Planning & Implementation

4. Travel and movement

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Staff often face increased risks when they are moving to and from project sites or visiting communities. Most security incidents occur while staff are travelling in the field, due to increased exposure and reduced control over their surroundings.

Road traffic accidents also remain one of the main causes of death and injury for aid workers.

There can be tough trade-offs between security and safety. In certain contexts, maintaining a low-profile approach in order to avoid being targeted – using local vehicles, not having radios or other communications equipment – may increase the safety risks for travelling staff. 

The establishment of, and adherence to, effective travel and movement procedures is essential to minimise risks associated with staff field travel.

Vehicle safety is everyone’s responsibility, not just the driver’s. Safe vehicle use not only prevents road traffic accidents, but how vehicles are used and who travels in them can also affect others’ perception of your organisation, and ultimately the security of staff. 

Preparation and planning are the key to all safe and secure field movements. It is essential to monitor staff and vehicle movements, especially if travel is in areas with increased risk. Each office should have a system for planning and tracking staff movements. For field trips, a journey plan should be submitted before departure and regular communication should be maintained for the duration of the trip to confirm their safe arrival at destination and/or home base.

While most field travel involves the use of vehicles, in some situations staff have to use air transport or boats to travel long distances or to reach communities in isolated or inaccessible areas, which presents additional risks and requires specific measures being put in place.

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