Asia is home to 25 Caritas Member Organizations (MOs) that consistently work with vulnerable communities in preparing them to be ready and resilient when disasters strike. The MOs in the region also relentlessly work on the reduction of future risks through various programs at the parish, diocesan, national and regional levels. In their years of experience in program implementation and emergency response in the region, the MOs believe that enhancing local leadership and organizational capacity is among the crucial steps in disaster preparedness and risk reduction.
Caritas Asia, in cooperation with Caritas Austria, launched a regional capacity building project called Strengthening Humanitarian Partnership and Exchanges in Asia (SHAPE), which aims to contribute to the strengthening of the organisational and technical competencies and capacities of Caritas organisations and their networks in Asia, in order to increase effectiveness and efficiency in working for community resilience and preventing human, economic, or environmental losses during disasters through localization and enhancing local volunteering.
The SHAPE Project is a continuation and extension of the EU funded Capacity Building project known as PEACH (Europe-Asia Partnership for Building Capacities on Humanitarian Action), which was implemented by C. Asia and C. Austria with 10 Caritas partners from Europe and Asia, including the national Caritas organizations of Bangladesh, Czech Republic, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania.
Over four years, all PEACH partners were actively involved in the cooperation to increase capacities in Humanitarian Aid and Volunteer Management. This came in the form of capacity building activities on Humanitarian Standards and Volunteer Management, as well as in the implementation and institutionalization of new tools and approaches.
As an off-shoot of the PEACH program, Caritas Asia, together with Caritas Austria, organized a virtual kick off meeting of the SHAPE Project on February 15, 2021 at 3-5 pm Thailand Standard Time. The virtual launching was attended by 25 participants from 17 MOs in Asia, including the emerging Caritas member organizations in Turkmenistan. The launch also included participants from Caritas Romania. The sessions were facilitated jointly by Caritas Asia, Caritas Austria, and Caritas Romania. The event utilized online collaboration platforms to capture real time inputs from the participants on priority topics for the community of practice. The platforms were also used to determine the interest of participants in joining any of the four project working groups and the sole committee under the SHAPE project, including the Online Platform Working Group, the RESUM Working Group, the Community of Practice Working Group, the MEAL Working Group and the Project Committee.