library
188 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
“When a disaster strikes, people’s first instinct is to help in any way possible. But sometimes well-meaning actions do more harm than good.”*
High Heels, handbags, woollen knitwear and hundreds of tins of expired food were sent to Vanuatu in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015** – very little of which could be used by a country desperately needing international assistance.
In fact, of the 70 shipping containers of Unsolicited Bilateral Donations (UBDs) sent to Vanuatu, some 18 of these were still on wharves 10 months later and had, by then, accumulated $US1.5 million of storage, handling and container rental fees.
Humanitarian agencies are now working to educate governments, corporate and philanthropic donors and the general public that a Cash is Best approach is best when giving aid to disaster zones.
Come along and join this discussion about humanitarian aid and what is being done to ensure we all react appropriately when we see people in need in Australia and around the world.
Tickets include a glass of wine.
--Natasha Freeman, Head of International Operational Support, Australian Red Cross
Natasha is the Head of International Operational Support at Australian Red Cross, responsible for leading all aspects of international corporate services, departmental financial stewardship, human resources for the international workforce, information management, dynamic risk management, health safety and security, and compliance. With over 10 years in the sector Natasha has worked in the Philippines, Fiji, Vanuatu and Indonesia and has a wealth of experience in managing humanitarian programmes across the Asia Pacific Region and other areas globally. Natasha is a highly developed operations and supply chain professional with a Masters of Business Administration from Victoria University and a BSc (hons) focused in Management Science from University of Canterbury.
--Jess Lees, Leader, Humanitarian Advisory Group
Jess has been working in humanitarian response operations in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region over the past 10 years. Jess has worked for a range of humanitarian and development focussed non-governmental organisations, as well as the United Nations World Food Programme and most recently with Australian Red Cross and has deployed to rapid onset natural disasters including Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji and Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines, as well as protracted crises' in Sudan and Somalia. Jess holds a Bachelors degree in International Studies from RMIT University in Melbourne and a Master of International Crisis Management from Monash University.
-- Gerard Finnegan, IKEA Foundation Humanitarian Leadership Scholar, Deakin University
Gerard has over 25 years professional experience across fields of epidemiology, public health, international development and humanitarian emergency response. He has designed and implemented specialist health and emergency health program responses in over 20 countries and lead and managed teams of subject matter experts respond to complex humanitarian crises across Asia Pacific and Africa. Gerard holds university degrees in science, public health and tropical medicine and international community development. He is currently undertaking research on the prevention of catastrophic mortality in vulnerable people from natural hazard disasters.
MC: Shruti Verma is a postgraduate research student at Deakin University pursuing research in the Accounting discipline, with the aim of contributing to the literature of 'accounting for sustainability'. During her Accounting Degree, Shruti contributed to the Ethics, Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives of Deakin Business School and has been involved with several medical aid and crowdfunding projects in relation to India. Shruti is also a Director of a Bendigo Bank community branch.
*Joanna Pradela, Head of Policy and Advocacy for the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
**The challenges of Unsolicited Bilateral Donations in Pacific humanitarian responses, Australian Red Cross report