Aslam Saja is a disaster management practitioner/humanitarian worker by training and profession. He has been working in the humanitarian/disaster management profession for the past 10 years. He completed his Master’s degree in Disaster Management and currently in his mid-stage of PhD studies in social resilience to disasters at Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Professional experience: He worked for one of the world largest humanitarian donor, Humanitarian aid department of European Commission (ECHO) – Sri Lanka & Maldives in Colombo (2010-13), where he monitored the implementation of projects in the humanitarian and disaster preparedness sector in Sri Lanka, mainly in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Before joining ECHO, Saja worked as Resource Development Manager and then as Project Manager of Learning Support & Capacity Building Program of RedR UK in Sri Lanka, which was set up to, respond to the learning needs of the post tsunami as well as post-conflict recovery programs (2005-10).
Expertise: In addition to have managed the RedR Program, Saja has been delivering several training courses as lead trainer and his focus areas include Emergency Management, Community Participatory Approaches, right based approaches in humanitarian and community development and Project Cycle Management (PCM). Saja has also participated in several international and regional trainings. He is a registered professional member of RedR UK and accredited RedR Associate Trainer and has delivered more than 50 trainings as a lead trainer. His areas of expertise include Disaster Management, Project and Grant Management, Monitoring and Evaluation and Community Participatory Practices in addition to Training and Facilitation. He also lectures several general management subjects in private institutes as well as, recently in certificate course in Disaster Management at the University of Colombo.
Volunteering: His involvement in community development as a volunteer/social worker with several community based organizations and National NGOs since 1999, motivated him to lead the 2004 Tsunami relief operation in Ampara district worked in multi donor relief projects of INGOs, Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies and other bilateral agencies. This valuable experience has made him to start his professional career in the humanitarian and development sector in Sri Lanka.
Awards: He also passed Project Management for Development Professionals Level 1 Examination. He is also currently an international fellow at Humanitarian Innovation Initiative (HI2) at Brown University, USA, Young Scientist at IRDR, China, and Community Solutions Fellow (IREX/Field Ready, USA).
International exposure: He has attended more than 25 international and regional conferences held in 15 countries across South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, Australia, United States and Europe. Saja was trained extensively on disaster management, humanitarian response and rights based approaches and PCM during his time with RedR. In 2015, Saja received two international grants from Brown University, USA. He continues to research on post-conflict issues in Sri Lanka including disaster risk management, gender, community participation, capacity building of CBOs and right based approaches. He successfully completed a Youth Innovation Challenge program recently, served as a program advisor for a Youth Empowerment Grant from US Embassy – Colombo.
Social innovations: He established Foundation for Social Development (FSD) Sri Lanka to serve the marginalized and vulnerable community across Sri Lanka, currently has programs in the Eastern part of Sri Lanka. He also was a founding member of Uth Creative Action Network (UCAN) with the group of youth from Ampara district of Sri Lanka.
See www.aslamsaja.com for more recent updates.