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The Working Together for Disaster Relief conference, taking place at BRE on the 8th February, will look at developing mutually beneficial relationships between the private and humanitarian sectors in support of disaster relief and recovery efforts. Private sector expertise can be a great help to both local and international humanitarian actors looking to improve their capacities to respond when disaster strikes, as will be discussed by the Urban Hub and RedR at the conference, but working in disaster-affected areas can also provide new and exciting opportunities for the private sector in return.

Vantage Partners, an international consulting firm, outline some of these opportunities in their Business Case: A study of private sector engagement in humanitarian action, developed with UNOCHA to explore private sector motivations for humanitarian engagement. Jessica Wadd, a partner at Vantage Partners, will present these findings and discuss the best ways to make private-public partnerships work, at the Working Together for Disaster Relief conference.

“Leaders within the private sector are often motivated by a sense of social responsibility to provide financial and in-kind assistance to disaster response and relief. At the same time, there is also often a clear business rationale for doing so. When companies with a local presence get involved, recovery is faster and more resilient, which helps the companies as much as it does the community. Additionally, engagement in recovery efforts often enables companies to enhance their capabilities and understand their customers in new ways” says Jessica.

Following the immediate relief phase of disaster response, long-term partnerships between the private and humanitarian sectors can help to bridge the gap towards development and build local capacity in affected communities. The process of engagement, brokerage, gap identification and project development in this area can be complicated but also rewarding for all parties. Christopher Hoffman, of World Vision International, will discuss his experience of forming partnerships and networks with a long-term orientation in East Africa, such as the Humanitarian Private Sector Partnership Platform.

“Private sector partners have a lot to offer in terms of improving efficiency and quality of humanitarian programmes and when partnerships are formed with the input of both parties then mutually beneficial relationships can be formed. It is important to focus not just on the immediate issues resulting from a humanitarian crisis, but to consider the long-term implications of partnerships that can support development far beyond when humanitarian operations cease” says Christopher.

This interactive relationship between disaster-affected communities and the private sector will be explored further at the Working Together for Disaster Relief conference. These presentations from Vantage Partners and World Vision will help to shape discussions around the best ways to develop relationships that both meet the needs of affected populations and open possibilities for business development beyond the immediate response. Such growth is key to building local capacity and supporting localisation in disaster-affected areas.

We hope you will join us on the 8th February. You can register for the conference and find out more information about the day here.


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