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Interview with Martin Sjöholm

Hi Martin! Thank you for taking the time to answer to some questions about your role in the LACER project. First, I am curious to know why you want to be part of the project?

What made you apply for the position as Training and Exercise Expert?


Martin in Kananga, Congo (DRC) during a mission for MSB/WFP, building a guest house in 2021.

- For a long time, I have been doing trainings and exercises around the world and it is always rewarding when you see the participants growing and understanding the way forward. I also find the ASEAN region very interesting and I have worked there in the past. The region has several disasters every year and I think we can learn from each other how the different disasters should be handled.  The LACER team is also very interesting and fun to work with, which also inspires me. It is rewarding to work with different partners, such as AHA Centre and to learn how their way of working. Working as European Civil Protection Team (EUCPT) member around the world, I have knowledge and experience that I can share with the AHA Centre.

What change do you want to contribute to and what component do you find particularly important in the project?

- I think that training and exercises are a good base to try new ways of working. When you can learn by trying something new in a friendly environment, without any major consequences. To me, the most important component of the LACER project is information management.  If the AHA Centre could be established as the main source of information during a disaster, this would be very appreciated from the affected country or area. Today, information travels very fast and you need to be on top of things when a disaster strikes and have the right tools to support you.

What do you contribute to the project (competence, background, etc.)?

- I have been working in the field for the last 15 years in disasters doing assessments and reporting. As a mentor for the Assessment Mission Training (AMC) in Cyprus every year I have knowledge on how an assessment should be performed. Training of the Emergency Rapid Assessment Team (ERAT) teams is one of the prioritized sections I would like to work with. The ASEAN Regional Disaster Emergency Response Simulation Exercise (ARDEX) is also one of the things I would like to contribute to.

Mutual learning is an important component of our partnership principles. What do you hope to learn from the project?

- I hope to learn more about how the region is supporting each other and how LACER can support this work to be more effective and precise. Implementing material and work from the European Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) into the AHA Centre are also very important components in this project.

Last but not least, what do you look forward to the most right now?

- Enjoying the nice Swedish summer! I always try to be in Sweden during the summer to meet friends and family and have a barbecue.

Martin worked as a paramedic before he joined MSB in 2000 as a medical coordinator. He has worked as a project manager in the humanitarian sector around the globe. He is enrolled in the MSB roster, working in different disasters and humanitarian projects around the world. He is member of UNDAC, EUCPT and Red Cross and has done missions for all organisations.

He lives outside Gothenburg in Sweden with his wife Marie. They have two adult children and four grandchildren. His interests are training and working on his house and apartment when not babysitting his grandchildren.