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With regular contributions from the GISF Secretariat and guest experts, the GISF Blog explores a range of topical, contextual and theoretical developments affecting the practice of humanitarian SRM.

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The Security of Lone Aid Workers

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Safety

Existing security risk management tools and procedures tend to overlook the unique security needs of lone aid workers. These staff members are compelled by their unique circumstances to rely primarily on themselves to ensure their own safety and security, and must do so by putting in place a number of basic security measures to mitigate the risk and impact of potential security incidents. This blog has been published in English and in Spanish.

11 Jul 2016

Aid Worker Security and Wellbeing at the World Humanitarian Summit

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit is being held later this month in Turkey. It is being billed as a global call to action; an opportunity to change the landscape of humanitarian action and to address some of the most critical issues of our time. It is providing a platform to focus on global humanitarian needs and how we can do better for the people caught up in the numerous crises affecting the world today and in the future. It can safely be said that there are very mixed expectations regarding the outcomes, however the hope is that changes that translate into more effective humanitarian assistance will be seen as a result. The Summit presents an opportunity to continue to highlight and raise the profile of the issue of aid worker safety, security and wellbeing; reinforcing the message that if you want to deliver effective humanitarian assistance you need a competent and fit workforce, well equipped to cope with the demanding conditions they will be working under.

18 May 2016

Security and Humanitarian work in Pakistan: Was 2015 a Turning Point?

NGO Security Management

In the past decade, many areas of Pakistan have endured a high level of insecurity. There are no set patterns to the violence, which has varied from attacks on law enforcement agencies and schools to sectarian violence and the targeting of medical professionals engaged in polio vaccination programmes. Regardless of the types and motives of these attacks, the civilian population have paid a high price. Agence France Presse state that by 2014, nearly 7,000 people had been killed in militant attacks in Pakistan since the emergence of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TPP).

14 Apr 2016

The resurgence of al-Shabaab in Somalia and implications for the humanitarian sector

Context Analysis

Kenya, along with a number of African Union countries operating under the umbrella of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), moved into southern Somalia in 2012 in order to contain al-Shabaab’s movements following a series of attacks by the group in northern Kenya. The AMISOM mission was able to expel the Al-Qaeda (AQ) affiliated group from the majority of the main population areas of southern Somalia, though al-Shabaab maintained its military strength in many rural areas. Since January 2016, al-Shabaab has begun to regain some of the ground lost to AMISOM in the last four years. A key event was a major al-Shabaab attack in mid-January against an AMISOM base in El Ade, south-western Somalia, near the Kenyan border. During the attack by dozens of al-Shabaab fighters, over 60 Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) troops were killed and substantial numbers of weapons were taken by the attackers.

23 Mar 2016

The Duty to be Caring

Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance, Safety

In this op-ed, Steve Ryan discusses how individual NGO staff members can better support colleagues and in doing so, contribute to better orgnaisational security risk management culture.

17 Feb 2016

Lessons from the Aviation Industry: What Can We Learn for Humanitarian Security Risk Management?

NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance

Air traffic volume has expanded dramatically in recent years, yet the number of plane crashes has steadily declined since 1980. Air accidents peaked in the 1940s, prompting aviation experts to develop a new safety approach, and today, aviation is one of the leading industries in risk management. This article discusses the aviation industry’s safety concept and considers what the growing humanitarian community may learn for its own security and safety management.

2 Feb 2016

In the news: Psychological Support and Wellbeing for Aid Workers

NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance, Safety, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Legal Obligations

It is not breaking news that aid workers are frequently subjected to high levels of stress and pressure. Whether we acknowledge it or not, working in conflict zones, assisting during natural or manmade disasters and in-person or vicarious exposure to the effects of extreme poverty all make their mark. Whilst human resource teams are commonly charged with the management of employee health and wellbeing programmes, discussions during the GISF Forum in Berlin last September emphasised the link between staff wellbeing and good risk management practice. Security managers continuously strive to help staff deliver programmes in physical safety; how can we better mitigate the psychological impact of the work that we do?

28 Jan 2016

The Jihadist Threat to INGO Aid Workers

Context Analysis, NGO Security Management

This brief article examines the current state of the jihadist threat to INGOs, particularly those linked to Britain and France, following November’s Paris attacks as well as the implications of the UK’s subsequent commencement of an overt military campaign in Syria.

22 Dec 2015

Time for a Humanitarian Black Box?

Equipment, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance, Safety, Acceptance, Civil-Military

At least sixteen hospitals were bombed in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen over the past few weeks. Powerful nations carried out the aerial bombing campaigns that damaged infrastructure and killed humanitarian staff and civilians. However, the circumstances are usually disputed. Perhaps it is time the humanitarian community installed black boxes to record such events? This article presents a device that records forensic evidence of what happened where, when and who did it. It is a call to the humanitarian community to take part in generating the evidence that will force states to take their responsibilities in protecting humanitarian work seriously.

23 Nov 2015

In the News: Sexual violence against aid workers

Gender, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Legal Obligations, NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance, Safety

Humanitarian response evaluations habitually find gender-based harassment to be a problem, with measures to prevent and respond to incidents proving inadequate. Subsequent rhetoric often fails to translate into reality and harassment continues on a day-to-day basis, both for civilians and aid workers. This article is largely centred on sexual violence against humanitarian workers, exploring the pervasive issue and potential responses.

29 Oct 2015