Since the 1990s, the international relief and development community has come a long way in training their staff. The increased awareness of “Duty of Care” obligations since 2011 has served to focus organizations on their responsibly to staff who are working in very complex environments. While it continues to be a recommended “best practice” to provide safety and security training for humanitarian staff who are being placed in surroundings that can put them at risk, if we are going to ask humanitarian staff to work in high or even medium threat environments, we need to get serious about preparing them.
To address this issue and through the support of both InterAction and the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF), Christine Persaud recently authored NGO Safety and Security Training Project: How to Create Effective Security Training for NGOs. This paper answers the questions, “what do we teach and how do we go about it?” Her work is focused, well researched, and should be the go-to reference for every President and/or CEO and manager of any organization that fields staff to developing countries. The paper provides a narrative of the research findings, an updated curriculum, and guidance tools for training. It is based on extensive research and interviews with members of the NGO community. The report draws upon existing training materials, community consultations, survey responses, job descriptions, as well as relevant trends in humanitarian and development practice. It captures good practice and global understanding in regards to quality and consistency of NGO security training. In addition to addressing the basics, the recommendations in the paper, if followed, will move humanitarian staff training to a higher level of relevance in an age of ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram.