MapAction team members get ready for deployment through our annual disaster simulation exercise
In June MapAction volunteers from all over the world headed to Gloucestershire for their biggest deployment team training event in the calendar.
These simulations are a chance to practise many of our standard operating procedures, and an opportunity to build team cohesion.
This year’s simulation focused on reinforcing field skills and rapid analysis whilst operating with limited connectivity in a demanding setting. The scenario took place in a fictional country, where an ongoing 15-month drought was causing food insecurity. A sudden migration event tipped this into an emergency and triggered a MapAction ‘deployment’ in support of an alliance of international and national NGOs.
As with previous simulations, facilities were deliberately basic and participants had to camp. One night also involved an overnight stay in work areas as venturing outdoors was deemed to be ‘currently unsafe’ within the scenario. Team members might encounter such insecurity on a field deployment.
For MapAction Volunteer Alice Goudie, who joined us in 2018, the training was a good opportunity for her to test out some of the skills she’s picked up on deployment:
“GIS skills are only part of what we do, a lot of the skills are more to do with working in harsh environments, communicating, and working under pressure.”
Alice has been on a number of deployments with us but knows that each situation is a learning experience,
“In the four years that I have been deployable I have been on an International Search and Rescue Advisory Team (INSARAG) mission to Armenia, two emergency deployments to The Bahamas and Madagascar, one emergency deployment which ended up being remote for Equatorial Guinea, and I’ve done two remote covid projects in Libya and Kenya and worked on a CSO project in Nepal and Indonesia.“
Laverne Rogers volunteers for MapAction’s Caribbean section. She normally works as a GIS Manager for the Government of Montserrat. She was inspired to join MapAction following the devastation that hurricanes Irma and Maria brought to the Caribbean. She recently deployed to support one of our partners, CDEMA, following a volcano eruption in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Our training events are also a time where we can mentor and develop new team leaders in a safe but challenging environment.
For this simulation exercise, Laverne had the opportunity to be a Team Leader:
“I learnt how to manage a team during a disaster response, understanding safety and security requirements for the team and also being able to understand the situation on the ground in order to provide suitable support to our partners and guide the team members to do that.”