Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aidmatrix at the Humanitarian Logistics Summit in London

Last month, I attended the Humanitarian Logistics Summit in London. This event brought together members of the three hosting organisations and other interested parties from academia, humanitarian aid agencies, donors and the commercial logistics sector to define optimum ways to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of disaster response. The event also launched a new engagement between CILT(UK) Help Forum (HELP), the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA), and RedR (UK). This new collaborative initiative in humanitarian logistics was initiated in the presence of Her Royal Highness (HRH) The Princess Royal, Patron of CILT(UK) and President of RedR (UK). There were over 100 in attendance plus the extra security guards for HRH. (I didn’t realize before that HRH was Her or His Royal Highness.)

It was great having the opportunity to network with others that understand logistics and the need for improvements for humanitarian aid. As part of the summit, there were 3 active workshops to discuss how to initiate projects to address important areas:

1. Professional Development in Humanitarian Logistics
2. Technical Support Services for Field Logisticians
3. Benchmarking and Metrics for Humanitarian Logistics

For me, the most exciting part of the session was Princess Anne’s talk. As an American, royalty has always been intriguing. Like most little girls, I wanted to be a princess when I was young. (And I knew that Princess Anne was born exactly a week before me – somehow making me think I could one day be a princess.) However, I was surprised to learn how much she knew about humanitarian aid and the problems with logistics. It was not just a speech written by some ghost writer – or at least she came across as very knowledgeable and passionate on the need for improvements. (Afterwards, I was able to confirm that she was quite genuine with her knowledge and desire to help.) I loved it when she said “one of the key problems is getting the right aid to the right people at the right time”. I wanted to stand up and say “YES – that’s the Aidmatrix motto!”.

I find these types of conferences inspiring – giving hope that the importance of logistics is starting to be understood and that activities are underway for improvements.

Shari Temple, Managing Director - Europe

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