The Department of Disaster
Management (DDM) is partnering with the University of Portsmouth, England
for the fifth consecutive year to facilitate research by students pursuing
studies related to the field of disaster management.
year, Esther Robertson has been approved to pursue an internship in the British
Virgin Islands which will focus on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable
communities. Her research will also form the basis of her graduate thesis, the
working title of which is “Climate change impacts which will affect coastal
communities in the BVI and the adaptive capacity of these communities”.
part of her research Ms. Robertson will spend her time here in the BVI
assessing the public perception of and adaptation to climate change through
administration of an online survey; interviewing stakeholders and engaging in
community-level focus group discussions.
of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Ms. Sharleen DaBreo welcomed
the intern saying, “We are pleased to be able to continue our arrangement with
the University of Portsmouth. We have obtained significant gains
from these research type internships and the students have integrated very well
into the organisation.”
DaBreo is confident that the intern’s work will help to provide critical
data that will be used to guide our public awareness and education progamme and
support similar efforts being implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Labour in the management of the national Climate Change Adaptation Programme.
DaBreo further explained, “These internships are self-funded and provides an
opportunity for the staff at the DDM to obtain additional information to
support their assigned portfolios which might otherwise be difficult to accomplish
on an annual basis. DDM officers are also able to interact with the
students, thereby creating new relationships and gaining exposure to formal
level programmes in the area of disaster management which they might wish to
pursue in the future.”
her choice of research, Ms. Robertson said she is keenly interested in “climate change and how
communities in small island states can adapt livelihoods and lifestyles to
climate change impacts.” Ms. Robertson will be required to share her initial
findings with DDM staff as well as her full thesis,
upon completion, along with all raw data collected.
The University of
Portsmouth graduate student also regards her DDM internship as an excellent
opportunity to gain practical experience in the field of disaster management
with specific emphasis on climate change effects and adaptation.
Robertson currently holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography and
Environmental Science and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Crisis and
The DDM encourages
residents to complete the survey created by Ms. Robertson to help inform her
data collection process. The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BVIclimatechange.