Practical Action and the Z Zurich Foundation have been partners for over a decade. The relationship started with a small grant to invest in a photocopier and has grown into a programme celebrated in the recent Terra Carta Impact Report, as part of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Market Initiative.
A multi sector partnership helping people to thrive despite floods
The Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance is a multi-sector partnership with members including research institutes, development and humanitarian actors, and the private sector is represented by the Zurich Insurance Group. Practical Action has been a member of the Alliance since 2013. As such, the organisation is currently working to enhance flood resilience in communities in six countries on three continents.
Floods impact more people across the globe every year than any other natural hazard. We know from the increasingly confident reports from the IPCC and from the people we work with in communities who have lived with floods for generations that climate change is making things much worse.
Practical Action’s flood resilience work
Practical Action work closely with communities in Nepal, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Peru, and Bolivia using an innovative approach developed by the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance to help them understand the extent of their current resilience to floods and collaboratively identify actions that will enhance it over time.
We have decades of experience developing effective flood early warning systems, together with communities we protect and restore nature, we support people to pursue resilient livelihoods, and through the Flood Resilience Portals we share our experience and expertise with others.
Z Zurich Foundation’s adaptive management approach
One of the things that makes the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance different from many other programmes is the role that the private sector plays in this partnership.
The Z Zurich Foundation funds the programme, the funding partners like Practical Action receive is long term and it’s flexible. The funding is based on desired outcomes rather than pre-determined outputs. Alliance members have the freedom to design activities based on what each community wants and needs, and to adapt our programmes as our understanding of these needs evolve.
We were all impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and lock-downs around the world meant we couldn’t engage directly with the communities we work with. They faced extreme challenges during this period and the flexibility and trust shown by the Foundation was instrumental in allowing us to adapt and enable communities to ‘ride out the storm’ comparatively well whilst staying on track to achieve our ultimate goals.
More than a private sector donor – a partner
The Z Zurich Foundation funds eight of the nine Alliance members, the exception is Zurich Insurance Group which is also an active partner in the Alliance and equally responsible for achieving our ambitious goals, bringing valuable skills, experiences, and connections to help us do so.
It’s this innovative approach to partnership, where the private sector plays a vital role in achieving a more sustainable future, that is at the centre of the Terra Carta case study published earlier this week.