• Event details

    Working Together for Disaster Relief

    Working Together for Disaster Relief

    8 February 2019
    BRE, Watford, UK
    Online price £50.00 per person , plus VAT.

    How can the private sector better work with the humanitarian sector in pre- and post-disaster reconstruction and development to reinforce local ownership and support localisation?


    The need for humanitarian organisations to engage more with the private sector and vice versa – including environment professionals, financial services, manufacturers & suppliers – in post-disaster reconstruction and development is well known. This was reinforced in a study from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on the business case for companies to engage in humanitarian response https://www.unocha.org/story/business-case-companies-engage-humanitarian-response

    Following this there is still need for practical guidance on how our sectors can better work together. The move toward ‘localisation’, driven by both National and International NGOs, to practically implement changes to the way the humanitarian system operates in order to enable a more locally-led response, would also include the private sector. This can include professional and financial services, manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors, both international and local. For more information on localisation, view: https://charter4change.org/.

    This one-day conference is an opportunity for the private and humanitarian sectors to meet and consider how to work together to support and develop local capacity for longer term sustainability and resilience. It will take the form of presentations about current and proposed initiatives and collaborative workshops discussing various issues related to collaboration between humanitarian, governmental, academic, and private partners.  

    With the impact of climate change becoming increasingly apparent, humanitarian partnerships with private sector companies are set to the rise. This conference is focused on sharing information about, identifying and promoting effective ways for the private and humanitarian sectors to better collaborate to promote outcomes which support and reinforce localisation.

    Attendance is free for the humanitarian, NGO and charity sector, with only a modest fee for private sector partners. It takes place at BRE, one of the world’s leading built environment research and testing organisations, with a mission to improve the built environment for all. BRE is also the developer of QSAND, on behalf of IFRC, which is the freely available shelter and settlement sustainability and resilience tool to aid disaster reconstruction. BRE’s demonstration facilities include a life-size, walk-through humanitarian shelter, which will be available for viewing during the conference.

    Note: humanitarian organisations and charities qualify for a free place at this event, up to 2 individuals per organisation, contact us at qsand@bre.co.uk for a discount code to give you a free place.

    Event programme

    8.30 – 9.00am

    Arrival and coffee

    9.00 – 9.10am

    Introductory remarks – welcome and outline of day – BRE CEO

    9.10 - 9.45am

    Keynote Speaker

    9.45 – 10.45am




    Morning Session: outline of the themes to be discussed in breakout sessions and overview of day.

    This session will cover:

    • Localisation and why it is important, Jamie Richardson, Catholic Relief Services
    • Making public-private humanitarian partnerships work, Jessica Wadd, Vantage Partners
    • Supporting the early response phase - the first eight weeks on the ground, Jeremy Foster, Urban Hub
    • The broader view of private sector engagement, Christopher Hoffman, World Vision International  
    • Local NGO perspective on private sector engagement - Speaker TBC

    10.45am - 12.20pm

    All attendees participate in all sessions


    Conference Breakout Sessions – to run concurrently in smaller groups

    1 - Research & Development (short, medium, long term)

    With presentations by: Oxford Brookes University, Bath University, Mott MacDonald

    • Linking academia, industrial research and practice – action research and feedback loops
    • Industry-led R&D
    • Commissioning research and gathering data in early days of response
    • Partnerships with local universities
    • Streamlining collaboration on research topics

    2 - Supporting local enterprise and building capacity

    With presentations by: RedR, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children

    • Barriers to engaging local firms in post-disaster reconstruction
    • Partnerships between international & local firms
    • Technical training of NGO national staff and local actors
    • Supporting local enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurism
    • Strengthening local private sector capacity

    12.20– 1.15pm

    Lunch (and innovation park tours)

    1.15 – 2.50pm

    3 - Construction and Infrastructure Sectors engagement strand (medium to long term)

    With presentations by: TBC

    • Best-practice for private sector support of humanitarian actors
    • Improving communication between sectors for mutually beneficial partnerships
    • Private sector technical assistance to local actors
    • Barriers to collaboration

    4 - Financial services, technology and operations in post-disaster reconstruction, with presentations by: EcoBank, others TBC

    • Funding processes for humanitarian organisations – grants, sponsorships, and more
    • Investment in local businesses
    • Access and availability of financial services, and support to the financial sector
    • Opportunities for private sector engagement through cash and market-based programmes
    • Use of local contractors in reconstruction
    • Risks and challenges in engaging private sector in humanitarian settings

    2.50 – 3.10pm

    Coffee break

    3.10 – 4.45pm

    Feedback from breakout sessions

    Open space / panel – feedback from the breakout sessions – questions / concerns raised in these sessions will be fed back to the panel to discuss. Audience Q&A and “Question Time” style panel. Reflections on day and next steps.


    Charles Parrack, Oxford Brookes University


    • Deborah Pullen – BRE Trust. 
    • Christopher Hoffman - World Vision International
    • Jeremy Foster, Urban Hub Other names to be announced

    4.45 – 5.00pm

    Plenary and wrap-up

    For more information:

    QSAND Enquiries

    Online price £50.00 per person , plus VAT.