GRRT Training in Guatemala

The annual rainy season is coming to an end in Guatemala. Back in August – when WWF Guatemala held a two and a half day training on the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Training Toolkit (GRRT) – it seemed Guatemala was entering a severe drought that would ultimately affect food supplies and worsen living conditions for rural residents. But later in the season, Guatemala experienced heavy rains and flooding, which eventually left 28 people dead.

As part of the training, the 25 participants went to a small river behind the training site to conduct a flood risk assessment (the river has flooded frequently in the past) and identify how impacts could be modified using an environment-based approach to disaster risk reduction. It is likely that this river has flooded with the rains in Guatemala.

It is ironic that trainees were looking at a then, almost dry river when about an hour away in San Marcos an earthquake had occurred only a few weeks earlier. As one of the participants suggested, it would have been useful for the trainees to have done a real post-disaster assessment and recovery plan for San Marcos as part of the exercise.

Drought in August. Flooding in October. An earthquake in between. It is safe to say that Guatemala is a disaster-prone country.

But this is only half the story. The country has a developed disaster management system, headed by the Executive Secretariat of CONRED that provides warnings for droughts, flooding, severe weather (including hurricanes) and also periodic dangers posed by volcanoes.

The August GRRT training was intended to strengthen the country’s recovery capacities. In many countries, considerable effort by governments, NGOs, and communities is put into planning immediate disaster relief, but recovery itself usually does not get similar attention.

To build environmentally focused recovery capacity in Guatemala, the GRRT training focused on representatives from governmental institutions, municipalities, and national and international NGOs in Guatemala who could in turn train others. The training in Xela was delivered by Arabella Samayoa, an experienced trainer who had limited knowledge of the GRRT approach before the training.

By all measures, the training was a success: Arabella did an excellent job mastering the materials and participants wanted to know more about other GRRT modules that were not covered in this training.

It was clear that the environmental community in Guatemala can bring considerable capacity to reducing risk by supporting an environmentally responsible disaster response. WWF is now working to include the GRRT as part of CONRED’s training program and expand GRRT training to other Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The GRRT training materials used in Guatemala can be found on this website in both Spanish and English along with additional information.

The GRRT training in Xela was organized by WWF Guatemala under the leadership of AnaVictoria Rodriguez, with the support of Anita van Breda, WWF US Disaster Response and Risk Reduction program. Funding for the training came from the Program Climate, Nature and Communities in Guatemala, Component 3 managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and funded by the US Agency for International Development.

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Bahasa Indonesia Version Now Available

We are pleased to announce that the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit is now available in Bahasa Indonesia. To download the new translation please visit the Download tab located at the top of this site. For questions, please contact Anita van Breda at anita.vanbreda@wwfus.org.

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Disaster Risk and Recovery and Climate Change Adaptation Training Held for Belize Government

The Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk and Recovery (DRR) teams at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) led three workshops on CCA and Green Recovery and Reconstruction for the Government of Belize. The workshops were sponsored by the Climate Change Office of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD) and targeted central people from the government. Participants included managers from key agencies, heads of department from the MFFSD, and ministry CEOs who comprise the Belize National Climate Change Committee.

Based on workshops given for WWF staff and partners, the team clarified key climate concepts (variability, vulnerability, impacts, adaptation, etc.), discussed how a changing climate affects development and natural resource management goals, and stressed the importance of integrating people, species, and ecosystems into all areas of work. Participants also learned practical techniques for integrating environmental sustainability into disaster recovery and reconstruction.

Seventy government employees participated in the workshop, and all responses collected have been overwhelmingly positive. Due to the success of the trainings, the National Climate Change office is considering inviting both teams back to speak to the Cabinet of Belize. They have also expressed interest in conducting a full version of the Green Recovery and Reconstruction training and holding a train the trainer workshop so Belize civil servants can deliver this workshop to their own constituents.

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 Introduction to the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit

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GRRT Online Evaluation Results

Since the official 2012 launch of the Green Recovery and Reconstruction: Training Toolkit for Humanitarian Aid (GRRT), over 500 organizations and individuals have registered through the GRRT online database. We recently conducted an online assessment of the GRRT, engaging community members and users, to learn about GRRT application and training and to gather information and feedback on successes and challenges. This process is critical to our efforts to continually learn and update the GRRT based on our user experiences.

Survey respondents generally regarded the Toolkit as practical and comprehensive, found it to be clear and well-structured, and admired the diverse coverage and comprehensive treatment of multiple subjects. Users offered a variety of thoughtful and valuable suggestions for improvement, including the proposal that we update the GRRT with additional modules, offer a Spanish language version, consider a more accessible open access format, and include more localized and regionally specific case studies. The survey respondents represented a broad variety of sectors including non-governmental organizations, academia, and U.S. and foreign governmental organizations, while largely defining their use of the GRRT as a personal reference tool rather than a tool for conducting training.

For those respondents who implemented GRRT strategies, several key challenges were faced, including limited technical resources, funding, organizational support, and buy-in from senior institutional leadership. Several respondents noted that the limitations in implementation were not a reflection of the Toolkit content but of a larger challenge within the humanitarian sector in mainstreaming a green recovery approach. Users cited a lack of demand for environmental protection work within the humanitarian leadership, a general failure to recognize the critical importance of the environment in the recovery process, and the challenge of finding appropriately trained and skilled personnel. We hope to investigate and address these specific challenges through several key-informant interviews and in depth case studies analyzing both challenges and opportunities related to implementing the GRRT approach.  

In moving forward, we hope to continue this rich and informative dialogue between GRRT community members and we both welcome and encourage individuals to share with us their experiences of the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit.

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Disaster Response Environmental Specialist Joins WWF Pakistan

Mr. Rizwan Mahmood, Disaster Response Environmental Partnership Specialist will be leading WWF Pakistan efforts to provide technical support and advisory services to incorporate environmental sustainability principles into disaster response, reconstruction and risk reduction practices.         

Mr. Mahmood will liaise with Pakistan emergency shelter cluster lead agencies, humanitarian agencies, donors and the National Disaster Management Authority. He is available to collaborate with working groups and will manage WWF humanitarian partnerships and Green Recovery and Reconstruction (GRRT) trainings in Pakistan.

Rizwan holds a master degree in Environmental Studies from The University of Melbourne, Australia and a Master of Science degree in Geography from University of The Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.  He has experience conducting Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, Environmental Monitoring & Auditing, Environmental Policy-making and preparation of Environmental Management Plans and Resettlement Action Plans. In addition, he is a trained Environmental Advisor for United Nations Emergency Shelter Cluster, and a qualified ISO 14001 EMS Lead Auditor.

Contact Information: 
Rizwan Mahmood, Disaster Response Environmental Partnership SpecialistWWF Pakistan         
Contact No.    +92 300 9425080
Email:       rmahmood@wwf.org.pk (official)
rizwanm@hotmail.com (alternate)

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Receiving Your GRRT CD

We’ve been thrilled with the incredible volume of responses we’ve had from people wishing to receive the GRRT on CD. We have been busy distributing the electronic manuals, and we now have GRRT users around the globe, from the U.S. to Ecuador and Indonesia to Scotland.

As you use the toolkit, please remember to send us your feedback. We want to hear about how the GRRT is being used and about the green recovery and reconstruction methods you’re employing in current projects. Email us anytime at grrtuser@gmail.com.

In addition, if you would like to receive an electronic copy of the GRRT on a CD, please register on this website and include your mailing address. If you have already registered but have not included your address, please email it to us and we’ll happily send you the GRRT CD.

Thank you for your support; we’re looking forward to distributing even more copies of the GRRT and to reading about your user experiences!

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GRRT Toolkit Launched at Woodrow Wilson Center

On November 19, 2010, the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Training Toolkit was launched at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Panel speakers from U.S. government, academic, and NGO institutions discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the integration of environmental and humanitarian approaches to building back safer and sustainably.

Panel speakers included:

  • Roger Lowe, Senior Vice President of Communications, American Red Cross
  • Marcia Marsh, Chief Operating Officer, World Wildlife Fund
  • Erika Clesceri, Bureau Environmental Officer, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Robert Laprade, Senior Director for Emergencies and Humanitarian Assistance, CARE
  • Peter Walker, Director of the Feinstein International Center, Rosenberg Professor of Nutrition and Human Security, Tufts University
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GRRT Now Available To Download

To download a copy of the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Training Toolkit or order a CD, please login and visit the Download page.  If you do not have a log-in, please register and become a member of the GRRT community.  For questions, please contact grrtuser@gmail.com or Anita van Breda at anita.vanbreda@wwfus.org.

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