Rolling the dice: Learning through games to make better decisions for resilience

Game simulations as a tool are increasingly being used to train pilots, operators, defense strategists, and many other professions that demand complex decision-making. So why not for disaster risk management professionals yearning to make better decisions to make infrastructure more resilient to compounding shocks?


The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), with support from the Government of Japan, is using innovative tools to support the inclusion of disaster risk reduction and infrastructure resilience in the development agenda. Utilizing funds from the Japan World Bank Program for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management in Developing Countries, the team has conceptualized, designed, and deployed a simulation tool that helps to better understand resource allocation to promote resilience in infrastructure investments for ports and airports in Cabo Verde.


The simulation game involves multiple participants assuming roles as decision-makers. They must make recommendations on the annual budget allocation to the Prime Minister, to increase the resilience of infrastructure buildings on the islands of Cabo Verde. To get ahead in the game, participants must build resilient infrastructure that minimizes the losses before natural and man-made hazards hit the vulnerable islands. Projects range from increasing resilience of local ports and airports, establishing new domestic and international air and sea connections, and protecting the economy and the people against disasters. The game emulates the complexities of real-life scenarios such as limited financial resources, and the participants are encouraged to discuss the reasoning behind their decisions to learn from each other. Players need to collaborate towards common objectives, compete for limited resources, and navigate through conflicting interests to ultimately reduce the impacts from disaster events.


On June 23, 2022, the GFDRR team collaborated with the department for International Partnerships at the European Commission to run a simulation exercise using the game. The objective was to provide a glimpse of the possibilities that such a method can offer to support a better understanding of the challenges of complex decision-making for resilient infrastructure projects. First, a half an hour presentation on resilient infrastructure was made to provide a summary of key principles on the Bank’s resilient infrastructure financing, using the case study of the flood resilient highway project in Belize. This was followed by an hour and a half of simulation exercise, where more than 40 professionals engaged in discussions on resource allocation in an informative, challenging, and fun environment.


What did we and the players learn?


Immediately after the event, a short survey was taken, and 17 participants provided feedback. Here is what we, and the participants learned.


Format: Respondents were split on whether they favored the simulation games which gave them real-life scenarios to solve, or the presentation beforehand which enhanced their understanding of resilient infrastructure financing decisions. Combined, both formats seem to have provided a comprehensive understanding of the challenges for decision-making in resilient infrastructure.


Participation: The simulation exercise encouraged active participation, and many of the respondents indicated that they are more likely to participate in a simulation game exercise again. This type of involvement can be a critical advocacy and information-sharing tool to promote active dialogues among policymakers and private investors.


Experience: The design, the user interface, and the online application being used to play the game could be improved for a better overall experience. Furthermore, the rules of the game could be simplified as one participant commented that “rules are quite complex and should be better explained in the beginning to avoid frustration”. The duration of the simulation game may also have been too short for the players to reap the full benefits of the exercise.


The way forward


Unquestionably, there is enough evidence of how useful game simulation tools can be. If refined and further improved, these tools could be optimized to train professionals involved in the advocacy and implementation of resilient infrastructure projects to reduce the risks of climate change and natural hazard-related disasters.


Source: World Bank

UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian Situation Report No. 11 – November 2022

Ongoing deterioration of livelihoods in the drought affected regions of Ethiopia continues to result in negative coping mechanisms of communities; incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) are affecting the lives of millions of women and adolescent girls.

In November 2022, UNICEF supported 60,000 people through child protection interventions including mental health and psychosocial support, family tracing and reunification and alternative care services for unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) and prevention and response to violence, including GBV.

In Borena zone, Oromia, UNICEF provided 10 Emergency Drug Kits (EDK) and expanded provision of essential health services to drought affected communities.

UNICEF provided financial support for shock responsive cash transfers through the government-led rural Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) for drought affected families, covering the needs of 64,315 households.

UNICEF-procured 1.4 million doses of routine vaccines reached Tigray, which will help vaccinate an estimated 50,000 children.

Situation in Numbers

29.7 million

people in need (2022 HNO)

15.7 million

children in need of humanitarian assistance (CSA)

4.51 million

Internally Displaced People (IDPs)


pending and registered refugees (UNHCR, 31 October 2022)

Funding Overview and Partnerships

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) 2022 currently requires US$532.3 million to meet the critical humanitarian needs of children, adolescents, women, and men in Ethiopia. This represents an increase of over US$281 million from 2021 primarily due to the situation in northern Ethiopia, increased needs due to climatic shocks including severe drought, failed harvests, public health emergencies, and deepening food insecurity across the country. To date, US$253.1 million has been received towards the appeal, representing, with the carry forward from 2021, only 48 per cent of the required needs to reach children and their families with critical lifesaving support.

Within the appeal, funding dedicated to the Northern Ethiopia Response Plan is budgeted at US$223.4 million and fully incorporated in the HAC. Furthermore, due to the severe drought that has impacted 24.1 million people across four regions, another US$202.9 million within the HAC has been dedicated to the drought response. UNICEF appeals for support to close the remaining gaps and to ensure that children and their caregivers receive lifesaving support.

UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to the many donors who have already provided critical support towards UNICEF’s HAC, including Australia, Canada, Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), China, Denmark, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK Aid, United Arab Emirates, USAID, Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund (EHF), Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and private sector donor contributions through UNICEF National Committees

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

The deteriorated livelihood situation in the drought affected regions has continued to cause people to resort to negative coping mechanisms, and gender-based violence (GBV) is affecting the lives of millions of women and adolescent girls. The data from West Guji zone Bureau of Women and Children Affairs office, collected from 10 drought and conflict affected woredas shows that 293 children were exposed to child marriage over the last three to four months. In addition, there are increased reports of children fleeing from their villages and crossing the border to Kenya, Djibouti and Somaliland, primarily from East Hararghe and Borena Zones of Oromia region, to avoid impact of the current climate shock.

As of 14 December 2022, 669 cholera cases have been reported including 24 deaths. Close to 743,000 people are at high-risk in the eight woredas. Of the total 669 cholera cases, 191 IDPs have been affected in five woredas of Bale zone (Harena Buluk, Berbere, Delo Mena, Gura Damole and Meda Welabu), one woreda of Guji zone (Girja) and two woredas of Liban zone (Quarsadula and Guradamole) with Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 3.59 per cent. In Girja woreda over 100 cases have been recorded in less than two weeks. The reported cases mostly fall within the age range of 0 to 14 years (with 16 per cent children under five), of the total caseload, more than 65 per cent have not received any doses of Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV). UNICEF continues to support the scale-up of health, WASH and Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) activities in priority areas.

The situation in Northern Ethiopia has shown improvement; the remaining 690 IDPs from Agatina IDP site in Afar have safely returned to Tigray through the multi-sector coordination facilitated by teams in Afar and Tigray. Similarly, in Amhara, over 250,000 IDPs in North Wollo, North Gondar, and South Gondar zones were returned to their place of origin. However, returnees are in urgent need of basic services due to damage or non-functionality of service delivering facilities. In Tigray, humanitarian convoys are gradually entering the region with food, health, education, nutrition, WASH and child protection supplies. Since the resumption of convoy movements in November, UNICEF has dispatched 28 trucks through the Semera (Afar) – Mekelle (Tigray) road with over 1,100 metric tons of multi sectoral supplies. In addition, on 8 December, UNICEF delivered 1.4 million doses of routine vaccines through UNHAS, which will help vaccinate an estimated 50,000 children. The distribution of aid to the most affected populations outside of Mekelle has been a work in progress, with supplies dispatched through UNICEF Rapid Response Mission (RRM) to Adigrat, Maichew and Abi Adi during the month of November, where nutrition, health, WASH and child protection supplies for vulnerable IDPs and host communities has been distributed.

While the relatively improved security situation in northern Ethiopia is gradually easing humanitarian movement, ongoing hostilities in western Oromia continue to displace hundreds of thousands of civilians impacting humanitarian operations. With the high probability of continued violence, the number of IDPs is expected to increase whilst response preparedness and capacity on the ground is very low to inadequate, compounded by access challenges. The escalation of hostilities in western Oromia has also impacted humanitarian operations in eastern Benishangul Gumuz Region. There is no road access along the main Assosa – Addis route via Oromia since 31 October, blocking both humanitarian and commercial supplies impacting approximately 200,000 IDPs and 76,000 refugees in the region.

Source: UN Children’s Fund

Children suffering dire drought across parts of Africa are ‘one disease away from catastrophe’ – warns UNICEF [EN/AR]

NEW YORK/NAIROBI/DAKAR, 23 August 2022 – Children in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel could die in devastating numbers unless urgent support is provided, as severe malnutrition and the risk of water-borne disease collide – UNICEF warns during World Water Week.

“History shows that when high levels of severe acute malnutrition in children combine with deadly outbreaks of diseases like cholera or diarrhoea, child mortality rises dramatically – and tragically. When water either isn’t available or is unsafe, the risks to children multiply exponentially,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “Across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, millions of children are just one disease away from catastrophe.”

The number of drought-hit people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia without reliable access to safe water rose from 9.5 million in February to 16.2 million in July, putting children and their families in increased danger of contracting illnesses like cholera and diarrhoea1.

In Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, drought, conflict and insecurity are driving water insecurity, with 40 million children facing high to extremely high levels of water vulnerability2. Already more children die as a result of unsafe water and sanitation in the Sahel than in any other part of the world, according to the latest WHO data.

Most people in the Horn of Africa rely on water delivered by vendors on trucks or donkey carts. In areas worst hit by drought, water is no longer affordable for many families.

In Kenya, 23 counties have seen significant price hikes topped by Mandera at 400 per cent and Garissa by 260 per cent compared to January 2021.

In Ethiopia, the cost of water in June this year has doubled in Oromia and increased by 50 per cent in Somali compared to the onset of the drought in October 2021.

In Somalia, average water prices climbed 85 per cent in South-Mudug, and 55 and 75 per cent respectively in Buurhakaba and Ceel Berde, compared to prices in January 2022.

More than 2.8 million children across both regions are already suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which means they are up to 11 times more at risk of dying from water-borne diseases than well-nourished children.

In Somalia, outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea and cholera have been reported in almost all drought-affected districts, with the 8,200 cases reported between January and June, more than double the number of cases reported during the same period last year.

Almost two-thirds of those affected are children under the age of five. Between June 2021 and June 2022, UNICEF and partners treated more than 1.2 million cases of diarrhoea in children under the age of five in the worst drought-hit regions of Ethiopia – Afar, Somalia, SNNP and Oromia. In Kenya, over 90 per cent of open water sources – such as ponds and open wells – in drought-affected areas are either depleted or dried up, posing serious risk of disease outbreak.

Across the Sahel, water availability has also dropped by more than 40 per cent in the last 20 years due to climate change and complex factors such as conflict, putting millions of children and families at increased risk of waterborne diseases. Just last year, West and Central Africa marked the region’s worst cholera outbreak in the last six years, including 5,610 cases and 170 deaths in Central Sahel.

UNICEF is providing life-saving aid and resilient multisectoral services to children and their families in dire need across the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, including improving access to climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services, drilling for reliable sources of groundwater and developing the use of solar systems, identifying and treating children with malnutrition, and scaling up prevention services.

UNICEF’s appeal to improve families’ long-term resilience in the Horn of Africa region – and stop drought devastating lives for years to come – is currently just 3 per cent funded. Of that, almost no money has been received for the section devoted to water, sanitation and climate resilience. The appeal for the Central Sahel region to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families with water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes is only 22 per cent funded.

“Imagine having to choose between buying bread or buying water for a hungry, thirsty child who is already sick, or between watching your child suffer from extreme thirst or letting them drink contaminated water that can cause killer diseases,” said Russell. “Families across drought-impacted regions are being forced into impossible choices. The only way to stop this crisis is for governments, donors, and the international community to step up funding to meet children’s most acute needs, and provide long-term flexible support to break the cycle of crisis.”

Notes to editors:

Water security capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socioeconomic development, for ensuring protection against waterborne pollution and water-related disasters, and for preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability. Water insecurity occurs when any or all of these needs cannot be met.

Water vulnerability relates to physical water scarcity risks (baseline water stress; inter and seasonal variability; groundwater decline and droughts) and the water service level.

Sources include WASH cluster reports, vendors, and anecdotal evidence from affected communities.

Source: UN Children’s Fund

Address by Deputy President David Mabuza at the Female Farmer’s Dialogue in Thaba Nchu, Free State Province

Programme Director,

Premier of the Free State Province, Ms Sisi Ntombela,

Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, Ms Thoko Didiza,

Members of the Free State Executive Council,

Director-General, Mr Kopung Ralikontsane and other Senior Officials,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


The role of women in society

We thank you Premier Ntombela for the invitation to us to join the people of the Free State province on this launch of the provincial women’s month. This month gives us an opportunity to honestly reflect on progress we have made in the struggle for the total emancipation of women, and deepening gender equality.

It also allows us to envision and shape new solutions to resolve social challenges confronting society, and women in particular, so that we ensure gender equality is achieved.

We take pride in being part of this dialogue, which is meant to create an opportunity of sharing insights, ideas, and experiences on the issues that are critical for the development of our society, especially women.

We also take time to celebrate the leadership contribution of women in the struggle for liberation to build a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society.

It was during this month 66 years ago, at the height of apartheid rule, when the powerful voices of 20 000 women reverberated through the streets of Pretoria marching in defiance against a brutal regime that sought to use discriminatory pass laws to undermine their dignity.

Their efforts took our country a step further towards building an equal society. Their chant “Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo” symbolised the courage, strength, and resilience of these brave women in the fight for freedom and the emancipation of all women.

Because of their bravery, we have moved from a history where women suffered oppression based on their gender to one where gender equality is a constitutional imperative.

Today women enjoy the same rights as their male counterparts. We shall always be indebted to them and remain inspired in the fight to make our nation better.

It is now in the hands of women of our generation to carry their legacy and strive to overcome our challenges. That is why we condemn in strongest terms, any acts of violence and abuse against women.

The freedoms we attained in 1994, are for every South African irrespective of race, gender and ethnicity.  It is unacceptable that one in five women have experienced violence at the hands of their partners, and that women are raped and killed at the hands of men.

We are saddened by the recently reported acts of rape and criminality perpetrated against women and young girls in many parts of our country. Gender-based violence has no place in our society.

As communities, we should stand and work together to get rid of this moral decay in our society.

We celebrate every woman who has had to grab the sharpest end of the knife to make sacrifices, endure hardships, raise children, and make a contribution to the development of our society.

Without doubt, women have always been the backbone of our society.

A Dialogue for solutions

For any society to thrive, it must empower women across all facets of development, and ensure that women and girl children have access to quality education, health and economic opportunities for self-advancement.

We are delighted that our dialogue today will centre around how we create an enabling environment for the meaningful participation of women in agriculture to contribute to economic growth, employment and food security.

It behoves us to address artificial barriers that engender the exclusion of women from the agricultural sector across the entire value chain.

We must enhance our practical measures and interventions to provide holistic support to women farmers in order increase agricultural production and impact on economic growth, food security and employment.

Our integrated support to women in this sector must unlock land availability, mechanisation support, funding, training, access to markets and the introduction of new technologies for modern farming.

As government, we will continue to make resources available to support women farmers.

We must therefore invest more in providing training, research and technological innovation to support those wanting to enter the agricultural sector.

We must encourage young people to enrol in agriculture colleges and universities to acquire necessary skills. We must do more to support black women farmers and young girls in order to capacitate them to unleash their potential.

We are aware that access to funding poses a major challenge. For those women looking to start a business in the agricultural sector, it is even more of a challenge, with many struggling to gain access to financial assistance to start their enterprises because they often have no assets to put up as necessary surety.

We need to ensure that we work with the private sector to develop, and make available innovative financing instruments to support farmers. In this dialogue, government will be able to share some of the funding opportunities available to support women farmers.

In terms of key infrastructure required for successful agriculture, government will continue to assist with the provision of bulk water and irrigation infrastructure, as well as logistics and storage infrastructure.

Accelerating Land Reform to Benefit Women

As we celebrate this women’s month, we must also be cognisant of challenges such as food insecurity. The main threat to food security are increasing food prices, increasing demand for food, and limitations of farming land availability.

Access to land for current and prospective women farmers remains one of the key priorities of government’s land reform programme. Government has introduced proactive measures to ensure that beneficiary selection criteria focus on enhancing women ownership of land

When women own the land, they make it productive; families tend to be better fed, better educated, and healthier.

We have already commenced with the allocation of state owned land to beneficiaries in need of agricultural land. Through our Land Reform Programme, we are re-allocating the land to the landless, labour tenants, farm workers, and emerging farmers for productive uses to improve their livelihoods and quality of life.

As government, we will continue to collaborate across the three spheres to coordinate our support better, and ensure that all post-settlement programmes are well coordinated, integrated and effective.

We do this because we know that the productive utilisation of land in communal areas is key to effective rural development. In the main, agriculture sustains economic activities and livelihoods in rural communities. We must find ways to support agricultural enterprises to drive the agenda of rural development

It is for this reason that we must have dialogues such as this, in order to chart a way forward on how we can increase agricultural productivity by broadening the participation of more women in farming.

We must all come together and follow the example of African Farmers Association of South Africa to accelerate agrarian reform and to bring the marginalised poor into the economic mainstream.

While guaranteeing the long-term viability of the agricultural sector in South Africa, AFASA has achieved noteworthy strides in commercializing the nation’s emerging agricultural sector and facilitating the meaningful engagement of black people in mainstream commercial agribusiness.

We need to develop strategies on how we can ensure a better legal framework that will ensure access and equity in the distribution of land for farming.

On our part as government, we will continue to accelerate land reform to drive socio-economic transformation and redress past imbalances in land ownership.

By working together, through dialogue and collaboration, we will be able to transform this sector and our communities for the better.

As we grow agriculture and promote rural development, we have enjoined partnerships with traditional leaders to find ways of investing in rural infrastructure and service delivery. We will work with traditional leaders to ensure that women farmers are adequately supported.

We promise that, as part of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Traditional Leadership, we will visit the Province again to engage with traditional leaders on various matters of concern.

Integrated Support to Small Scale Farmers and Cooperatives

To address the challenges of hunger, unemployment, poverty and inequality, we need to support small scale farms, particularly women-owned farms.

There is much evidence in the economic literature that small-scale farms play a crucial role in the functioning of any economy as creators of jobs.

Our nation’s history is full of instances when the support given to white-owned small businesses by the previous administration helped a number of businesses grow into well-known enterprises. In the same category, we have agricultural cooperatives that have developed into well-known companies both domestically and abroad.

This indicates that the people are not simply disinterested in improving their lot in life and raising themselves up by their own bootstraps. Instead, it indicates that they require assistance in order to give life to their ideas and so contribute to the growth of our economy and the creation of jobs for the unemployed.

We need young women farmers to receive necessary training and support to become commercial farmers. It is possible. It can be done.

When more women use available land productively, our country produces more for both domestic and international export markets. Government has programmes to support farmers with the necessary production capacity to supply external markets. We will continue to open channels for local farmers to supply international markets

Equally, our domestic market has opportunities for increased participation by all farmers, and women farmers in particular.

Unlocking economic opportunities through government nutrition programs in schools, hospitals, and correctional centres is one of the important initiatives to increase the participation of women. This will allow the agriculture sector to expand and support cooperatives and small-scale farming enterprises.

This will motivate these agricultural women to take the lead in producing and supplying the government with fresh produce and related commodities. More prospects for job creation result from the expansion of such support, which gives individuals looking for work hope.

We commend the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that through conditional Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme have prioritised women-targeted projects and funded them for the financial year 2022/23.

The handover of agricultural support packages to women farmers today is a hope we need to give to women.

It is a hope that our society needs to prosper.

It is what we all need to do to support and empower women.

Through this programme we are increasing the creation of wealth in the communal and farming communities. We are reducing poverty and hunger.

We are committed to walking this journey with you by ensuring that the work you do is effectively supported.

I thank you.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

Film experts from ‘The Micheaux Mission’ podcast pick the summer’s best movies

Published by
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — Two men. One podcast. Every Black movie. That’s the tag line for Philadelphia-based movie buffs’ Len Webb and Vincent Williams’ popular podcast, “The Micheaux Mission.” Named after Oscar Micheaux, the early 20th century Black indie screenwriter, considered the first Black film maker, “The Micheaux Mission” offers listeners funny and insightful reviews of the acting, directing, storylines, and cinematic worthiness of Black movies. Each month more than 15,000 “missionaries” — from Mount Airy to Australia — download the show. This week’s podcast takes on the 1995 Will Smith and Mar… Continue reading “Film experts from ‘The Micheaux Mission’ podcast pick the summer’s best movies”

Prix Genre et Médias 2022 : « Que les médias soient sensibles aux violences basées sur le genre »

L’association des femmes journalistes au Burundi (AFJO) a décerné le Prix Genre et Médias à cinq journalistes dont une du Journal Iwacu, ce mardi 10 mai. La ministre chargée des médias en appelle à plus de professionnalisme dans le traitement des sujets sur les violences basées sur le genre.

Les productions soumises à l’AFJO pour le concours Prix Genre et Médias de cette année portaient sur la lutte contre les violences basées sur le genre. Seules 5 sur 47 productions journalistiques ont été primées dans toutes les catégories : radio, télévision, presse écrite et presse en ligne.

En plus de Clarisse Shaka, journaliste au Groupe de Presse Iwacu, primée dans la catégorie presse écrite, 2 journalistes ont reçu les prix dans la catégorie radio, un dans la catégorie télévision et un autre dans la presse en ligne.
« Il faut que les médias et les journalistes travaillent sur des sujets qui intègrent le genre, surtout ceux qui luttent contre les violences basées sur le genre », interpelle Diane Ndonse, présidente de l’AFJO. Selon elle, les violences basées sur le genre sont un problème fréquent dans la société burundaise et un obstacle au développement.

Elle soutient qu’un homme ou une femme torturée ne peut pas s’engager dans une activité de développement : « Les moyens de l’Etat qui devraient contribuer au développement du pays sont plutôt utilisés dans la prise en charge des victimes de ces violences ».

Pour la présidente de l’AFJO, traiter des sujets sur ces violences aide à dénoncer les auteurs et à éduquer la société : « Cela permet aussi aux décideurs de mettre en place des lois ou appliquer des lois déjà existantes pour lutter contre ces violences ».

Pour la ministre de la Communication, des Technologies de l’Information et des Médias, Léocadie Ndacayisaba, quand on parle du genre dans les médias, il faut comprendre l’équité entre les hommes et les femmes dans la collecte et le traitement de l’information : « Les femmes et les hommes des médias doivent être traités équitablement dans leur profession journalistique. Il faut qu’il y ait aussi un équilibre du genre dans l’information traitée ».
Elle se réjouit que certains médias et organes de presse prennent déjà en compte la question du genre dans la collecte et le traitement de l’information.

Selon elle, primer les meilleures productions sur la thématique liée à lutte contre les violences basées sur le genre, c’est faire un clin d’œil aux professionnels des médias, hommes et femmes, pour que leur travail quotidien s’intéresse aux questions du genre.

La ministre en charge de la Communication et des Médias appelle les médias à traiter des informations relatives aux violences basées sur le genre de façon professionnelle.

Source: IWACU Burundi