Helping communities and businesses rebuild after disaster

Priyadarshi (PD) Pandey – Assistant Area Sales and Customer Manager based in Delhi – was named one of Unilever’s 2015 Heroes in recognition of his life-saving actions and pioneering business spirit.

When floods hit the Kashmir region in September 2014 – killing hundreds and causing widespread disruption to infrastructure – PD set about ensuring the safety of every member of his team before rebuilding the ability of retailers and local partners to keep their businesses going.

“There was no communication, no transportation. The biggest challenge was to save the lives of the people,” says PD, who enlisted the help of army helicopters, and teams of boats and vehicles. “Stocks were damaged and wholesalers weren’t able to pay because their money was stuck in the retail markets. We provided help for them to stand up and recover.”

Ground-breaking initiative

PD recently travelled to the Philippines – another part of the world that suffers from devastating natural disasters – to visit a programme being delivered by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, in partnership with Unilever.

Developed by Save the Children, the Academy globally is a ground-breaking initiative, aiming to revolutionise how the world responds to emergencies and disasters by training the next generation of humanitarian leaders and responders, particularly those located in the most crisis-affected countries and communities.

Together we are training 1,000 business leaders from small and medium-sized enterprises – both within and beyond our supply chain in the Philippines – on how to best prepare for emergencies, increase their resilience, and enable them to get back up and running quickly following a crisis. This is crucial to minimising the cost and impact of disasters on our customers and consumers, as well as on our business and the communities in which we operate.

“It’s a great partnership, built around participation and outstanding execution” says PD. “The next step is to give this greater scale and reach even more people.”

In partnership with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, our vision is to develop a replicable model that can be rolled out in different countries where needed, ultimately enhancing the livelihoods of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, while minimising the risks our business faces.

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