Project Profile

PEPSE BHA: PSE Support for the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

Project Name

PEPSE BHA: Private Sector Engagement (PSE) for Disaster Resilience & Recovery

Prime Contractor




Time Period

June 2018 - June 2020


The USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) has long worked on the front lines of international disaster assistance for the United States Government, providing humanitarian aid throughout the world for both rapid-onset disasters—such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods—and slow-onset crises, including drought and conflict. Today, societies and economic systems on all continents face unprecedented challenges as they struggle to heighten resilience to prepare for, withstand, and recover from a vast array of humanitarian disasters.

Meeting the complex needs of people in crisis requires cross-sector collaboration. BHA recognizes that the private sector has a critical role to play – harnessing markets and deploying its unique skills, networks, technology, and expertise – to help communities prepare for and recover from disaster.


Through the Promoting Excellence in Private Sector Engagement (PEPSE) project, Resonance is helping BHA identify and prioritize concrete private sector collaboration opportunities in disaster-prone countries. We find pathways for BHA to build high-impact partnerships with local and international companies that help communities better anticipate and prepare for disaster and reduce suffering and loss of life when disaster strikes. Resonance has assembled teams of experts for each country to conduct comprehensive assessments of private sector engagement (PSE) opportunities and offer recommendations aligned with BHA’s target sectors and industries, including agriculture and food security, transportation, shipping and logistics, shelter and settlements, and ICT and telecommunications. Throughout, we also map to BHA’s key focus areas: disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

Key Results

To date, Resonance has completed ten private-sector landscape assessments (PSLA) for BHA — in Indonesia, Guatemala, Venezuela, Vietnam, Kenya, Caribbean, Ethiopia, Sudan and two PSLAs focused on technical areas including Circular Economy and non-food item supplier mapping in North America.  Our teams have conducted over 300 interviews with companies and business associations at the local, national, and multinational levels.  We have engaged with businesses ranging from local transportation companies like Go-Jek in Indonesia to massive multinational transportation firms like Maersk. 

Our landscape assessments have uncovered a number of patterns for potential BHA private sector engagement, including the following:

  • Most countries have disaster management platforms and capabilities in place at some level, intended to coordinate response from government, donors, and other stakeholders in the wake of a disaster. Despite their existence, these platforms often fall short in facilitating effective public-private collaboration for disaster preparedness and response. BHA itself is well placed to convene companies, civil society, and local governments and link existing capabilities with disaster management needs.
  • Logistics and transportation are vital business sectors when it comes disaster response. Distributing emergency supplies requires efficient road infrastructure and the means to transport goods quickly. Further, our interviews in all six countries revealed that logistics companies have extensive disaster management and preparedness measures for their own operations, as well as a strong willingness to engage with BHA and other actors for disaster response. Some large shipping and logistics companies have played important roles in disaster response – Tropical Shipping, for example, was at the front line of delivering donated goods and relief items to affected islands in the Caribbean in the 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons. We therefore believe that trucking and logistics companies are critical players in any private sector engagement strategy that involves disaster management.
  • The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector offers unique capabilities for disaster management, including technology for early warning systems, crowdsourcing of disaster response information, and data management. A technology startup in Indonesia called Petabencana (“disaster map”) uses crowdsourced social media information to share real-time alerts and information about disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis.

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