Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Internship Program :: Center for Science and Technology Policy Research

About the internship program Application information Summer Placements Notes from the field


notes from the field

These field notes are personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

Kanmani Venkateswaran

Kanmani Venkateswaran

Lusaka, Zambia
May 11 – August 11

Linking science-based forecasts with humanitarian decisions

Executive Summary

Improving Flood Risk Management in Zambia prepared by Kanmani Venkateswaran

July 29, 2013

Mudenda explaining the timeline of the flood responseThe Zambian Red Cross (ZRC) conducted a flood response operation in Mumbwa in March this year using the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). This month, the ZRC was visited by Melanie, a disaster management delegate from the IFRC, Viggo, a representative from the British Red Cross, and Stanley, the Disaster Management Coordinator for the Southern African Zone, to conduct a review of the flood response and use of DREF funds. They were kind enough to let me take part in their meetings with the different stakeholders – this included meetings with the government’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), the Mumbwa District Commissioner’s office, World Vision (an NGO that partnered with the ZRC for the operation), Red Cross volunteers, and beneficiaries. Read more ...

July 8, 2013

Group work during the training session for Sikaunzwe and Kasaya volunteersI’ve been in the field for the past few weeks now, conducting trainings, overseeing data collection, meeting with communities, and so on. Other than this, I have definitely had some time for fun. I got to go to the Victoria Falls – it is more magnificent than pictures can depict. I then proceeded to bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe which is definitely the most horrifying thing I have ever done in my life. I was unconscious for the majority of the free fall, and only really came to when I was dangling upside-down, over the rapids and crocodiles of the Zambezi. Read more ...

June 4, 2013

Red Cross volunteers meet for an orientation in Zambia. CU grad student Kanmani Venkateswaran is working in Lusaka, Zambia, with the Zambian Red Cross to develop a community early-warning system for floods.I’ve been in Lusaka for almost 3 weeks now and I can definitely say that I’m quite settled down. I feel extremely lucky to be staying with a friend’s family here – they go out of their way to make sure that I’m comfortable and acclimating to Zambian culture. I’ve had the full tour of Lusaka, attended a Zulu dance performance (the dancers are so sassy!) and Zambian fashion show, seen crocodiles at Kalimba farms, learned to tie a chitenge (a traditional wrap-skirt), successfully haggled at the Sunday crafts market, and mastered the bus system. The biggest challenge so far has been the food. I quite like Nshima, the staple corn meal simmered in water. However, local dependence on meat means that my seven year old vegetarianism is quickly dying. Mudenda, my supervisor and the Zambian Red Cross’ Disaster Management Coordinator takes great delight in watching me try to eat around fish bones and cow hooves. Read more ...

May 16, 2013

Lusaka, ZambiaI have just arrived in Lusaka, Zambia for my work with the Zambian Red Cross. Lusaka has been wonderful so far. Even before I stepped out of the airport, I had built a support network of Zambians I had met during my journey from Boulder to Lusaka. Upon leaving the airport, I was greeted by Joanna from the Zambian Red Cross. She drove me from the airport to my friend’s house, all the while patiently navigating my barrage of excited questions about Lusaka. Looking out of the car window, I couldn’t help but notice how much parts of Lusaka looked and felt like parts of South India – the dusty roads, the hot and dry air, small businesses lining the sides of the roads, music blasting from corners, children walking to school, and women washing clothes outside their houses. I am so excited to start working with the Zambian Red Cross, learn more about Lusaka, and explore more of Zambia. Read more ...