Displaying items by tag: Personnel management

Today the context of aid work has changed substantially, as has the way agencies manage their security and seek to keep their staff and assets safe. New conflicts have created new sources of threat. Increasing violence against aid workers and their operations, including more kidnappings and lethal attacks, has had serious implications for relief work. Equally, though, aid agencies have made significant progress in their understanding of the risks they face and the types of personnel and resources they need to mitigate them. To capture these changes, the Humanitarian Practice Network has produced a revised edition of Good Practice Review 8,…
Since the publication of the first edition of Good Practice Review 8 on Operational Security Management in Violent Environments a decade ago, the global security environment has changed significantly. New conflict contexts have created new sources of threat to international humanitarian action. Increasing violence against aid workers and their operations, including more kidnappings and lethal attacks, has had serious implications for humanitarian relief work in insecure contexts. Meanwhile, agencies themselves have become much more conscious of the need to provide for the safety and security of their staff.To reflect these changes, the Humanitarian Practice Network has published a new version of GPR…
Drawing from experiences in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Haiti and elsewhere, this article highlights the main issues for NGOs to consider when working with community volunteers and committees during humanitarian emergencies. Every programme is different, so agencies should not necessarily apply identical structures or ways of working with communities in different contexts. However, certain principles should at minimum be considered regardless of the situation. This article aims to improve awareness of these issues, to encourage consistency and best practice in the planning and implementation of humanitarian activities with volunteers and committees.Consistency and coordination An ad hoc or uncoordinated approach to working with…
On 29 October 2008, a vehicle loaded with explosives forced its way into the UN compound in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland. The detonation killed two employees of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Across town, further bombs targeted the presidential palace and Ethiopia’s diplomatic representation. Another two bombs exploded in the semi-autonomous Puntland region. The attacks occurred as leaders from Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti and Ethiopia met in Nairobi to discuss the Somali issue. Islamist groups with links to Al-Qaeda are believed to have been responsible. The events made headlines around the world. Images of broken windows,…
‘One minute we were heading to the airport, happy to be on our way home … next minute we were being bundled into a pick-up truck crowded with gun-toting bandits, AK47s pointed at our heads, racing off into the unknown.’ Almost 80 days later, after difficult and at times traumatic negotiations, one of the captives was brought safely home. The other was eventually released four weeks later. Both hostages believed that their captors were not aware beforehand that they were aid workers and simply targeted them because they were foreigners. Accurate kidnap statistics are notoriously difficult to obtain and any…
NGOs in Darfur have adapted operations reasonably effectively in response to insecurity, to allow aid delivery to continue. They have been less effective at predicting and proactively responding to emerging threats. This article reviews how NGOs have responded to the main hazards in Darfur (carjackings, compound raids and kidnapping), through the lens of the classic ‘security triangle’ (acceptance, protection and deterrence). It also discusses security-related interactions with other actors, and the implications of these various changes in security management.   Protection strategies Carjacking Although white four-wheel-drive vehicles (4WDs) are synonymous with humanitarian NGOs in many countries, in Darfur the threat…
In recent years, staff security management within humanitarian organisations has developed considerably. Only ten years ago, many NGOs did not have full-time security officers, written security policies and guidelines or training programmes focused on the prevention and management of staff security incidents. Today the majority do. As the field expands, it is appropriate to look at how humanitarian organisations communicate to field staff about security issues. What key messages do staff receive about security management? What issues are less commonly addressed? How do organisations communicate these messages? To what extent are security messages and advice similar or different across organisations?…
A decade ago, only a handful of agencies were aware of and seriously considering the challenges posed by operational insecurity. At the time, few international or national organisations had designated security positions or policies on how to manage the risks of violence against their staff and operations. The impact of high-profile attacks such as the 1996 assassination of six ICRC workers in Chechnya spurred a number of international aid organisations into action. A collaborative learning initiative on security issues resulted in the earliest interagency security training, as well as the first edition of the Good Practice Review on Operational Security…
Aid agencies have worked hard in recent years to professionalise security management, including the provision of training for staff at headquarters and in the field and the formalisation of the risk management process. This article is part of a larger European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) research project to support NGO security management by documenting the risk acceptance process. It argues that programme managers should adopt a broader understanding of risk in order to contribute to flexible, organisation-wide judgements of risk exposure. To recognise risks effectively and engage with strategic decision-making, managers must understand what is at risk,[1] not just for…
 The safety and security of humanitarian aid workers is arguably in greater jeopardy today than at any time in the history of the humanitarian endeavour. The environment has changed and it takes more than a set of technical skills and a friendly manner to be a successful humanitarian worker. Staff are no longer immune from acts of violence, if indeed they ever truly were, and acceptance strategies, so often adopted, are not always effective in some contexts. Humanitarian workers are expected to negotiate their way through complex, insecure and unfamiliar situations in a foreign language and culture in an unstable…

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