The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Kick-starts Junior Professionals Programme with ACHR in Southeast Asia

29 January 2013


This week the first class of the DPU/ACHR Junior Professionals Programme met in Bangkok along with Dr. Camillo Boano, director of the MSc Building and Urban Design and Development, and various members of the Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR), and Community Architects Network (CAN). The partnership and initiative dates back to 2010 following the first of a series of field trips to Bangkok between the BUDD and UDP courses. Under the Junior Professional Programme, six DPU Alumni were awarded 6-month paid internships to work in several countries throughout Southeast Asia. These ex-students will experience on-the-job-training supporting the advancement and use of methodologies and tools in community-driven development, specifically working with organisations and community members. To kick-off the group worked with Somsook Boonyabancha (ACHR), Supawut Boonmahathanakorn and Chawanad Luansang (CAN coordinators) through a few days of induction, conversations and training before moving on to start their work in the areas of mapping, planning, design, management, recovery and rehabilitation of housing, land and settlement.

The six selected DPU Alumni are:

Johanna Brugman (UDP 2011-12 from Bogotá, Colombia) a planner experienced in State government and policy-making with interests in the development of participatory methodologies and community-led practices. Johanna will be working in Vietnam with the Association of Cities of Vietnam (ACVN), a partner organization of ACHR, and part of the Community Development Fund network. More specifically, the work will unfold at the Hung Hoa commune housing project with support from ACCA, serving as a model for other communities and cities in Vietnam;

Barbara Dovarch (BUDD 2008-2009 from Sardinia), a sociologist specialising in community development within urban design and planning with experience in Kenya, India, Brazil and Chile and also a former teaching assistant/field workshop coordinator at the School of Architecture and Urban Design in Alghero, Italy will join Johanna in Vietnam;

Sarah Ahmad (BUDD 2011-12 from Lahore, Pakistan) who has an urban studies background and currently lives and works in Lahore dealing with urban housing policy and community outreach. Sarah will work in the Philippines with The Philippines Alliance which is committed to supporting slum dwellers on construction projects in their communities. The work will support the Alliance in strengthening communities through initiatives that may include data collection, mapping and participatory planning and mostly take place in NCR, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Bicol, and Mindanao regions;

Zahra Kassam (UDP 2011-12 from Nairobi, Kenya) who has a background in Business Enterprise and accounting with experience working in UN-Habitat and for other volunteer projects involving local youth and capacity building in Nairobi will join Sarah in the Philippines;

Ariel Shepard (BUDD 2011-12 from Toronto, Canada) who has a background in architecture, planning and development with experience coordinating gardening and sustainable practice initiatives and currently specialises in land rights, housing welfare and community mobilization. Ariel will work in Indonesia with Ciliwung Merdeka an NGO focusing on education and the environment. The work there will involve efforts to strengthen the Ciliwung River community in the face of threatened eviction by the government and include data collection and mapping designed to match the existing participatory planning, developing and implementing process in other areas; and

Fransceso Pasta (BUDD 2011-12 from Italy) who has worked as an architect in Milano, Istanbul, and Florence and for an NGO in Diyarbakir,Turkey as well collaborating with the NGO Thinking Development on the design of a school in Haiti. Francesco will work in Cambodia with The Community Development Foundation (CDF) and ACHR country members on a citywide upgrading program involving work with a Community Development Fund. Its aim will be to enhance land and housing security, augment community welfare, both socially and environmentally and assist disaster projects in different provinces.

The programme promises to be a beneficial collaboration for all involved and more updates will follow here in the coming months.