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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 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

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

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?

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

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

Humanitarian access in Syria and the Russian intervention

Context Analysis

This article looks at current constraints in humanitarian access to Syria as the conflict increases in both complexity and intensity. Although the focus here is on the increased vulnerability of aid agencies as a result of Russian tactics, it must be stressed that humanitarian assistance can be jeopardised by all parties to conflict, and as the fighting continues, further threats will emerge.

23 Oct 2015

Applying serious gaming to humanitarian security

NGO Security Management, Safety

Mobile devices can be used to simulate ‘mixed-reality’ environments, allowing the learners to move between virtual tasks assigned on the device and the physical environment. To this end, an application framework, authoring tool and mobile app are currently under development by Mobilize.life, with an aim to go live in early 2016.

21 Oct 2015

Security in your pocket: ‘Umbrella’ a one-stop-shop

Context Analysis, Equipment, NGO Security Management

Humanitarian workers are operating with little digital protection and too often are unprepared to use technology as a means to mitigate their physical risks. While there are a number of digital tools and technology-based resources for the security of humanitarian workers, collectively, they face a number of problems. Aid agencies need a user-friendly, easily accessible tool that delivers simple answers on how to operate safely in any situation.

14 Oct 2015

What is ‘humanitarian communication’?

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

The increasing use of ICTs by responding organisations and affected populations has changed how information is communicated and received during crises. It may even be changing how some crises occur and unfold. Yet, despite this transformative impact, there is no accepted definition of what constitutes ‘humanitarian communication’, nor what defines the ‘humanitarian use of ICTs’.

9 Oct 2015