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Business Continuity Plans Help International Medical Corps Build the Capacity of Japanese NGOs to Respond to Disasters

The majority of Japanese NGOs realize that ensuring their organizational integrity when they themselves are hit by a disaster is a prerequisite to their ability to provide humanitarian aid quickly and efficiently to crisis-affected populations. However, many of these organizations do not have the necessary resources and technical know-how to make such preparations. To fill this crucial gap, International Medical Corps is providing risk management expertise to NGOs and helping them prepare Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) so that they will be ready to respond to future disasters.

International Medical Corps is conducting a three-part workshop series in partnership with seasoned BCP experts from two premier Japanese risk management corporations, Tokio Marine & Nichido Risk Consulting Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Corporation Insurance Co., Ltd. The workshop series starts with teaching local organizations the fundamentals about business continuity planning and finishes with each NGO creating a simple, practical BCP that fits its unique organizational needs. Assignments will be given to participants after each workshop to take back to their organizations with the aim of facilitating BCP thinking and ensuring that the BCP drafting exercise is practical and useful to each organization.

On August 20, 2013, International Medical Corps, together with its corporate partners and Japan Platform (a consortium of Japanese Emergency Response NGOs), successfully conducted Part One of this three-workshop series. A total of 28 staff members from 19 organizations participated. “An Introduction to Business Continuity Planning for NGOs,” by Takahiro Ono, BCP Manager at Mitsubishi Corporation Insurance Co., Ltd., provided participants with a common understanding of BCP and what it means for organizational integrity. The lecture was followed by an exercise allowing participating organizations to get more practical experience of the risk management process.

Workshop 2 will cover the topic of “Risk Assessment and Priority Action Items” and is scheduled for September 11, 2013. The third and final workshop, scheduled for October 9, 2013, will give NGO participants the opportunity to draft their own BCP plans and receive feedback from BCP experts. By preparing now, NGOs will be better equipped to seamlessly continue providing critical services to those in need in the event of a future disaster.