By the time this column is printed, the Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium, in collaboration with Charities Aid Foundation, will have held its international conference on ‘Philanthropy in Disasters: Tsunami and After’ (28-30 November in Phuket, Thailand).
The conference is supported by the Ford Foundation, the Myer Foundation, The Asia Foundation, the Japan Foundation, Mirant Foundation Philippines, and several Thai organizations. In the wake of the Katrina and Rita disasters on the US gulf coast and the Pakistan earthquake, the question of philanthropy’s role in natural disasters has become more relevant than ever.
After the Pakistan earthquake, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, APPC Council member in Islamabad, moved quickly to help bring philanthropic resources to the devastated communities in the Kashmir region. Shahnaz and other leaders around Asia will speak at the conference about how philanthropy could be made more responsive, in terms of quantity and effectiveness, to the unique challenges presented by disasters. What can we learn from the successes and failures of the response to the tsunami in the four countries that were badly hit – India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka? How are they recovering? Can we build on other countries’ best practice models?
Around 150 leaders of governments, donor organizations and NGOs from 18 countries are coming to lend critical thinking to the development of regional action programmes that will support country-specific requirements for disaster response. They will also join project site visits to Phuket and Phanga province to learn first hand from survivors what they have been through. The Thai Fund Foundation has organized these visits in collaboration with other local and international organizations.
The conference report will be produced in December.
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