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World Humanitarian Day: How to Keep Humanitarian Workers Safe

World Humanitarian Day is 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’s 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 450,000 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.

Map highlight incidents that impact NGOs and Charities across the globe, highlighting the significant risks to aid workers on a daily basis.
Map highlight incidents that impact NGOs and Charities across the globe, highlighting the significant risks to aid workers on a daily basis. [Source: Intelligence Fusion]


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.

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.

Our global coverage is guided by our clients’ needs; by conducting an Intelligence Collection Plan as part of the standard onboarding process, we dig deep into the requirements of your organisation and feed that knowledge into our manual and automated reporting processes. Whether it be an incident identified by our 24/7 Operations Team or by our datamining algorithms, each new piece of intelligence is verified and contextualised before being dissemintaed to clients. Our focus on actionable, accurate intelligence allows NGOs and charities to not only reduce these risks but improve the access to people in need and supply much-needed aid.

Looking at a broad range of open sources, we report on threats from a physical, economical and societal perspective, allowing organisations to have a complete and comprehensive insight into their key locations. Intelligence Fusion collects over 12,000 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.

World Humanitarian Day is a stark reminder of the risks facing these critical workers on daily basis. Utilising a threat intelligence 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.




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