Anita has a knack for starting from scratch. As a masters’ candidate at Yale, she initiated the School of Forestry and the Environmental Studies’ first Center for Coastal and Watershed Systems. And when she saw the need and opportunity for WWF to build relationships with humanitarian aid organizations to reduce disaster risk and vulnerability, she stepped up to start the organization’s humanitarian partnership work.
Anita works with local and global humanitarian aid agencies, including the American Red Cross, to ensure that WWF’s conservation work is applied to disaster recovery and reconstruction in areas such as those impacted by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. “By applying environmental conservation to humanitarian agendas, we can rebuild together to preserve both livelihoods and natural resources.” Today, with a more scaled up team, Anita is working with humanitarian aid and government institutional policy to advance green disaster recovery from an integrated human and environmental standpoint
The partnership with the American Red Cross has opened the eyes – and doors – of other agencies. “It’s a great day when you get that kind of acknowledgment – and when it creates more demand for a greener and more long lasting, disaster response,“ says Anita.
“By working together we can rebuild communities and the environment upon which they depend, to be stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient to future disasters.”