Applying our expertise to areas most in need

Applying our expertise to areas most in need

International development

Booth King Partnership is proud to support Andrea Manenti, one of our directors, with his involvements in International Development efforts. Andrea is a member of the British Red Cross as a water and sanitation engineer for the MSM-ERU (Mass Sanitation Module – Emergencies Response Unit) and a delegate for the Canadian Red Cross within the Shelter, Construction, Engineering and WASH Roster.

Andrea’s experience in International Development started with a year volunteering in Kenya (2008) developing school classrooms and toilet facilities in rural areas, together with water related projects. Following an outbreak of cholera in Zimbabwe (2009) he specialised in sanitation engineering spending four months assisting the affected population setting up Cholera Treatment Centres (CTC’s) in rural areas affected by outbreaks. These valuable experiences allowed him to become a member of the British Red Cross, when he returned to the UK, as Sanitation Engineer.

In 2018 he was deployed with the BRC in Bangladesh in a refugee camp close to the border with Myanmar, set up in response to the Rohingya crisis. Duties mainly included desludging latrines in potential flood areas and re-building latrines where feasible, working closely with a small team including hygiene promoters, treatment plant technicians and the team leader.

Andrea said that when he first arrived, he was overwhelmed with the situation – almost one million people living in a sprawling camp as far as the horizon, with little to no infrastructure at all. What could be accomplished in just four weeks?

What continually surprised him was the resilience of the people in the camps – people who have lost everything including their homes, family members and country. But despite their current situation and uncertain future, Andrea found people to be extremely resilient, peaceful and proactive in the solving of problems.

In 2018 Andrea joined the Canadian Red Cross within the SCEW team – Shelter, Construction, Engineering and Wash –based in Ottawa, as inspired from the day-to-day work carried out at Booth King Partnership in structural and civil engineering.

Such a skill set, together with regular and intensive training courses, gives Andrea the opportunity to respond to emergencies, mid-term and long-term deployments from the IFRC (International Federation of the Red Cross) to respond to natural disasters and/or conflicts.

In fact, in November 2022, he had the opportunity to be seconded to the Austrian Red Cross in support to a shelter program in Ukraine, to respond to the recent conflict against Russia and to provide support to a large number of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) that moved from the eastern to the western part of the Country and in urgent need of ‘shelter’ prior to a very cold winter. In such a program, Andrea was following the refurbishment of a series of Collective Centres spread over the territory of two Oblasts (Regions) able to accommodate the IDPs.

Reflecting on his experiences Andrea says: “I try to bring the reality of these situations back home, somehow…being there and seeing the conditions these people are in or the circumstances and experiences they live, puts our problems very much in perspective.”

Some words from Andrea

…it’s the smile of the children that more strikes me! I feel the privilege to be able to help who really need, in emergencies, immediate assistance. It’s the adrenaline and the excitement of a sudden deployment, leaving all behind, work and family! But it feels real…’

And between deployments there’s a continuous training and skills development process both in the UK (London) or Canada (Ottawa) but often remotely, in order to keep up to date with the technical side of it but also within the immense world of the International Federation of the Red Cross and partners.

Booth King Partnership has always supported me with such commitment and I’m really grateful for that!

Andrea Manenti
Director, Booth King Partnership
Email: andrea.m@booth-king.co.uk