Disaster Management is an emerging focus area for Mvula extend its contribution to the communities it serves through building resilience and disaster risk reduction as well as fulfilling its mission during times of crisis. The xenophobic violence in May 2008 and the subsequent displacement of tens of thousands of people, as well as the cholera outbreak in the summer of 2008/09, exposed the unreadiness of the organisation to respond effectively to disasters. Consequently, and in line with efforts to diversify the resource base of Mvula, the Board instructed the organisation to explore opportunities to improve this capacity.
During 2009/10 Mvula explored opportunities and forged partnerships to strengthen its involvement in disaster management. These activities have involved engagement with various actors, including Oxfam GB, Unicef, CSIR and government departments such as Health and Cogta. Significantly these efforts have resulted in a growing partnership between Mvula and Oxfam GB, who are looking to Mvula as a key partner through which it can fulfill its mandate to provide humanitarian WASH responses in South Africa, given their decision not to maintain operational capacity in country.
A partnership agreement was put in place during 2009/10 between Mvula and Oxfam GB to support capacity building in Mvula in disaster management, and as part of this agreement Oxfam has provided funding to enable training of Mvula staff and support a contingency planning process. A two day workshop took place in May and was attended by regional directors and programme managers and project development facilitators from Limpopo, Eastern Cape, North West.
This workshop explored potential areas of involvement for Mvula in DM, and raised the possibility for the establishment of an emergency response team within the organisation.
In addition Mvula is a founding member of the steering committee of the Humanitarian Assistance Network of SA. This civil society network aims to foster greater cooperation, coordination and communication between civil society organisations, the State and UN structures, to strengthen disaster management capacity in South Africa. Through HAN-SA Mvula has been part of several initiatives aimed at strengthen civil society support for DM, including engagement with the National Disaster Management Centre at Cogta. This underlined the important strategic opportunity this area of involvement offers for Mvula.