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Forest Service delivers leadership training for Ethiopian disaster management partners

ETHIOPIA – From November 13-16, the USDA Forest Service implemented a disaster management course in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Emergency Management Leadership entitled “Managing and Leading at the Speed of Response.” Approximately 20 individuals participated from five different agencies within the City of Addis Ababa and Ethiopia’s federal government. The International Programs office conducted the training in partnership with and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

The course covered various components of leadership and management including personal leadership, mentoring and managing performance, leading teams, and increasing influence. The training included lecture-style lessons, as well as interactive scenarios based on recent humanitarian crises to engage the diverse training group. The participation and engagement from the participants was positive throughout the training, which is a testament to both the skill of the trainers and relevance of the content. One participant claimed that “as a Team Lead during emergencies, the modules provided [us] with the skills to show better leadership in times of crisis.”

The training team included a representative of International Programs’ Disaster Assistance Support Program and Chief Randy Johnson of the Spokane County Fire Department. Both trainers have extensive experience delivering this training to U.S. audiences and worked to contextualize the training content for Ethiopian participants. According to Brendan Manning, the U.S. Forest Service’s Disaster Management Advisor currently posted to Addis Ababa, “this training was a valuable opportunity for leaders in humanitarian and emergency response to share experiences and work on skill-building exercises to further build out competencies in critical incident leadership.” 

Since 2008, the Forest Service has partnered with USAID to provide technical assistance to the National Disaster Risk Management Commission and the Fire and Emergency Prevention and Rescue Authority of Ethiopia to enhance disaster management and build capacity in disaster response, training over 1000 emergency management specialists from six regions around the country. The program focuses on multi-agency coordination, emergency operations centers, the incident command system and comprehensive emergency preparedness and response planning.


USDA Forest Service trainers engage with participants during a training exercise. USDA Forest Service photo.

Group photo of training participants and USDA Forest Service trainers. USDA Forest Service photo.