LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific (About)


Natasha Udu-gama

Natasha is a PhD candidate at the Department of Environment and Geography, of the Faculty of Science, at the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Her PhD research examines options to develop a framework for partnerships to address the issues of effectiveness and sustainability of early warning systems, while ensuring that communities at risk feel empowered. The premise is that through community ownership, promoted via innovative partnerships, early warning systems will become more effective and sustainable in reducing lives and livelihoods lost to natural hazards.  Natasha says her time at LIRNEasia has directly contributed towards her current academic interests by influencing her thinking and enriching her knowledge of disaster early warning systems.

Natasha is a former Research Fellow and Project Dissemination Manager for LIRNEasia’s Last Mile Hazard Warning System (HazInfo) project. She organized three international HazInfo dissemination workshops with practitioners and experts in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia in 2007 and 2008.  She also researched the use of mobile cell broadcasting for commercial information dissemination and public warning system for the Maldives, as part of LIRNEasia’s Mobile2.0 study. Her research interests include community-based disaster risk management and appropriate technologies for community-based disaster risk information systems in poor urban areas and information technologies for risk communication.

“Because of my work at LIRNEasia, particularly my involvement in the HazInfo project, I became more aware of the opportunities and challenges of partnerships, in ensuring that community early warning systems are community-owned,” says Natasha.

The HazInfo project also attempted to develop a framework for partnerships in early warning systems, in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s grassroots social movement Sarvodaya. However, while this attempt did not materialize at that time, Natasha says her exposure to early warning systems fired her interest and encouraged her to continue her studies on the subject.

“My experiences influenced my thinking about working further on developing a framework for partnerships. The contact base I developed during my work at LIRNEasia has also been helpful in working further in this areas and this is what I am now focusing on for my PhD,” says Natasha.

At the conclusion of her PhD studies Natasha hopes to continue her work on developing a framework for community partnerships for more effective disaster early warning systems in Asia.

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