Monday, February 12, 2018

PAID Internship Opportunities (5). D.C. HSEMA. Deadline: April 29, 2018

APPLY.  DO IT!  Advise a relative or friend to ‘Just Do It’!

For other cities check for intern positions in emergency management, and resiliency offices. 

You just may make that change needed.

Charles D. Sharp.  CEO BEMA International


The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) manages and coordinates the District’s unified prevention, protection, response, mitigation, and recovery efforts for all disasters, whether natural or man-made, that occur in the City. The HSEMA is an industry leader having developed a flagship District Preparedness System (DPS) which serves a model across the nation. The DPS is the cornerstone of the District’s preparedness activities designed to achieve our shared goal: the safety and resilience of our City. As an intern you will have the opportunity to support the DPS by developing products and working within a dynamic environment during real world incidents and planned events.

HSEMA is looking for highly-skilled and motivated undergraduate and graduate students that are interested in the homeland security and emergency management field to learn how to apply homeland security and emergency management practices to protect life, property, and the environment. In particular, HSEMA is looking for students interested in or majoring in the following fields:

·        Emergency Management/Homeland Security
·        Applied Mathematics
·        Applied Statistics
·        Governmental Affairs
·        Information Technology/Computer Science
·        Business/Public Administration/Policy
·        Public Communication/Relations
·        Urban Planning
·        Adult Education/ Curriculum Development/ Instructional Design

1.     Information Technology Bureau

Paid Internship Opportunity – Information Technology Bureau
Duration of Internship: May 21, 2018- August 10, 2018
Compensation: Stipend

Position With: Information Technology (IT) Bureau

Description of Opportunity
The Information Technology (IT) Bureau is the technology support service of HSEMA. The agency uses a variety of technologies including computer systems, radio and telecommunications, closed circuit television, other audiovisual systems, and mobile command vehicles. Successful candidates will be part of an experienced team of IT Professionals and will provide assistance in various functions of the IT department working with the lead IT specialist on ad-hoc research requests, troubleshooting, asset management and mapping within the agency.

A) Demonstrated interest in emergency management and homeland security issues
B) Excellent organizational skills
C) Demonstrated problem-solving skills
D) Must be a highly motivated self-starter
E) Command of Microsoft Office Suite

2.    Mission Support Division
Paid Internship Opportunity – Mission Support Division
Duration of Internship: May 21, 2018- August 10, 2018
Compensation: Stipend

Position With: Mission Support Division

Description of Opportunity
A. Assist with the development of HSEMA’s Finance and Human Resources Bureaus Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
B. Assist with the development of Finance and Administrative training curriculum and materials
C. Assist with audits as needed

A. Demonstrated interest in budget, finance and/or human resources within the public sector
B. Excellent written and oral communication skills
C. Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

3.    Operations Division
Paid Internship Opportunity – Operations Division
Duration of Internship: May 21, 2018- August 10, 2018
Compensation: Stipend

Position With: Operations Division

Description of Opportunity
The Operations Division maintains situational awareness, coordinates emergency response by providing logistical and resource support, disseminates emergency notifications to internal response agencies and the pubic and participates in field operations to coordinate incident response, mitigation, and recovery support for District and Federal agencies during special events. Manages the citywide Joint All-Hazards Operation Center (JAHOC). Successful candidates will be asked to complete a series of tasks over the course of their internship as defined by the Chief of Operations. Emergency Management related training will be provided as well as guidance and mentorship opportunities.”

A. Demonstrated interest in emergency management
B. Strong written and oral communications skills
C. Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

4.    Policy and Legislative Affairs Bureau
Paid Internship Opportunity – Policy and Legislative Affairs Bureau
Duration of Internship: May 21, 2018 – August 10, 2018
Compensation: Stipend

Position With: Policy and Legislative Affairs Bureau

Description of Opportunity
The Policy and Legislative Affairs Bureau develops agency policies and procedures, provides administrative support to the Homeland Security Commission, and provides legislative guidance and expertise.
Successful candidates will research laws and policies and assist with drafting policies for internal agency purposes. Additional tasks as assigned may include assisting the Bureau with research on emergency preparedness best practices, upcoming legislative issues, and other duties as required.

A. Those with prior policy writing experience are preferred; an interest in policy writing is required
B. Excellent written and oral communications skills required (must be able to speak to communicate specific, sometimes complex ideas to both supervisors and District constituents)
C. Close attention to detail
D. Interpersonal skills and ability to collaborate with a team
E. Ability to take excellent meeting notes and strong editing and proofreading skills
F. Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
G. Demonstrated interest in emergency management and homeland security issues is preferred but not required

5.    Preparedness Division
Paid Internship Opportunity – Preparedness Division
Duration of Internship: May 21, 2018- August 10, 2018
Compensation: Stipend

Position: Internship with the Preparedness Division (PD)

Description of Opportunity: The Preparedness Division facilitates a systematic process that promotes a “whole-community’’ approach to all-hazards preparedness planning in the District. This primarily involves instituting and maintaining standardized systems that support the actions required to develop strategic, operational, and tactical plans that address all-hazard within the prevention/ protection, response, recovery, and mitigation mission areas. Successful candidates will be part of an experienced team of homeland security and emergency management professionals who are committed to promoting resiliency in government agencies, our communities, and critical infrastructure. As part of their assigned tasks, selected interns will conduct research; collect, collate, edit, audit, and analyze data; conduct queries and generate reports; develop, review, socialize, and evaluate plans, initiatives, and the program; and perform general administrative tasks. Interns will have the opportunity to deploy to the City’s Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) during incidents, planned events, and exercises to support operations. Interns will also be required to complete a suite of industry related courses delivered by HSEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and regional partners.

A. Demonstrated interest in emergency management and homeland security issues or related field
B. Excellent written and oral communications skills required
C. Must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
D. Demonstrated proficiency in research, analysis, and creative thinking


 *Interns may be asked to work outside of normal business hours including weekends and holidays

To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, one (1) writing sample (max. eight (8) pages) and one(1) letter of recommendation to indicating the particular Internship Opportunity being applied for in the email subject line by Sunday April 29,2018

NOTE: Applicants must be US citizens and are subject to a background check

Water Security. Water Recycling

Water Recycling and Reuse: The Environmental Benefits

What Is Water Recycling?

Recycle: verb
1.   a. To recover useful materials from garbage or waste
b. To extract and reuse.
While recycling is a term generally applied to aluminum cans, glass bottles, and newspapers, water can be recycled as well. Water recycling is reusing treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as agricultural and landscape irrigation, industrial processes, toilet flushing, and replenishing a ground water basin (referred to as ground water recharge). Water recycling offers resource and financial savings. Wastewater treatment can be tailored to meet the water quality requirements of a planned reuse. Recycled water for landscape irrigation requires less treatment than recycled water for drinking water. No documented cases of human health problems due to contact with recycled water that has been treated to standards, criteria, and regulations have been reported.

Water is sometimes recycled and reused onsite. For example, when an industrial facility recycles water used for cooling processes. A common type of recycled water is water that has been reclaimed from municipal wastewater, or sewage. The term water recycling is generally used synonymously with water reclamation and water reuse.

Another type of recycled water is "gray water".Gray water, or gray water, is reusable wastewater from residential, commercial and industrial bathroom sinks, bath tub shower drains, and clothes washing equipment drains.  Gray water is reused onsite, typically for landscape irrigation.  Use of non toxic and low-sodium (no added sodium or substances that are naturally high in sodium) soap and personal care products is required to protect vegetation when reusing gray water for irrigation. National Science Foundation (NSF) International has established a wastewater treatment task group on onsite residential and commercial gray water treatment systems. They have developed a draft new standard – NSF 350 – Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems.  This standard encompasses residential wastewater treatment systems (similar to the scope of VSF/ANSI Standards 40 and 245) along with systems that treat only the gray water portion. For more information visit the NSF website Exiting EPA (disclaimer).  EPA and CDC brought together agency and academic experts to explore the science available for addressing high-priority regional needs in the areas of: 

·        Gray water exposure risk to humans and ecosystems;
·        risk management options for gray water;
·        water scarcity,

·        and trends in water use. 



“Pro Poor Governance” February 11, 2018. Morris Koffa. African Environmental Watch

“Pro Poor Governance” Should Align with Pro Environmental and Disaster Management/Mitigation Initiatives

“Pro-poor governance,” as asserted by H.E. President George Weah, could better be described as a buzz phrase that brings much excitement not only to the marginalized population and communities in Liberia, but it also certainly does provide hope for many in the environmental and disaster management advocacy communities. It further demonstrates a major paradigm shift of what has been a national neglect of critical social issues by past administrations. Such a national neglect has affected vast segments of Liberians whose livelihoods have been impacted for decades. Poor environmental and unmitigated disaster conditions are recipes for poor health and deter potential self-driven human growth. 

Accordingly, this paper addresses two critical issues: the environment and disaster management because they are inextricably linked to social issues in the country. Poor environmental conditions can lead to hazardous problems, which can lead to disaster. Disastrous events, too, can lead to poor environmental conditions. 

There have been environmental and disaster management advocacy groups in Liberia lamenting the continued peril of the human environment and disaster unmitigated communities whose residents are being impacted, but receiving very little attention from the national government. With this buzz phrase, “pro-poor governance,” it is worth repeating that the critical issues of the environment, weak disaster management protocols, and the susceptible living conditions of the ordinary people still remain major threats, and cannot be ignored. They must form an integral part of programs of human development that drive positive social change for residents to realize their full potential. There is no way to get around it.

Those critical issues must be part of the formation and implementation of any development programs for numerous communities and the nation.

Poor environmental conditions and eventful disaster onslaughts, such as floods and other hazardous conditions, have denied most residents the needed opportunities to thrive and excel; hence, they cannot adequately contribute to the much-needed national economic growth and social integration. “Pro-poor governance” comes with commitment and honest responsibility driven by passion and solidarity for the disadvantaged population of Liberia. It means ensuring an enabling environment for opportunities, and should not be just another empty phrase as has been the case for previous political leaders. 

A clean human environment produces healthy human capital, enhances social integrity, and builds, as well as, sustains stronger economic growth and political stability. In the absence of such critical social balance to the human environment and disaster management, the long term consequences rest on government’s shoulders in handling the associated costs, which outweigh the cost of being proactive.

The current state of Liberia’s environment and disaster management initiatives are of grave concern by any measure. It has been trivialized for the most part in previous political administrations of Liberia. While it is true that all parts of Liberia have some environmental problems that warrant every attention,

Monrovia, particularly, and its immediate environs are infested with pronounced health-threatening environmental challenges, covering piles of garbage, corrosive metals, oil/chemical spills, erosion and other pollutants and debris. These hazards threaten the quality of waterways and air quality from industrial contaminants The rampant use of generators both in industries and domestic vicinities as source of the energy are just few examples. The burning of tires and other filths are often seen around Monrovia. All of these have direct impact on the human respiratory system, not to mention the soil from which foods are grown. 

An eco-balanced environment produces healthy, productive and a sustainable human resource capacity that is so germane to economic development and growth. No nation succeeds in its development goals, and the ability of sustaining those goals without the aforementioned eco-balanced initiatives. Neglecting or doing very little invites potential danger for the communities/country since the growth and sustenance of a country’s economy depends on the potency of its human capital. 

The same goes for disaster management, which is an emerging threat that could impact “Pro poor governance.” Disaster management has not been given much attention.

Of particular concern is the ongoing unmitigated flooding in most impoverished communities due to many factors such as clogged drainage systems partly from garbage and other debris that are illegally dumped, lack of proper zonal ordinances and the lack of an effective building permitting system. No doubt, climate change has also had its impact because it has invariably altered and increased rain frequency and intensity in Liberia. Yet, national government has the responsibility to respond, working with other stakeholders and the international community.

For the past 15 years, floods have occurred in many communities particularly in Monrovia and its surroundings with major flooding and destructions in poor communities causing displacement and loss of property to families and businesses. During floods, major businesses, such as the Freeport of Liberia, which is the economic artery of Liberia, is interrupted, causing the government of Liberia to lose many thousands, if not millions, of dollars; so are many other businesses that pay taxes to the national treasury. In the absence of innovation, community capacity building, and the lack of functional institutions to deal with such crises, the danger is imminent and could undermine the successful implementation “Pro poor governance” initiatives. 

In order for a “pro poor governance” policy to materialize and become sustainable, the national government should not forget to include in its programs the capacitating of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA-L), which has been struggling due to the lack of enough budgetary allotment and the emergence of other bureaucratic neglects. The EPA-L needs to benefit from a number of policy initiatives—

    (a) increasing its budget from under $900k to about $4.5 million dollars annually; 
    (b) strengthening its human capital with trained personnel;
    (c) providing community-driven educational awareness; 
    (d) establishing effective garbage collection practices; 
    (e ) collecting metals of all sorts in and around the country, especially in Monrovia
           and its environs; 
    (f) building an engineering functional landfill; 
    (g) allowing EPA-L to sit at every concession and any environment-related agreements to
           identify and ensure all environmental compliance protocols; 
    (h) allowing EPA-L to enforce all environmental laws and ordinances with no external
     (i) reviewing and strengthening current environmental laws;
     (j) instituting an environmental court or its equivalent for public redress; and
     (k) researching  environment-related challenges, using effective laboratory testing labs.

Public policies are quite often driven by public opinions. In the case of the environment and disaster management, awareness campaigns can profoundly reach wider audiences if they are championed by political leaders and social activists. 

Against this background, it is recommended that H.E President George Weah along with the head of EPA-L use the appropriate public platforms to stress the importance of the environment to the country and declare a date in every month for an environmental cleanup campaign for the entire country and not just in Monrovia as being carried out by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC). If the EPA-L is given the leverage to fully operate as an autonomous agency free of all external and internal interferences, it could support its operational budget and still be able to contribute to government coffers. 

On the disaster management front, similar capacity building is required. Since the creation of the Nation Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) in 2015/2016, it has remained virtually dormant due to the lack of budgetary allotment. The NDMA needs to be functional to fully address the challenges on hand, such as profiling or identifying potential hotspots, providing robust educational awareness that is community-driven. This would include prevention and preparedness, and response to and recovery from disasters. A community emergency response team (CERT) concept could be organized since communities are the first line of defense when disaster strikes. 

The indisputable fact is that national government cannot neglect salient social responsibilities in a country where unemployment stands at at least 85%. When people are unemployed, they have no insurance, but when they become ill, they visit government-sponsored hospitals, increasing service costs. “Pro poor governance” should provide the enabling environment and opportunities for residents to be healthy and able to help themselves as well as help the nation produce ample goods and services.

About the author: Morris T. Koffa, Sr., is an Environmental Engineer by profession with over 20 years of experience in the private and governmental sectors in Washington DC., USA. 

Mr. Koffa is also a doctoral candidate in Public Policy Administration (PPA) with concentration in Disaster and Emergency Management. 

He can be contacted at 240-417-2545, and by email:

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