How to scale up aid worker security

By Amy Lieberman 17 February 2011

An aid worker hands relief supplies to an Afghan woman while local military men stand guard. The rise in the number of attacks on civilian aid workers has prompted some organizations that work in crises zones to consider and implement new methods to keep their staff safe and able to carry out their work. Photo by: isafmedia / CC BY

A targeted, yet dramatic rise in kidnappings, attacks and killings of civilian aid workers is prompting some organizations working in crises zones to consider and implement new methods of keeping humanitarian personnel safe and able to continue carrying out their work.

Funding isn’t a main barrier blocking aid organizations from ramping up their training and protection, according to humanitarian aid security specialists and non-governmental liaisons. But the ability to successfully implement funding and training, building on communication lines in potentially remote and volatile areas, remains a challenge for some disconnected aid groups.

“Donors are very well aware that in order for humanitarian organizations to access populations in crisis environments and insecure, violence-prone environments, they need to have the capacity to manage these requirements and that requires resources,” said Oliver Behn, coordinator of the European Interagency Security Forum.

EISF serves as a security network to 50 non-governmental groups based in 14 countries; all of its partner organizations have “ramped up” their security measures in the past few years, Behn told Devex.

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About the author

Amy Liebermanamylieberman

Amy Lieberman is a journalist based in New York. She has reported on migration, health and gender from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries, including Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico and Nepal. Her work has appeared in, The Christian Science Monitor and World Policy Journal, among a host of other news outlets. She is a Master of Arts candidate in politics and government journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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