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

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Amy Liebermanamylieberman

Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.


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