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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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Planning for uncertainty: Nigeria’s elections

NGO Security Management

Nigeria’s power dynamics are more complex than the north/south, Christian/Muslim, rich/poor dichotomies often presented. Whoever wins the election there are multiple competing scenarios that may emerge and NGOs cannot map, let alone plan for, all of them. When confronted by an array of threats, most of which you have limited to no influence over, one solution is to do the routine things well and focus on your capacity to react.

9 Feb 2015

Fighting hate speech in Myanmar: are mobile and digital technologies the right tool?

Context Analysis, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

The looming 2015 elections have heightened religious tensions in Myanmar. Hate speech has intensified and became more common and aggressive on blogs, web forums and Facebook pages. Hateful and inflammatory comments have served political groups as a tool to dehumanise Muslims. Considering the country’s political, social and religious context, we explore some challenges that projects monitoring inflammatory speech in blogs, forums, online newspapers and social media platforms might face in Myanmar.

27 Jan 2015

Difficulties of delivering aid in Northeast Nigeria: Boko Haram, vigilantes and other challenges

Civil-Military, Context Analysis, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management, Safety

Fighting to establish an Islamic ‘Caliphate’, Boko Haram hit the UN compound in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in 2011, killing 18. After the UN attack, President Goodluck Jonathan ‘reaffirmed his government’s “total commitment” to combating terrorism.’ In early 2013, Boko Haram gunmen killed nine polio workers, one of the deadliest attacks against aid workers in the region. Recent attacks in Baga and Doron Baga, where approximately 2,000 civilians were killed have further increased security difficulties for humanitarian organisations. Located in the Northeastern tip of Nigeria, humanitarian agencies have been unable to reach the destroyed towns since the attack due to the unstable situation.

21 Jan 2015

Webinar – Communications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery: Challenges and Opportunities for Security Risk Management

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

GISF teamed up with DisasterReady.org to host a webinar entitled ‘Communications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery: Challenges and Opportunities for Security Risk Management’. The webinar launches GISF’s new paper of the same title, and features engaging discussion on opportunities and challenges of communications technology in humanitarian delivery from Imogen Wall (the paper’s co-editor) and Rory Byrne (Founder and CEO of Security First).

17 Dec 2014

New technologies and data protection: are humanitarian organisations ready to face security threats of the 21st century?

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

The increasing use of electronic data by the aid industry and growing fears about data protection emphasise the lack of clear rules for data management. In the years ahead, more will need to be done to appease fears around data protection. However, if rules and adequate security measures are established, no one can deny that technology will enable aid organisations to reach an even larger number of people in need.

15 Dec 2014

Foreign aid and counter-terrorism measures: unintended consequences for the humanitarian sector?

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

Under the counter-terrorism framework, problematic situations extend from Colombia to Yemen through any country where one of the parties to the armed conflict is listed as a terrorist organisation. Likewise, some activities that are at the core of humanitarian action cannot be undertaken without making contact with proscribed groups. What happens then, when two ideas collide?

9 Dec 2014

Security risk management in the age of social media

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

The killing of kidnapped British aid workers, David Haines and Alan Henning, by the Islamic state (IS) is another testimony of the security risks humanitarian personnel are increasingly facing. With the plummeting security situation in Iraq and Syria, humanitarian actors have increased their activity on social media to draw attention to their causes and to the plight of their beneficiaries. This activity, however, is putting them at an increased risk of kidnapping by militant groups.

17 Nov 2014

New project on communications technology goes live!

NGO Security Management

The objective of this project is to begin a conversation towards a better understanding of the specific nature of the security threats created by the digital revolution, and the implications for the security risk management of humanitarian staff and programmes.

23 Oct 2014

GISF – Impact of Counter-terrorism Legislation on Humanitarian Operations and Security Risk Management Webcast

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management, Policy Guidance

In this GISF webcast, Naz Modirzadeh, (Senior Fellow, HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security, Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement project at Harvard Law School), addresses these questions. She also deals with further practical implications of counter-terrorism measures, with a particular focus on the impact for those involved in security risk management for NGOs.

21 Oct 2014

World Humanitarian Day and ‘Aid in Danger’: a hard-look at violence against aid workers

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

The aid sector will be ‘celebrating’ the World Humanitarian Day with four level 3 emergencies. On a day that commemorates the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad we should be asking ourselves, do we need more humanitarian heroes, or do we need better responses (and better security-managed assistance) to humanitarian crises?

18 Aug 2014