Connect, inspire and empower - young professionals’ reflections on the Multi-hazard Early Warning Conference and Global Platform on DRR

The Anticipation Hub launched the Future Leaders Network on Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) at the 3rd Multi-hazard Early Warning Conference in Bali during a special reception hosted by the Climate Risk Early Warning System (CREWS) initiative. Two of the three co-chairs of the network, Ms. Graziela Ariani Olua from the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG), and Ms. Faith Mitheu, University of Reading were present for the launch. As well as launching the network, they engaged across numerous additional anticipatory action activities at the 7th session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). In the interview below, you can read more about their experience, insights generated and new ambitions.

What makes you excited to be co-chairs of the Future Leaders Network?

Faith

The launch of the Future Leaders Network on EWEA provides another opportunity for me to network with fellow co-chairs Graziela, a weather forecaster from Indonesia and Toke Rogbo-Bengtsson, an advisor on anticipatory action at the Danish Red Cross. Together we can inspire and empower many more young professionals across the world to work towards translating early warning into early actions. I feel so honored to be one of the co-chairs of this network which will allow me the opportunity to expand my network, share my experiences on impact-based forecasting and support other upcoming early career professionals.

Graziela

The Future Leaders Network is a stepping stone to elevate my career within the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology (BMKG). This initiative has already connected me with inspiring individuals and will continue to enable me to expand my network as a meteorologist, committed to enabling early warning and early action. Together with co-chairs Faith and Toke we can help young professionals to bridge science, policy and practice to enable more early action in disaster preparedness. I believe this initiative will help us to not only improve our technical skills by connecting with other experts, but more importantly to build our capacity to facilitate collaboration in a creative and engaging way.

What were the highlights of your engagement?

Faith

The MHEWC-III preparatory conference, offered an opportunity to review accomplishments, share skills and experiences with a global active network of early warning practitioners. Firstly, I participated as a facilitator and a rapporteur during the interactive session on impact-based forecasting (IBF) and Anticipatory Actions (AA). The session provided a space to share experiences and lessons on IBF from across Africa and Southeast Asia (SEA). Secondly, I participated in a panel discussion framed around ‘More, Better, Together’, for scaling up early action, co-moderated by the Anticipation Hub and IFRC. This session provided a platform to share experiences with panelists drawn across disciplines—government, practice and science and enabled me to bring my knowledge as an early career researcher. Some of the lessons I learnt across both sessions include the need for inclusivity in IBF and AA, creating collaborations across disciplines, leveraging the private-sector, as well as continuously learning from successful case studies.

Graziela

GPDRR 2022 was a whole new experience for me. I was involved as one of the panelists on the first day of the MHEWC-III to speak about Governance and Inclusive Early Warnings from community perspectives, sharing plans for our upcoming AWAKE project aiming to build awareness among school children and those with disabilities. This was my first experience to participate in such a high-level dialogue, offering a valuable opportunity to share solutions that the community needs to achieve an effective early warning system.

The launch of the Future Leaders Network offered an excellent opportunity to expand my network by meeting new people who have the same vision to initiate early warning - early action. A totally new and eye-opening experience for me was participating in the interactive theater session led by the World Meteorological Organization. I acted as the environmental NGO and got to engage in a hypothetical conversation with representatives from the Met Service, NGO, finance ministry and a journalist, learning about different perspectives, interests and challenges to invest in early action. This was a brilliant way to engage in open and honest conversations with a diverse group of actors. I was also inspired by the Anticipation Dance performance by the Bali Red Cross volunteers and empowered to take part in the dance at the Ignite Stage to spread awareness about anticipatory action. I will definitely retell these experiences to my community.

What motivated you most about the event?

Faith

I was personally motivated by the number of people who attended MHEWC-III and GPDRR, especially with youth and young professionals at the Anticipation Hub booth. I networked with many young professionals across the world including Abel from the Africa Youth Advisory Board on DRR, Immad from the Humanitarian Assistance Program in Bangladesh among others who expressed the same sentiments about inclusion of young professionals in EWEA and DRR. As I continue to work on my PhD on Impact-based flood forecasting, I also intend to continue to network through conferences like the upcoming Africa Dialogue Platform on Anticipatory Action and promote the Future Leaders Network. We need to make a difference as young professionals and our time is now.

Graziela

Anticipatory action requires dedication, effort, and hard work from all practitioners in this field. This initiative needs to be implemented immediately through real action to embody a resilient community, but in fact there are people who are still not aware of the potential disasters around them. They are still not familiar with the Early Warning System – the early detections of hazards coming on their ways, and do not comprehend the idea of acting early to protect themselves. As a co-chair of the Future Leaders Network, I would like to provide support for communities through anticipatory action practice and learning. It is important to have both technical and non-technical skills in anticipatory action for society to prevent the worst impacts of disasters.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals and early career scientists?

Graziela

Working as a weather forecaster for more than a decade has not been an easy journey. The biggest challenge is to fill the gaps between stakeholders, NGO’s, and society in order to build a disaster - ready community. Every journey begins with small steps. I am truly aware that my contribution in this field is very much needed. Therefore, I started by knocking door to door, from one stakeholder to another, from community to community, educating local groups in villages, and spreading disaster awareness through radio. For me, small things matter. It does not matter if it was 3 or 30 people that I met, the most important thing is I gradually enhance disaster preparedness education for society. I encourage others, especially those in national meteorological services to step out of your comfort zone and connect with the communities we are there to serve.

Faith

Being a part of the Future Leaders Network is a privilege. It means we have the power to expand our network, to build the community, and become a pioneer for Anticipatory Action in our country. This network is a great opportunity to learn, a platform to share, and an inspiration to adapt new things about anticipatory actions from practitioners all over the world. My advice to other young professionals is to keep on pushing for the change we want to see. Reach out to other professionals and work together with no need of re-inventing the wheel. Feel motivated and empowered. If you feel enthusiastic about ensuring inclusive EWEA, please join the Future Leaders Network and let’s work together to foster better exchanges and collaborations.

Watch this interview where Faith explains more about why young professionals and science is so important for enabling early action.

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