When responding to extreme weather disasters, humanitarian aid workers constantly confront the unexpected.

After a disaster, aid workers are thrust into rapidly changing situations. They must respond quickly and communicate effectively — with each other, community leaders and weather experts.

PhotoTo help aid workers adapt to these situations, Pablo Suarez of the Red Cross — Red Crescent Climate Centre is borrowing techniques from an unlikely source.

Suarez: “People who are in the field of improvisational jazz and improvisational theater have mindsets, exercises, that help them feel comfortable and connected in the face of the unknown.”

Suarez realized these exercises could help disaster managers better communicate and think on their feet. So he is holding improv workshops for humanitarian aid workers.

Suarez: “These are activities that enable individuals to communicate and to learn how the other person is thinking, how the other person is acting, how the other person is processing information.”

Suarez hopes the training will help humanitarian aid workers become more creative and collaborative, so they can be effective even in unexpected and volatile situations.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

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Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...