PhD Scholar, Queensland University of Technology
Aslam Saja is an Engineer by education and humanitarian worker for 7 years. He completed his post graduate degree in Disaster Management. He is attached to the faculty of Engineering, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka as a Lecturer. He is currently a PhD student at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia on disaster resilience.
He worked for world largest humanitarian donor, Humanitarian aid department of European Commission (ECHO) - Sri Lanka & Maldives in Colombo in the past, where he monitored the implementation of projects in the humanitarian and disaster preparedness (DIPECHO) in Sri Lanka, mainly 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 Programme of RedR UK in Sri Lanka, which was set up to, respond to the learning needs of the post tsunami recovery and conflict recovery programmes.
In addition to have managed the RedR Programme, Saja has been delivering several training courses as lead trainer and his focus areas include Emergency Preparedness and Management, Risk Management, Community Participatory Approaches and Project Management. Saja has also participated in several international and regional trainings. He is a registered professional member of RedR UK and accredited RedR Associate Trainer.
His involvement in community development as a volunteer/social worker with several community based organisations 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.
His areas of expertise include Disaster Management, Project and Grant Management, Monitoring and Evaluation and community participatory practices. 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. He also passed Project Management for Development Professionals Level 1 Examination.
He has attended more than 20 international and regional conferences held in 10 countries across South Asia, South East Asia, Australia, United States and Europe. Saja was trained extensively on disaster risk reduction, humanitarian response, humanitarian standards and all aspects of managing projects in humanitarian response during his time with RedR. Saja was instrumental in founding the UCAN - a youth initiative of Youth Creative Action Network in Sri Lanka, as a successful follow up of Youth Innovation Challenge program funded by US Embassy. He continues to research on post-conflict issues in Sri Lanka including disaster risk management, gender, community participation, capacity building of community based organizations and water, sanitation and hygiene, early warning and humanitarian standards. He is also an international fellow of Humanitarian Innovation Initiative at Browns University, USA and Member of Young Scientist Program of Integrated Research on Disaster Risk, China.
Key research Interests: risk-sensitive development, disaster resilience, social resilience, community participation