Displaying items by tag: Personnel management

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…
In recent years, the humanitarian and development sectors have seen a significant increase in international attention, engagement and activity falling under the banner of ‘protection’. International humanitarian actors have embraced the concept and discourse of protection in various forms — through mainstreaming, integration and stand-alone protection projects and programmes. But has this growth in protection resources and response capacity enhanced the safety, security and dignity of populations at risk? Have these efforts actually achieved effective protection for people in crisis — or have they simply progressed the agendas of international actors? Network Paper 68 explores the concept and practice of…
Many agencies still find it difficult to effectively integrate protection into humanitarian sector programmes. Although protection is a cross-cutting issue in the Sphere handbook and agency staff are trained in the application of Sphere standards, protection issues are frequently not systematically identified and addressed in humanitarian response. Recognising this gap, World Vision Australia undertook a six-month research exercise to code existing standards and indicators relating to protection, leading to the development and publication of Minimum Agency Standards for Incorporating Protection into Humanitarian Response.[1] This tool is intended to help operational agencies to incorporate protection into their humanitarian programming and advocacy.…
Over one million people live in Karamoja, a region found in the north Eastern part of Uganda. To a visitor passing through from the capital city Kampala, Karamoja may look like any other region in Uganda but appearances can be deceptive. The region is characterised by the worst humanitarian and development indicators in Uganda. The problem of underdevelopment in Karamoja is often characterised as a ‘cultural’ problem, however, this needs to be understood within the delicate livelihood systems that operate within the region. The people of Karamoja have traditionally based their livelihood on agro-pastoralism. Like many other pastoral societies in…

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