September 18, 2015
JICA freshman, Ms. Hanae Nishimura started working as an officer of JICA, took On-the-Job Training (OJT) in the Technical Cooperation for Landslide Mitigation Project (TCLMP) from 7th September, 2015 to 18th September, 2015. Nishimura, who is working at the Secretariat of JOCV (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer), is currently dispatched to Sri Lanka to take OJTs at JICA Sri Lanka Office, JICA project and work place of JOCVs to learn the frontline works and project implementation and management at the field.
During her OJT in TCLMP, Nishimura mainly engaged in formulating the objectives and plans to conduct After Action Review (AAR) on Koslanda Landslide, which occurred 29th October, 2014. The survey is aiming at strengthening the capacity of Sri Lankan counterparts' Non-Structural (soft) measures.
The office hours of NBRO (National Building Research Organization), counterpart organization of TCLMP, start with singing of a national anthem on 0835hrs. In Sri Lanka, governmental organizations are obligated to sing a national anthem, and hence NBRO officers and staff standstill when national anthem played. Nishimura followed the counterpart and standstill while national anthem played, which she could not experience in JICA office.
The dawn of OJT started with the courtesy call with Dr. Asiri, Director General of NBRO. Thereafter, Nishimura had a series of discussions with Ms. Sachi Perera, a consultant of TCLMP to conduct AAR on Koslanda Landslide, on research objectives, methodology and plans. Following the discussion with Sachi, they had consecutive discussions with NBRO staff. During her Master Courses, Sachi has a similar survey experiences, which she conducted a series of interviews on the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Using those experiences, Sachi designs the survey concept and methodologies as well as plans with the consideration of local context and characteristics. Since Koslanda is tea plantation estate, considerations such as educational levels and sex ratio are important to obtain satisfactory samples of interviews.
In the second week, Nishimura and Sachi had discussions with Dr. Asiri and Retired Major General Mark, Director General of Disaster Management Center (DMC). In Japan, technical agencies with the in-charged local government conduct Incident Analysis Survey and Post Disaster Needs Survey soon after the occurrence of the disaster, however, in Sri Lanka, there were no survey conducted up until the Koslanda landslide. To perceive the overall picture of the disaster and review the following actions whether those actions could follow the plans or not is crucial to identify the gaps between plans and actual operations. Disasters occur seldom and thus learning from the occurred incidents are essential to enhance the disaster management capacity by improving the plans.
TCLMP conducts OJT for NBRO and DMC staff on how to conduct these kinds of survey, aiming at the independent survey conduction in near future. DMC and NBRO promised to allocate the staff to take OJT to learn survey method and techniques. Survey plans will be discussed with allocated staff again and re-examined. Thereafter, the team with the counterpart is planning to organize several workshops to have the maximum involvement of Sri Lankans.
Nishimura hold discussion with Sachi on Koslanda Landslide After Action Review
Nishimura completed her OJT with the trip to Koslanda Landslide area on 17th and 18th of September, 2015. The incident area still remains the same since no structural measures were taken after the incident, however, the area were covered with lots of greens and some plants were thorny plants, which made the team difficult to conduct the field study. The team could observe the remaining building collapsed by the landslide, which proves that the impact of the landslide was extremely huge scale. During the field study, the team conducted the interviews to the residents of tea plantation estate. About 20 villagers gathered and they expressed their anxiety saying that "we don't know when will the similar landslide occurs, which remains us worry to spend a safe and normal daily life".
Nishimura completed her two weeks OJT assignment with the following comments: "I could learn about the project implementations through this two week OJT. Communication among experts and counterparts are crucial to have smooth implementation of the project with the different cultural and linguistic background. I realized that the chief experts of TCLMP put so much effort and high values in communication, which created the good atmosphere of the project implementation and resulted to build strong relationship of mutual trust. As a JICA officer, I would like to have close communication and facilitate communications among persons concerned for smooth implementation of the project in-charged".
Discussion with Dr. Asiri, Director General of National Building Research Organization (NBRO)
Discussion with Retired Major General Mark, Director General of Disaster Management Center (DMC) and Ms. Anoja, Director in charge of Mitigation and Research and Development in, DMC
Field Study on Koslanda Landslide
Interview with the affected villagers of Koslanda Landslide