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CENDEP NEWS Summer 2015

\ Contents DEP 14\15 4 DEP update 7 Staff & visitors 8 Publications11 Staff research 12 Dissertations16 PhD research 18 Colombia field trip 20 Philippines field trip 24 Human Rights Film Festival 28 Alumni30

Cover image. Community discussion during the Philippines field trip 2015. Inside cover. Colombia field trip 2015. Š DEP 2014/15

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DEP 14 \ 15


Dr Supriya Akerkar, DEP Programme Leader writes, It was another exciting year for the MA DEP in 2014-15. We had a great batch of students from a number of countries: Italy, UK, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Romania. Our students organised a lively annual human rights festival, which included an exhibition of the work of George McBean. His celebrated graphics works included awareness messages about the need for children’s education, access to basic water, health, and resources for human development for those who are excluded. Additionally, several films were screened to highlight the concerns of refugees, women’s rights, and themes of current political relevance such as conflicts in Syria and internet freedom. The festival attracted a good presence of students, tutors across the university, as well as the public at large. The films were followed by critical discussions on the themes depicted. This year, the MA DEP programme led two field trips, namely Colombia and Philippines. In Colombia, students investigated the impact of symbolic violence on direct and indirect victims of the conflict. After 65 years, this is one of the longest contemporary conflicts of 65 years. The students researched the hopes created by the peace process. Interviews were held with two groups affected by this violence, namely displaced coffee farmers and indigenous Pijao to understand their hardships, and modes of coping, adaptation and resilience in the continued context of violence. The field trip to Philippines was undertaken in partnership with the international development organisation Action Aid International to the areas in Tacloban, Leyte and Samar provinces affected by the 2013 typhoon Yolanda. The students interviewed those affected by the typhoon and other stakeholders such as government and

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NGO representatives. They aimed to assess the challenges facing the typhoon survivors to understand how they had coped with the crisis and were preparing for the future. Specifically they studied the role of communities, governments, and NGOs in enabling people to rebuild their lives. Photographs include DEP staff and students during the 2015 field trips to the Philippines and Colombia (opposite). Š DEP Students 2014/15


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DEP students building a temporary shelter as part of the Shelter after Disaster course.


/ DEP UPDATE From the next year, 2015-16, the MA DEP programme will allow students more options in the degree award they can choose. On the one hand students will be able to opt for a generic MA DEP degree as ever. On the other, they will now be able to opt for the MA DEP award with a sub-specialisation of their choice. The students are expected to make their decision in relation to the award they would like (whether generic or with subspecialisations) only later - and not at the time of entry - that is after the second semester. The three sub-specialisations offered now by the MA DEP programme are: 1. Human Rights, Development and Emergencies 2. Disasters, Risks, Shelter and Development 3. Conflict and Humanitarian Action The DEP course and its sub-specialisations will continue to have a strong focus on practice. As a part of this evolution of the programme, we are now introducing two new modules to the 2015-16 programme: a) Improving humanitarian action: responding to crises in the 21st Century, to be led by Paul Knox-Clarke, the research head for ALNAP; b) Programming and Partnerships to be led by Matt Bannerman, the deputy director for Africa, CARE International. With Paul and Matt joining the programme, the MA DEP’s focus on nurturing critical and reflective practitioners is further strengthened.

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STAFF \ VISTORS Dr Supriya Akerkar, Senior Lecturer and DEP Programme Coordinator Jeni Burnell, Research Associate Dr Richard Carver, Senior Lecturer Dr Simon Fisher, Associate Lecturer Bill Flinn, Associate Lecturer Professor Nabeel Hamdi, Emeritus Professor Charles Parrack, Subject Coordinator, Shelter After Disaster Dr Brigitte Piquard, Reader in Humanitarian Action and Conflict Professor David Sanderson, Associate Lecturer Dr Hugo Slim, Visiting Professor Leda Stott, Associate Lecturer Caroline Tindale, Programme Administrator Regular contributors and visitors Kate Angus, Andy Bastable, Peter Bauman, Camillo Boano, Jade Chakowa, Ian Davis, Helene Delomez, Johan Eldebo, Bernard Hacourt, Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, Rachel Hastie, Jemma Houston, Aloysius John, Rumana Kabir, Martin Knops, Paul Knox-Clarke, Rumana Ksurovi, Richard Luff, Jamie Richardson, James Salt, Susanne Sargeant, Yara Sharif, Coree Steadman, Maggie Stephenson, Caroline Sweetman, Dr Helia Lopez Zarzosa


Supriya Akerkar has recently completed her research on drought-proofing in India. She presented her paper highlighting its findings on 17 March 2015 at the public forum organised at the UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, at Sendai, Japan: “Trust, emergent learning and building of communities of practice: Lessons we can draw from the case of drought proofing in Maharashtra, India.” Jeni Burnell was awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake a digital storytelling project in Oxford. Carried out in association with Oxford City Council, Museum of Oxford and StoryWorks UK, the project is part of the Small Change Forum initiative. Jeni also co-authored a chapter entitled ‘The ‘New’ Local’ in the second edition of ‘An Introduction to Community Development’ (Routledge). Richard Carver spent most of his time directing the research project on torture prevention (see separate article). He also began work on developing a manual on freedom of expression law on behalf of the Media Legal Defence Initiative. In the first stage, he wrote a manual on European defamation law that was used as the basis for training exercises in Macedonia, Croatia, Spain and Portugal. In the second phase, Richard is expanding the manual to cover all major freedom of expression issues across the globe. Training for human rights lawyers in East Africa is planned for June-July 2015. Bill Flinn has been teaching the Shelter after Disaster module for several years. He is also a shelter consultant and has worked in post-disaster response in many countries over four continents. He is recently back from Vanuatu, a small Pacific island nation that was devastated by cyclone Pam in March 2015. There he worked with CARE International to set up a programme to support the very fast rate of self-recovery in poor rural communities. Also with CARE, Bill worked recently in Nepal after flash flooding

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washed away 12,000 homes. Other recent assignments have included Haiti and the Philippines. His main area of interest is self-recovery, and how best to support this process, encouraging a shift in aid practice towards more robust and safer housing in parts of the world prone to catastrophic natural disasters. In the past year, he co-authored a paper “Getting the Message Across for Safer SelfRecovery in Post-Disaster Shelter”, for Open House Journal. Charles Parrack continues to be active in the Global Shelter Cluster and is a member of the Accountability working group, the Technical and Innovation working group and the Environment Reference Group. He has developed a research partnership with CCCM (Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster) which aims to link CENDEP research capacity with operational research questions to produce research which has significant impact. Brigitte Piquard finalised in 2014 the European Humanitarian map for EUPRHA and launched the Observatory of Symbolic Violence in Colombia. She also continued conducting action research projects in the West Bank through the Building Sumud Project. David Sanderson taught a new class at Harvard University and organised a conference ‘Design for urban disaster’ attended by over 140 practitioners and academics. In April he led the six month review of the response to Typhoon Haiyan for the UK DEC and in August he took up a post as Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). David recently became a member of the Board of Directors of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and a Steering Committee member of ELRHA.


Akerkar S., & Devavaram, J. (2014) Understanding rights based approach to disasters: A case for affirming human dignity. In Collins Andrew et al. (eds.) Hazards, Risks and Disasters in Society. Elsevier Publications: London. Burnell, J. & Phillips, R. (2015) The “New” Local. In Phillips, R. and Pittman, H. (eds.) An Introduction to Community Development, Second Edition. New York and Abingdon: Routledge. Carver, R. (2014) Measuring the impact and development effectiveness of national human rights institutions: A proposed framework for evaluation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Clarke, P. & Parrack, C. (2014) Portugal 1755 Earthquake . In J. Fowler. (ed.) Shelter Projects 2013-2014. Geneva: UNHabitat, IFRC and UNHCR. Parrack, C., Flinn, B. & Passey, M. (2014) Getting the Message Across for Safer Self-Recovery in Post-Disaster Shelter. Open House International, 39 (3) 2014. Piquard, B. & Hacourt, B. (2014) ‘les rôles de l’Etat moralisateur au sein des interventions humanitaires : fusion ou confusion?’. In Groulier, C. (ed), L’Etat Moralisateur, Regard interdisciplinaire sur les liens contemporains entre la morale et l’action publique, Editions Mare et Martin, Paris, France, pp. 225-239. Sanderson, D., Sharma, S., Kennedy, J. & Burnell, J. (2014) Lost In Transition: Principles, Practice And Lessons From Haiti for Urban Post-Disaster Shelter Recovery Programs. Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2014), pp. 131-151.


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/ Torture Prevention Project Dr Richard Carver, CENDEP Senior Lecturer writes, The year 2014-15 has seen rapid progress in the research project to determine the impact of torture prevention measures. I have spent most of the year living out of a suitcase while visiting nearly all the 12 countries in the main research phase. All 12 research teams gathered in Geneva in late 2014 to review their chapter drafts and discuss the initial findings of the quantitative analysis. The final statistical number-crunching is now under way, with final drafting of the book expected to be completed by the end of the summer. Torture clearly exacts an enormous human cost and those who research it in many countries place themselves at risk. Thailand was dropped as a case study after the military coup in May 2014 because of legal threats to the project researcher, while other researchers have also faced threats. Since this is the first such comparative study on the effectiveness of torture prevention, there has been considerable interest in the research findings. Most notably, myself and co-researcher Dr Lisa Handley were invited to address the United Nations Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Torture at its November 2014 session. We also had meetings with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the chairperson of the UN Committee Against Torture. I spoke at events organized by the Norwegian Ombudsman, the UK Foreign Office, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute at the University of Vienna, and the Dutch Helsinki Committee.

Richard Carver and Philippines researcher Professor Ricardo Sunga meet members of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board


/ RESEARCH / The Small Change Forum Jeni Burnell, CENDEP Research Associate writes, In summer 2015 the next Small Change Forum project will take place. It is called ‘Time to Talk: Digital Storytelling in the Leys’ and will use digital storytelling to capture people’s memories and experiences - both past and present - of living in the Blackbird and Greater Leys neighbourhoods in Oxford. With ties to the car manufacturing industry, the Leys contribute significantly to Oxford’s manufacturing heritage. At times stigmatized by past troubles on the estate, ‘Time to Talk’ aims to challenge negative perceptions about the estate by increasing people’s understanding through storytelling. Developed in collaboration with StoryWorks UK, Museum of Oxford, Oxford City Council and Leys CDI, the project has received a Sharing Heritage grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Apart from being available online, the completed stories will be exhibited at the Museum of Oxford, Oxford Town Hall, as part of their ’40 Years, 40 Objects’ exhibition, which will start on the 28th of September 2015 and run until February 2016. Findings from the project relating to better understanding the role of participatory arts, and in particular digital storytelling, as a catalyst for change in community development will contribute to my CENDEP research.

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Dr Brigitte Piquard, CENDEP Reader writes, Over the last year I have either been involved with or led several research projects which focus on humanitarian action and conflict including: / European Universities on Professionalisation on Humanitarian Action - EUPRHA A team of CENDEP students was instrumental in developing the first European Map of Humanitarian Action. The mapping was conducted in 30 countries through a network of universities. More than 1000 humanitarian actors and 300 humanitarian educators were been identified. This is one for the final outcomes of the EUPRHA that Brookes / CENDEP has co-led for the last three years. Another significant result is the elaboration of the first qualification framework for humanitarian education. The results were presented to the European Commission in Brussels in June 2014. For further details please visit: / DEP students report on resilience in South Hebron Following last year’s DEP field trip to Palestine, in the South Hebron Hills a team of DEP students developed a full report on social resilience among Bedouins and other residents. Three main themes have been investigated: locus of control, social capital and the importance of environment and culture. The research was conducted in partnership with the Building Sumud project. For further details please visit:


/ The Observatory of Symbolic Violence launched in Colombia An exploratory mission in Colombia was conducted in May 2014 investigating the forms of symbolic violence inflicted on two specific Colombian populations: Pijao Indigenous people in the Department of Tolima and cafeteros (coffee farmers) in Valle de Cauca. During this mission, the first Observatory of Symbolic Violence was launched in the University of Tolima in order to monitor the impact of symbolic violence, its link to resilience and the process of symbolic reparation. To read the report please visit: / New European Project started: European Humanitarian Action Partnership - EU HAP As a follow-up activity from EUPRHA, universities and NGOs have joined hands in order to investigate further issues related to humanitarian education, such as prior learning recognition and e-learning needs and have been awarded an Erasmus + strategic partnership grants. Two meetings took place in September 2014 in Madrid and In February 2015 in Brussels, at which research activities were defined. / The second OXFAM Day DEP students spent a full day in Oxfam headquarters in November 2014 in order to learn more about protection issues such as protection needs assessment, practical use of international humanitarian law and self-care. This took place as a component of the module on Conflict, Violence and Humanitarianism.


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18 dissertation were submitted in 2014/15. These included: / Social Capital, Resilience and the Local Church: Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar Joshua C. Ayers In order to contribute to the further integration of social capital theory into disaster resilience practice, this study aimed to understand the impact of local faith communities on social capital and the production of resilience to disasters. Cyclone Nargis, which struck the Ayeyarwady River Delta Region of Myanmar in 2008, was the research focus. The research demonstrated the importance of social capital optimisation as a key factor in building resilience of those villages and identified a number of characteristics of local churches that contributed to it. / Radical Responses: Architects and violence in Medellín, Colombia Martin Dolan Medellín, Colombia, has seen one of the most remarkable turnarounds of any city of the last century. From Most Violent City in the World in 1991 to the Wall Street Journal’s Most Innovative City in the World 2013 and host of the UN Habitat World Urban Forum in 2014. This dissertation looked at ‘social urbanism’ with a specific focus on the architects and their innovative responses to the underlying causes of the violence.



/ Resilience and Impermanence: How can the resilience of internally displaced people be strengthened? Caroline Kassell As the number of people displaced by conflict and violence increases worldwide so the debate about how to assist them in the most effective way has also gained momentum. This study explored how the concept of building resilience can contribute to humanitarian programming with internally displaced persons (IDPs). The findings demonstrated that it is not so much about which programmes are carried out but how they are implemented. / Who are today’s pirates? Towards a regulatory framework for transnational corporations Richard Keely This dissertation provided an overview of the current issues with the regulation of transnational corporations. It discussed the different industries in which human rights abuses have been alleged to occur, including the garment industry, plantation agriculture, the pharmaceutical industry and the arms trade, and proposed a solution including the adoption of universal civil jurisdiction for corporate crimes. / Building Resilience Now and For the Future: A case study of San Jose in Tacloban City after Typhoon Yolanda, Philippines Thomas Banks This dissertation investigated the impact of Typhoon Yolanda on those living in the Philippines, framing the investigation through the idea of ‘resilience’. It found that resilience for those affected was not something that could easily be measured qualitatively as it is not just based around physical assets but also feeling safe and secure, having the capacity for independence and being included in the rehabilitation process.

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/ Architecture of Everyday as responsive possibility for the Gaza Strip, Palestine Salem Al Qudwa, PhD by Design student writes, I have recently arrived from Gaza, Palestine, which is a place of extreme hardship and a warzone. I left my homeland to get the best education and will return to give the better back to my country and to the population at that tired place. For the last 10 years, I have worked with two international humanitarian NGOs in the Gaza Strip in the field of emergency and development. This work has focussed on projects for the poor in marginalized communities, which is very much needed. I strongly believe that my current PhD by Design will be of real value to the people of the Gaza Strip, who are still waiting to reconstruct their homes and lives.


/ PhD RESEARCH Antoine Garrault, PhD student in Political Science, Paris-Est University, writes, I arrived at Brookes in 2014 for a three-month fellowship in the School of Architecture. I was a student in my second year of a PhD research programme, in the not uncommon situation of needing advice and assistance, and to develop my self-confidence. Oxford Brookes University provided me with the perfect environment to achieve these goals. I was part of the post-graduate researchers’ team of the School of Architecture. The fellowship gave me the opportunity to work with two professors of Brookes. They assessed my study and led me in the right direction. Furthermore, I was able to attend some exciting lectures and meet a lot of other professors to present my project in a very friendly atmosphere. With a focus on Palestine (pictured), my research topic relates to the concept of space and place. The School of Architecture gave me an opportunity to meet other PhD students studying different programmes which, in turn, gave me a different perspective on my work. Overall this experience has given me the chance to meet people, enjoy Brookes and the beautiful city of Oxford.

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Adrian-Constantin Alexandrescu (DEP 2014/15) writes, During the two weeks spent on the field trip in Colombia, students from DEP had the chance to engage with communities which were the victims of conflict. The trip was organised to pilot a project for the Observatory of Symbolic Violence, which was developed by Dr Brigitte Piquard to allow people to understand the mechanism of symbolic violence, its impacts and ways in which it can be reduced. In Colombia this method of control has been utilised over the years to obstruct freedom of movement, destroy heritage or impose a change in social spaces. The trip took the research team to three different cities which had suffered from conflict in different ways. Our association with the Foundation for Cooperative Education of the Coffee Growers (fundacion para la education cooperativa de los cafeteros) gave us access to Florida, one of the red zones in Valle de Cauca. There, we interviewed groups of victims who have been caught in a war between guerrilla groups, armed forces and community. The people of Florida have been displaced, stigmatised and suffer an imposed life of fear. During one of the interviews, a mother told us how she had to send her son away from the town in order to protect him from the atrocities that were still happening in the area. After visiting Cali and Florida, we moved to Trujillo, a small town in the mountains. It is situated in the centre of a unique coffee landscape, which has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Here we interviewed school officials and locals about the ongoing and often brutal conflicts between communities, guerillas, paramilitaries and drug traffickers. In this village, people are attached to the land in a manner not seen in Florida. One of the major concerns regarding symbolic violence, this town highlighted that displacement of people from their land was similar to death. Once away from the land, they were powerless. During our time in Trujillo, we had the privilege of a

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tour of the memorial to the victims of the conflict. One of the most touching stories was told by someone who had lost 17 members of her family; a tale that made us aware of the brutality of the events and the pain that many families suffered. The trip, however, was not constant work. During the weekend that we spent in Colombia, we had time to relax and enjoy the beauties of Cartago. On a personal note, the architecture alone is well worth a trip. Before we reached our final destination, the team stopped for a briefing session at the University of Tolima. With their help we were taken to Natagaima, a small town on the Magalena River. Here we were granted permission to conduct interviews with the indigenous people and visit the reservation that the government has provided for them. From the interviews we were able to understand how their culture guides them through life. However, trapped in the middle of conflicts over their land, they have been forced to adapt to modern life. Despite this being a post-conflict situation, we were surprised to see how much fear still exists within the community. This highlights one of the key lessons that we took away from our trip to Colombia. That being, post-conflict reconstruction needs to focus not only on the physical rebuilding of a place but also the unseen, and often hidden, issues such as emotional reconciliation.


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Nadhira Abdul Halim (DEP 2014/15) writes, On the 29th of April 2015, a fellow DEP masters student, Alison Lloyd, and I spoke at our very first conference. The conference was titled ‘How much can we prepare for inevitable disaster?’. It was organised by interior architecture students of Chelsea College of Arts, University of Arts, London (UAL). Although I was extremely honoured at the privilege of being invited, I couldn’t help feeling out of my depth. At the beginning of the DEP course, never would I have imagined that I would be speaking at my very first (and hopefully not the last) conference. How did it happen? The 6th January 2015 is when it all began. After an incredible journey of connecting flights and stressful Manila traffic, I arrived in Tacloban to meet up with staff and students who were also participating in this year’s field trip to the Philippines. My colleague, Amanda, and I hired a taxi from the airport to Palo, where we were asked to look for a yellow tarpaulin that supposedly marked our place of residence for the next ten days. Little did we know, the “big yellow tarpaulin” was merely a small banner hanging on the fence. We walked into this unknown residence, and couldn’t have felt more relieved when we saw Dr Supriya greeting us. That evening the team discussed the primary purpose of our trip. That being to better understand the challenges of recovery after Typhoon Yolanda and Typhoon Ruby that happened in November 2013 and December 2014 respectively. In partnership with non-governmental organisation ActionAid we were there to find out about the challenges faced by victims of the typhoons including the effects on vulnerable groups, and the role NGOs and governments played in recovery. Our work involved visiting barangays (villages) around Palo and Tacloban, speaking to families and victims, investigating the different shelter solutions being provided as well as speaking to the Major and other local government offices and NGOs in the area.

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The research highlighted that the pros and cons of cash transfer and cash-forwork schemes came up a lot in discussions. Shelter assistance also came up frequently with regards to the different types of shelters provided by different NGOs, the selection criteria and the beneficiary list. In response to relocation projects, many people brought up the importance of living within close proximity of their livelihoods, which were very much associated to their original locations. It was interesting and certainly eye-opening to be able to speak to local people, hearing their stories and what they went through. Or - to be more precise - what they are still going through. People were very friendly and open to sharing their thoughts, opinions and experiences, which we greatly appreciated. The spirit of Filipino’s infamous joy and friendliness must have rubbed off on us too. It was such a great experience to share with the DEP cohort and a chance for us to get to know each other while going on adventurous journeys on the jeepneys, braving our palates with raw fish delicacies, and enjoying a sip of fresh coconut at the side of the road. Overall, the trip was not only a great learning experience but a valuable first hand experience of humanitarian research and data collection as well as getting a glimpse of the recovery process after the typhoons. While preparing the field trip report, Alison and I were asked to share our experience and findings at UAL’s conference. It was an honour to represent CENDEP and share the findings from this inspiring trip with others.


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Adrian-Constantin Alexandrescu (DEP 2014/15) writes, In its 13th year, the Oxford Human Rights Festival offered film lovers a different experience, allowing guests to view a wide variety of documentary, short and featured films. Each day of the festival was allocated a theme starting with the exhibition and talks including the former UNICEF artist, George McBean. The programme featured a wide range of screenings, which were placed in the categories: Refugees, Women’s Rights and Politics and Revolution. War, crime and conflict have been featured in the news for many years. The festival looked back in a melancholic manner thinking ‘It all needs to change’. It is one thing when the problem is somewhere else, in other countries, across other continents, but this year, the Oxford Human Rights Festival team thought differently. What if the problem was in your neighbourhood, next door? How would you react? Spread across four days, the festival engaged the audience with panel discussions and movies such as Private Violence, a film about domestic violence, and Infiltrators, which looks at the everyday struggle in a segregated Palestine. Other screenings included Syria Inside, which offered, with a touch of humour, a glimpse into the tragedies of war, and Evaporating Borders, that put forward the story of asylum seekers. During the final day of the festival, we were delighted to present the movie The Fifth Estate featuring Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague, Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) in their pursuit for open source information. This year we were fortunate to have illustrator and animator George McBean, who shared his life experience as well as his life’s work. Mr McBean has retired as head of UNICEF’s graphics section. During his career, he was fundamental in forming one of UNICEF’s most successful partnerships with more than 100 animation studios worldwide, including Disney, Pixar, Warner Bros, Dreamworks, HannaBarbera and Cartoon Network. His work was the centrepiece of this year’s festival due to its close connection with human rights issues and his impact on finding humanitarian solutions to problems wherever he went. For more details please visit our website at:



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Nadia Berger (DEP 2012/13) writes, I currently work as a Public Information Officer for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is my first real experience in a complex environment and what I learnt from the DEP course, especially on humanitarian principles, internal displacement and protection of civilians, is very useful for my field activities, as my role is to analyse the humanitarian situation and help raise the profile of humanitarian action in North Kivu. Among others, I am responsible for producing materials on the humanitarian situation such as the weekly and monthly humanitarian bulletins, situation reports, human interest stories, press briefing, etc. Since graduating in 2014, I have been involved with a number of organisations. I have worked for eight months in Senegal as a communication advisor. My role was to build the capacity of a local organisation (ALPHADEV) and to develop and implement a communication strategy, including new communication tools such as building a social media presence. I have also been involved in the Ebola response in West Africa, where I worked part-time with Translators without Borders, an organisation that provides translation of Ebola-related material such as posters, videos and SMS messages into local languages.

Nadia in Nzulo IDP site, west of Goma, North-Kivu, DRC. Nadia accompanied the IOM team to observe a food distribution using biometric identification. Š IOM

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Jemma Houston (DEP 2012/13) writes, Before attending CENDEP’s Shelter After Disaster course I spent seven years working as a commercial architect. Upon completing the course, I worked with Save the Children in the Philippines following typhoon Haiyan as a Shelter Specialist. More recently, I was stationed in the Gaza strip as a Shelter Consultant for Catholic Relief Services. Over a four and a half month period, I led and supported the Gaza team in their first built shelter project. This was a transitional shelter project unlike any other. Challenges arose from the blockade, lack of materials, unexploded ordinances, rubble removal, and urban density issues to mention just a few. The transitional shelters were designed to resemble a typical local house in layout and general appearance. Timber replaced cement as the main construction material. A relatively new construction technique in the area, timber is locally available and quick to build with; this was especially important for those people facing a harsh winter in Gaza. Over a short period of time, a single storey prototype was introduced to the community for feedback. A two-storey model was later introduced. This was built using the same construction methods including a timber frame, aluminium windows and doors, vinyl flooring and plasterboard internal linings. Thanks to the community feedback process, the shelters were well regarded locally as an highly acceptable solution for temporary housing. The CENDEP Shelter After Disaster course introduced me to the humanitarian shelter sector, which creates rapid and tangible results within challenging environments - a liberating change from the world of commercial architecture.

Jemma in Gaza working on a temporary shelter project with Catholic Relief Services Š Jemma Houston


Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) School of Architecture, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Oxford, OX3 0BP UK | @cendepBrookes

CENDEP News 2015  

The Centre for Development and Emergency Practice, Oxford Brookes University, annual newsletter.

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