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Nepal Simulation: Exercise Khichadi, November 1-8

On October 31, emergency managers and teams from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka gathered in Kathmandu for a unique training event: a simulation exercise for a sudden-onset disaster. On November 4, following two days of classroom training, the 30 trainees were given the location of the disaster.

The exercise scenario directed the teams to a ridgetop village called Ravi Opi, approximately 30 km east of Kathmandu. Accompanied by monitors and observers, the teams quickly arranged transportation to the village while beginning operational planning.

On this page, below, we have posted comments from the exercise planning and leadership team. For a complete picture of the dimensions and success of Exercise Khichadi, please visit: Exercise Khichadi was planned and hosted by ADRA Nepal, Caritas Australia, and their affiliate organizations. Training and simulation were sponsored by Caritas Australia and ADRA Australia under the AusAID-funded Australian NGO and local partner capacity building programme. Funding for this program is provided by AusAID, ADRA and Caritas Australia.
Robert Patton, ADRA Asia
Wow! Exercise Khichadi is finally history after many months of planning and preparation. But it is not forgotten, especially the valuable experiential learning that occurred through the process. To see team members grow and develop through the week was fantastic. The cooperative and collaborative spirit between the teams grew as each hour passed, until it was exclaimed they should have done this at the beginning! Biggest lesson learnt? Probably all about communication. Having the means to communicate, ensuring that it functions before an event and that all team members are familiar with the technology or have access to remote technical support or, ideally, both. Lots and lots of other valuable learning also took place. Look out for the report that will detail this….

Robert is Regional Coordinator of Emergency Management for ADRA Asia.

Jenny Wells, Caritas Australia
Two weeks spent in the mountains of Nepal with committed Caritas and ADRA colleagues was a wonderful experience. The shared learning, friendship and encouragement that occurred during Exercise Khichadi was strengthened with the continuous support from two technical advisors, Steve and Gregg. Working together to ensure a shared understanding of the importance of good management and implementation of disaster response programs leaves us all in a stronger position to better assist disaster affected communities, both individually and organisationally. Additionally, good lessons have been captured to ensure the next exercise is even better.

Jenny is Group Leader for Humanitarian Response with Caritas Australia and was a team monitor and facilitator for training during Exercise Khichadi.

Melville Fernandez, Caritas Australia
Exercise Khichadi was a steep learning curve for me to understand and realise the importance and extent of complexities involved in various stages of Disaster Response including planning, communication equipment available for humanitarian response situations, coordination, logistics, advocacy, etc that are essential for all stakeholders to be alert and aware for delivering an effective emergency response that will swiftly benefit the poorest of the poor communities who we are mandated to assist. The simulation was symbolic to the name of the exercise "Khichadi" where a number of organizations government, non-government, UN, Military, Armed Police and others including the communites coordinated for the disaster response, which was all very different but together produced a great outcome. There have been numerous lessons learnt which will definitely benefit future simulations to be carried out in other parts of the world.

Melville is South Asia Regional Coordinator of Caritas Australia.

Chris Olafson, ADRA Australia
This was a groundbreaking joint agency program! We all learnt a great deal about the value of networking within the NGO sector. It was so encouraging to see the teamwork developed between NGOs, UN and Government agencies, local community leadership as well as the important role of the military and police in humanitarian responses. The technical day highlighted some of the excellent innovations available to support communities in disasters. It was a pleasure to support the South Asia region in this way, and they responded magnificently.

Chris is Manager of Emergency Management, ADRA Australia.

Exercise Khichadi Team Blog
Participants and the planning team have posted their thoughts and perspectives on the Team Blog hosted by HumaniNet. Watch our blog for additional posts by the 40 participants and observers. RSS feeds from the Team Blog are possible.

The exercise was named Khichadi after a well-known Nepalese food dish that symbolizes the mixture of people and organizations involved.

Organizations participating in the training include:
  • ADRA Australia
  • ADRA India
  • ADRA International
  • ADRA Nepal
  • ADRA Sri Lanka
  • Caritas Bangladesh
  • Caritas India
  • Caritas Nepal
  • Caritas Pakistan
  • Caritas Sri Lanka
  • HumaniNet
  • Nepal Red Cross Society
  • World Food Program
Posted November 14, 2007
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