World Humanitarian Day 2018: How to Keep Humanitarian Workers Safe
Ahead of World Humanitarian Day 2018, an observation dedicated to recognising humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes, Intelligence Fusion asks the question; how can we keep aid workers safe?
Aid work is both dangerous and mentally challenging for the individual. It is a profession where the threat of kidnapping, crime and sometimes, death, is accepted as part of the job. Exposure to crime, from the most severe to minor incidents, increases significantly in an area of crisis or conflict.
Whether they are national humanitarian workers, supplying aid to their home country, or an international aid worker deployed overseas to provide assistance, both are at risk of being targeted simply because of the organisation they are representing.
NGOs and charity organisations have a direct duty of care for the workers that they employ in matters of safety and security, among other things, so what tools and strategies can employers implement to help keep their aid workers safe?
Prior to placement, organisations should assess the location by initially understanding the normal crime rate and types of threats or incidents that are common place in that area. Having a solid understanding of what workers may experience will help during training as well as assist you in developing an educated emergency response plan.
Intelligence Fusion have over 170,000 historical incidents from across the world, which allows subscribers to use the data set for reference and analysis. Charities and NGO organisations can filter the data to focus on a location, date range or type of incident in order to track past trends and ultimately help them to make informed decisions regarding the environments in which they operate, as well as anticipate and prepare for likely scenarios.
A comprehensive briefing with personnel before they start their placement should address the risks they are likely to experience during their time in a specific location. They should also fully understand the risk management processes that you have in place should an incident occur.
Security training is also an important step in mitigating risk. The concept of situational awareness, often regarded as a mindset, has become an integral element of the NGO security strategy in order to protect their people. Training employees to remain alert and learn what behaviours are normal in their location will help them to look for what is different or identify a change in the environment, allowing them to react swiftly to any unusual activity. Situational awareness can help prevent mission creep, where one fails to recognise gradual changes in the security situation
In the situation where risk levels heighten or intelligence of a potential threat arises, employees should be made aware promptly. If workers are well informed with accurate, well-timed information, they will respond to risk more efficiently and effectively.
Our global coverage leaves no stone unturned; collating intelligence from a spectrum of sources, we report on threats and risks of every nature allowing organisations to have a complete view of the world and the environments in which they operate. Intelligence Fusion collects almost 10,000 new incidents every month, so that no matter where in the world your people or assets are located, we can enhance your situational awareness and help drive decisions based on emerging risks.
Currently relief agencies develop and maintain situational awareness in a variety of ways, ranging from reliance on individuals and small team’s knowledge of local conditions, to country and regional security programmes, usually ran by the United Nations. In many cases, those delegated with security responsibility are conducting these tasks in addition to their primary duties.
A subscription to our platform gives organisations the scope to regularly monitor the areas in which they provide aid and conduct long-term analysis required to enable informed decision-making on a consistent basis. However, Intelligence Fusion can also provide bespoke consultancy for isolated projects or a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of a certain situation or destination.
The quality, depth, accuracy and context of our intelligence allows NGOs and charities to reduce the risks faced by their aid workers and consequently, improve the access to people in need and supply much-needed aid.