Another International Student has joined the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) as part of its Annual Apprentice Programme.
Mr. Dominic Aherns from Hamburg Germany is a Graduate Student at Aarhus University in Denmark where he is enrolled in the Human Security Graduate Programme.
Deputy Director of the DDM, Dr. Evangeline Inniss-Springer is directly supervising the intern. She explained the purpose of the internship, “Mr. Aherns has completed his bachelor’s thesis on disaster management and is currently preparing to write his graduate thesis focusing on the coordination of disaster management mechanisms. During his internship he will work closely with the various programme managers within the department, to allow him the opportunity of understanding how to plan for and properly manage emergency response situations.”
Mr. Aherns’ research questions will focus on how to integrate strategies, capacities, and needs of communities into the broader national level concepts.
He said, “One of the reasons I chose to do my internship in the BVI is because there is an impressive emergency management programme already in place and I wanted to have a broader view of disaster management and experience what it would be like to work within the organisation.”
He added, “During my bachelor’s programme my focus was on disaster risk reduction, now, in doing my graduate programme I am required to collect information on the procedures that should be in place when a disaster hits to address the conflicts that are generated from it.”
Mr. Aherns’ study also focuses on major challenges in the coordination of the different stakeholders who contribute to the disaster management process, including national and international non-governmental organisations working in the country, international humanitarian aid and emergency response organisation, the private sector, state authorities, and community level stakeholders, including the Community Emergency Response Teams.
Dr. Inniss-Springer said that it is important to expose interns to as much of the work being done in the department so that they have a full appreciation of the mandate and responsibilities that come with managing a national level programme.
She said, “Since being in the Territory, Mr. Aherns has already participated in three workshops; The Virgin Islands CDM Strategy and Country Work Programme, Heavy Equipment Operators Workshop, and the Weather Stations Installation training session which has allowed him to be exposed to planning at the strategic and technical levels. In the coming weeks he will apply a survey instrument in the communities and get the opportunity to work with officers in the field.”
Mr. Aherns will work with the DDM for the next four months and will conclude his internship on December 20.