Today is Australia’s national day of mourning for the losses suffered during and after the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires. The theme of the service of remembrance was ‘coming together’ to remember, to mourn and to give thanks to the 1000s who have, are and will contribute to the emergency and the recovery. The Australian people as one celebrated the courage, the compassion and the resilience shown by so many.
One tiny detail of the ecumenical ceremony that highlighted the joining together of the community in the face of adversity occurred as the group of religious leaders left the podium, a Uniting Church Pastor offered his arm in friendship to help an elderly Muslim Imam make a dignified and safe exit down the steps. Adversity often brings out the best in people and organisations, encouraging them to put aside differences and join together for the good of the community.
After the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, the Australian Institute of Project Management and the PMI Melbourne Chapter joined together to support the establishment of Project Aid. Project Aid (PA) is focused on training and mentoring people working for ‘not for profit’ organisations in the basics of effective project management. PA’s role is focused on knowledge transfer and skills development to help disaster relief and aid agencies to do their job better, not on becoming another agency in the field.
The original focus of PA was almost exclusively to support Australia’s aid agencies working overseas. Following the ‘Black Saturday’ Victorian Bush Fire Disaster, PA will expand its work to provide Project Management assistance to relief organisations to help them deliver their outcomes and through them, to help the 1000s of small and mediums sized businesses and community groups that will need project management expertise to rebuild, refocus and survive the aftermath of the fires.
It’s early days but if PA is to succeed in its aims, there will be a significant need for volunteers and increased funding to help make a positive contribution. PMI, AIPM and PA volunteers have already met and are working to deliver a focused program that will make a positive contribution. To follow our progress and contribute, watch for details on the PA web site at http://www.projectaid.org