Flood resilience is a complicated issue and tackling it demands a multi-stakeholder approach. In 2013, we launched a five-year global program to address this issue. This involved an initial investment of USD 35.6 million by the Z Zurich Foundation.
Our innovative approach brings together leading academic insights, humanitarian sector capabilities and our own skills to enhance communities’ resilience to flooding. It’s a strong alliance that focuses on demonstrating the benefits of reducing pre-event risks over post-event disaster relief. We also strive to improve public dialogue around this crucial issue.
Many of our employees put their skills and expertise to great use by participating in secondment projects. Here’s what Alessandro had to say about his international assignment.
“My Zurich secondment saw me travel to Nepal to work and learn as part of our flood resilience program. Working for Practical Action, a non-governmental organization based in Kathmandu, my challenge was to help them in their mission to reduce vulnerability to flooding, develop renewable energy and improve access to food and drinking water.
While I was there, I conducted a capacity audit so we could identify areas for improvement and build the team’s capabilities. That meant I got to see the team in action, and I was suitably impressed by what I saw. With just one initiative, they managed to increase rice farming productivity by 15 percent – without using chemical fertilizers.
I was lucky enough to visit heritage sites and the ancient palaces of Bhaktapur. And while they were amazing, unique experiences, the thing that moved me most was the tangible difference Practical Action makes to its communities.
It made me realize how little things can make a big difference; it really reinforced the notion that our actions have a major impact on people’s lives. Now that I’m back home, I see the parallels in my daily work – and I take great pride in the fact that Zurich contributes to such meaningful programs.”