Safety and Security for Humanitarians

The recently published figures from the Aid Worker Security Report revealed 2018 as the second worst year on record for safety and security for humanitarians, with 399 aid workers affected by major violence in 221 separate attacks. However, vehicle related incidents remain the most likely source of injury to humanitarian workers.

course about Safety and Security for Humanitarians

This week six Islamic Relief staff from the communications team attended a new course here at HAD, ‘Safety and Security for Humanitarians’. This is a 4 day programme delivered in two linked phases. The first phase focusses on prevention and impact mitigation, the second entitled ‘Reacting to Security incidents’ shifts the focus to practical applications in dealing with security incidents. In addition to the classroom based content there are two E learning modules that participants are required to complete prior to the training these provide valuable grounding in security matters. The classroom environment provides a unique opportunity for participants to share experiences and exchange ideas as well as form new alliances that they can draw on when travelling.

Unfortunately, casualties cannot be completely avoided in the humanitarian aid sector. During the amazing work that they do, humanitarians expose themselves to certain risks. This is particularly true if they are working in conflict-afflicted zones. However, with sufficient risk assessment and preparation, it is often possible to prevent these casualties or at least minimise the impact.

“In developing this training I have looked to take a multifaceted approach whereby we look at ways in which risks can be assessed and minimised or mitigated against”, says Diane Conway, the Academy’s lead on this project. “However we need to provide our staff travelling to the field with some practical hands-on application as well. This is where the second phase comes in.”

Policies and procedures are vital, but in order for them to have maximum effect implementation and adherence needs to be ‘business as usual’ for all staff, not just those charged with security matters as part of their job role.  This four day programme is intended to begin establishing a ‘culture of security’. Wherever you are it is important to be constantly inquisitive about the environment around you and to question anything that simply doesn’t feel right.

Working in the Humanitarian Sector can be a source of motivation and satisfaction. However you may face dangerous and challenging situations that you may not be adequately prepared for. This course looks at promoting resilience among aid workers and ways to mitigate the adverse effects of stress and trauma that can arise.

The Aid Workers Security report paints a worsening picture for attacks on aid workers which remains persistently and unacceptably high. The continuing rise in the number of aid workers affected by violence each year highlights the overwhelming need for training such as this.

Learn more about our Safety & Security in the field training

Written by Diane Conway
Learning & Development Partner