The Disaster Risk Reduction Centre

About the DRRC

The Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (DRRC) emerged out of an initiative to mobilize expertise from the University of the West Indies (The UWI) to assist Caribbean countries devastated by hurricane in 2004. Vice Chancellor of The UWI, Professor E. Nigel Harris, a few weeks after assuming office, mobilized staff from the then three campuses into the UWI’s Hurricane Relief Task Force, to respond to the passage of Hurricane Ivan through the Caribbean.  Staff with expertise in disaster management and mitigation who volunteered to participate in the relief formed the Task Force.

The UWI, therefore, responded rapidly and effectively, with technical assistance to the worst affected island, Grenada. The University has since that time developed and expanded a database of Disaster Management technical expertise within the UWI. These experts are drawn from Earth Science, Health, Agriculture, Housing, Waste Management and Telecommunications, among other areas to respond to disasters in the region.

In response to the need for multidisciplinary training, research and technical expertise in disaster management and risk reduction within the Caribbean, a region prone to a range of risks, The UWI saw it necessary to establish the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre. The Centre supports the work of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the regional umbrella organization for Disaster Risk Management of CARICOM. The Centre offers a multidisciplinary integrated approach to training, research and the mobilization of expertise (outreach services) required by the Caribbean Disaster Risk Management community.

The Centre completed a five year Caribbean project, funded by Global Affairs Canada, which sought to strengthen resilience by Enhancing Knowledge and Application of Comprehensive Disaster Management (EKACDM) among stakeholders in the region. Part of the project was the development of post-graduate courses which will eventually lead to a web-based graduate degree programme. Other projects undertaken by the Centre included a Review of the Implementation of the Hyogo Framework in the Caribbean; a review of Jamaica’s Country document on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); an Evaluation of the Impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the region; and the Evaluation of Phase II of the Smart Health Care Facilities Project in the Caribbean.

The DRRC supports the UWI’s library in managing a fully equipped virtual library of disaster information: the Caribbean Disaster Information Network (CARDIN) - as a ready resource for practitioners in the field.

The Centre provides support to harness training, research, outreach and advisory services to nurture a more resilient Caribbean Region.

Vision Statement

To be a multi-disciplinary Centre of Excellence in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management in the Caribbean and globally, especially in Small Island States.

DRRC's Mission

  • Provide leadership that drives the rationalization, integration, and development of all initiatives in disaster risk reduction and disaster management within the University of the West Indies.
  • Mobilize resources, to supplement those provided by the University of the West Indies, to advance the university’s disaster management programme.
  • Develop partnerships and foster collaborative mechanisms that allow the University, its students and staff to maximize the effectiveness of their interventions in disaster management to advance sustainable development in the Caribbean region.

Governance Architecture

The governance architecture for DRRC seeks to involve diverse external stakeholders in the governance of a community driven university programme.  The governance system is anchored in four main organs.

The Advisory Board (AB) - This is the highest organ of the DRRC and will have responsibility for policy approval, strategy endorsement and budget approval.

The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) - The TAC provides technical oversight of the programme of the DRRC.

The Secretariat - The Secretariat will develop and implement the work programme of the DRRC.  It will be responsible for the coordination of the UWI wide policies and programmes for disaster management.  

Technical Working Groups (TWGs) - The TWGs are established as part of DRRC’s system of Working Groups and Thematic Networks to support the overall DRRC programming.  The TWGs will harness the skillsets of a group of subject matter experts from tertiary, professional, governmental and specialised institutions as well as the private sector and civil society to provide support for the development and review of products being led and/or produced by DRRC.   Technical Working Groups will engage in knowledge-management, joint analysis and joint programming as well as informs policies and strategic engagement towards resilience building.

The Director

Dr Evangeline Inniss- Springer, DHSc. CEM, CCM - Director of the UWI’s Disaster Risk Reduction Centre (DRRC).

Dr Evangeline Inniss- Springer, DHSc. CEM, CCM., is the new Director of the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, The University of the West Indies.   She replaces Dr Barbara Carby who has retired.                                                                                                                                                                           

Dr Inniss-Springer is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) and Certified Continuity Manager (CCM) with over 25 years’ experience in disaster risk management. She has received training in Emergency Management from the International Association of Emergency Managers and training in Business Continuity Management from the Institute for Business Continuity Training. She holds a Masters degree in Health Studies from the University of Alabama and a Doctor of Health Sciences from A.T Still University in Missouri with a focus on Leadership and Organisational Behaviour.

Dr Inniss-Springer has worked with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Department of Disaster Management in the British Virgin Islands (The BVI) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). 

Prior to assuming the post of Director at the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Dr Inniss-Springer served as Acting Director with the Department of Disaster Management in the BVI.  She also led the Social Sciences Unit of the agency that was responsible for translating science into action by developing and implementing policies and programmes aimed at building capacity in resilience and influencing behavioural change at the community level. Her responsibilities included integrating Comprehensive Disaster Management into all sectors.

In addition to her experience in disaster risk management, Dr Innis-Springer has a diverse background  of knowledge and experience in capacity development, leadership and strategic planning, work programme development and project management, statistical analysis, logistics supply management, proposal development and grant writing, total quality management and process analysis.