George, the winner of the March 2023 Human Geography Zone, is a doctoral researcher in humanitarian efforts. He used his prize money to organise a workshop for coordinating shelter responses with government and non-governmental organisations.
“I am currently in Malawi collecting data for my PhD research into the shelter and housing recovery process after Cyclones Ana and Freddy, which have massively affected the southern region of Malawi and resulted in a significant number of people being displaced from their homes. I have been able to visit the affected communities and speak with people engaged in shelter programmes, which has been a very eye-opening experience.
Thanks to the prize money from I’m a Scientist, I was also able to arrange a workshop to coincide with the Malawi Shelter Cluster Meeting in the first week of October. This meeting is when all the governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in house reconstruction activities get together to discuss coordination of the response and learn from each other’s experiences.
As I had funding to cover the cost of daily subsistence allowances for attendees, I was able to take an afternoon in the meeting to present on my current research findings and run a training workshop on QSAND (www.qsand.org), the sustainability framework I am responsible for, which aims to support decision making in post-disaster reconstruction activities. The workshop had over 40 participants, all from local government offices and NGOs working in camps and resettlement contexts across Malawi. It was a pleasure to take part in, and the participants were all very engaged and supportive of the aims of QSAND.
Not only was I able to share more about QSAND and get some valuable input for my PhD research, including connections with new NGOs who’s projects I am now hoping to visit in the remainder of my time here in Malawi, but I’ve had messages from multiple people who want to adopt QSAND into their own programmes in the future.
Thank you to I’m a Scientist for the great experience of interacting with students, and for offering me the opportunity to engage with such a wide variety of shelter and housing practitioners in a meaningful way. Without the support from the prize money, this workshop would have been much smaller scale than it ended up being, if it had been able to take place at all.