Addressing international design issues?

March 11, 2010
By pablo

It’s fantastic to see how vibrant and insightful this blog is – thanks!

As one of the instigators of the macro-level RedCross+Parsons collaboration, I just want to remind those about to define their project that the international dimension of our Red Cross work, while more distant from 5th avenue, can also offer enriching opportunities for your learning experience. Importantly, those of you who chose non-NY issues will more likely help make a tangible difference among the most vulnerable people of our world. As Colleen from PETLab can attest from her trip with me to Senegal, it’s also a lot of fun.

Nigel had mentioned two concrete ideas for your consideration in his blog entry Feb 7 ( It turns out that the first proposal there, i.e.  designing a game that can help RedCross people save lives based on early warnings of incoming disasters, is now particularly desirable: We are ready ready for implementing it not only in Mali and Gambia but also Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Fiji, Philippines, Vietnam, half a dozen countries in Latin America and Caribbean and possibly many more places where my RC/RC Climate Centre team will be organizing workshops for disaster managers.Other humanitarian and development orgs will also be able to use the tools you design.

Of course let me know if you have any Qs about this possibility. I’d be happy to travel from Boston to NY before Sunday March 21 just to meet with interested students and share some of the obstacles and opportunities we find trying to convert early warning into early action (to get a sense you can check out, esp. the case study in page 22). I really hope it can get done!  (while of course understanding that other cool options are also at your disposal).

All the best to you, and thanks again for your creative support.

One Response to “ Addressing international design issues? ”

  1. pablo on March 12, 2010 at 6:15 am

    This just in: See below an email from my colleague Simon Thuo, from the Global Water Partnership – Eastern Africa (based in Kampala). He found the link to the video about the PETLab-RedCross game, and wants to replicate the activity in Uganda. And it may happen soon, as I will go there with other Parsons students who are designing an early warning device for floods. What a beautiful world! Thanks again.


    From: “Simon Thuo”
    Date: March 12, 2010 3:44:26 AM EST
    To: “‘Pablo Suarez’”
    Cc: “‘Janot-Reine MENDLER de Suarez’”
    Subject: RE: Hi Simon! + Nile, CCA, humanitarian sector?- rc_st_louis_FINAL!

    Hi Pablo, Janot

    I have been looking at the you tube video Janot has linked to on her Skype… and it is incredible.

    Just yesterday, we had a focus group discussion organised by Tyndall Centre; and our biggest challenge was how do we translate science to enable people and institutions at all levels make appropriate decisions. Reviewing the current disasters from landslides in Budukka, Uganda that have have killed so many and displaced 300,000; and Kenya where floods are ravaging what was left from the devastating drought… Part of the frustration was why people continue to stay in areas they know are facing disaster the very next season.

    The simulation exercise you depict provides a strong, direct and clear link; between science and practise, and no-regrets actions based on community understanding what is coming. It cuts the Gordian knot of institutional lethargy, lack of capacity and resources everywhere.. perhaps we can look at how to scale up this initiative, and get a critical mass of institutions and people understand the bridge it provides while not threatening or discrediting long term measures to deal with the challenges of a changing climate.

    Can GWP help on this? Absolutely.

    Best regards