US, Indian institutions to create curriculum on infrastructure resilience: USAID administrator

Washington: Educational institutions of higher learning in India and the United States are working to create a curriculum on infrastructure resilience, Samantha Power, Administrator for the USAID, said on Monday.

“We are going to be working with universities like Virginia Tech and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to create a curriculum on infrastructure resilience, offer certification courses for infrastructure management and support research that is focused on infrastructure resilience,” Power said in her address to the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure’s (CDRI) Governing Council meeting.

Last year, Power had announced a USD 5 million commitment to establish a partnership between American and Indian institutions of higher education. On Monday, Power handed over the co-chairmanship of the Governing Council and Executive Committee to France, represented by Ambassador Aurelian Lechevallier.

Power said these kinds of education, fellowship, scholarship, training and certification investments are ones that have ripple effects for generations to come — as people get schooled and trained, and come out and bring their training to bear within governments, in the private sector and beyond.

Through programmes like the CDRI Fellowship Programme, fellows around the world are leading efforts to innovate solutions that are addressing real problems in the here and now, she said.

“For example, in Australia and Sri Lanka, CDRI fellows engineered a groundbreaking fibre optic sensor system to detect water pressures and ground movements in real time. This, of course, helps get earlier warnings out for potential disasters like landslides, so this can be a complete lifesaver,” Power said.

“In India, CDRI fellows are pairing satellite data with crowd-sourced information on flooding patterns from the citizens who are experiencing floods, to improve, again, flood prediction models and give communities the early warning they need to stay safer. We want and need to see more of this innovation around the world, we need to see the solutions that work…. And we need to see those solutions spread to more places,” she added.