BC (Before COVID), over 350 delegates from the emergency services sector including local government, police, volunteers and community members had participated in the face-to-face training offered by the Gender and Disaster (GAD) Pod. Our first training was held in Kinglake in 2013, facilitated by Rachael Mackay and Claire Zara.
In the seven years since, we have expanded and adapted the training to reflect the GAD Pod’s further primary research, and tailored it for different audiences. A highlight was funding from the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Initiative which saw over 80 middle managers in emergency management complete four sessions. This was the first time Liam Leonard joined the team to bring an LGBTIQ focus to the training.
Fast forward to 2020, a year to remember. Our core team of trainers worked day and night to move our training online. Joining Rachael and Andrew Wilson-Annan, the core team for some years now has grown to include Steve O’Malley, Naomi Bailey, Liam Leonard, Susie Reid (former WHGNE EO and Co-chair of the GAD Taskforce with then EM Commissioner, Craig Lapsley). Other trainers have joined the team to ensure we can meet demand. Vanessa Brown is now a key team member in her role as online moderator and producer.
This year’s massive effort was led by GAD Pod Training Coordinator, Jaspreet Kaur. Jaspreet has liaised with hundreds of people in bringing two facilitators - in real time - together with receptive individuals in their zoom squares and with their chat box comments. Breakout rooms, common whiteboards and conversation rule the day.
The training is not simply information, and it’s not ‘screening and identifying’ for family violence. It’s still true to our vision from seven years ago:
"The training draws together local and international research into family violence following disasters, and research into the challenges faced by men in the context of disasters. The implications for recognising and responding to family violence are examined, and participants are challenged to take action to address gendered stereotypes which are harmful to women, men and children’s healing and recovery following disaster."
We are supported in our work by an Advisory Group – some members bring expertise in emergency management, and others bring their expertise and deep understanding of gender. For the GAD Pod, gender encompasses women, men and people of diverse gender and sexual identities. Liam continues to adapt the training to explore new understandings of the role of sex, gender and sexuality in the context of disasters. Participants from every group have welcomed this opportunity for greater understanding.
Jaspreet has coordinated the delivery and constant adaptation of this training to over 160 people this year. The list includes groups from fire-affected regions in Gippsland through a partnership with Gippsland Women’s Health. Other highlights include training to National Red Cross, the Country Fire Authority and Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
If you would like training, please contact Jaspreet: firstname.lastname@example.org