Remote security audit in social sector responses

by Ana Maria Oteanu - Senior Programme Manager, Safer Edge When you speak about remote working in security risk management you will hear plenty of strong opinions. Some organisations are vehemently opposed and others are open to the idea. However, the Covid-19 response has imposed remote service delivery on almost all types of security services for the next few years. This is only partly due to travel restrictions and potential health threats but due to  the potential significant savings stemming from advancements in use of communication technology. Remote delivery in the initial Covid-19 response gives organisations the opportunity to consider types of work they haven’t previously as well a

Social Protection: new programming, new risks

COVID-19 is propelling humanitarian organisations responding in natural disaster and conflict environments into new types of programming with new risks. Social protection programming has always been an outlier in most humanitarian programmes. It doesn’t fit neatly into the cluster system but neither is it wholly a developmental approach. If discussed at all in humanitarian response, it tends to form part of protection or early recovery work. Sometimes it is part of resilience planning in disaster risk reduction. However, as both humanitarian and development organisations shift their programming to respond to COVID-19, social protection programming is about to take centre stage. The World Ban

Error 404: Service Not Found – Safeguarding and Covid-19

by Maria Wagner – intersectional feminist safeguarding consultant We had just entered the global lockdown when I heard the first account of a survivor being stuck in a field office with the person that had harmed them. The essential service of providing the survivor with a safe place away from the perpetrator was nowhere to be found. In response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, NGOs rushed to keep staff and communities safe: banning non-essential travel, issuing working from home orders, halting existing operations, and rapidly upscaling new responses. However, it has become clear that the one-size-fits-all approaches to lockdowns and isolation, as well as narrow ‘first things fi

The Lockdown Lens: accounts from around the world

At the end of March, Anfal Saqib chose the domain name for her new blog,The Lockdown Lens, carefully. As she adjusted to lockdown herself, and connected to family and friends around the world to see how they were doing, she realised this was “a truly unique event from a sociological and historical point of view that is genuinely global and I wanted to capture people’s voices and experiences of this point in time on an inclusive platform.” The blog, contributed to by people all over the world, paints a diverse picture of the situation in the UK, Rwanda, Iraq and a refugee camp in Dzaleka, Malawi. Situations like the one experienced bya contributor flying through Dubaifrom Sri Lanka,“…the mood

COVID-19 Overview for Northwestern Syria

Over the past four months alone, nearly one million people have been displaced as a result of the Syrian government and Russia’s military campaign to re-take the northwest of Syria. There are currently large numbers of people living with limited access to water and healthcare in crowded conditions due to recent increases in population. In the northwest regions of Idlib and western Aleppo, local organisations report that living conditions make the population highly susceptible to COVID-19. These areas are at highest immediate risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. An LSE research team has estimated that the maximum capacity of Syria’s healthcare system to manage COVID-19 is currently 6,500 cases, before

Managing misinformation during coronavirus response

The term ‘fake news’ entered the popular lexicon around the U.S. elections of 2016. It is used to describe both misinformation (false or inaccurate information) and disinformation (malicious and purposeful spreading of false or inaccurate information). Broadly, it covers untrue, or partially true, information such as rumours, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and deliberate disinformation campaigns. While there has been increased focus on disinformation since 2016, it has been a near constant security threat for humanitarian organisations for the past decade. Polio vaccinators in Pakistan still report disinformation as one of their biggest challenges. Humanitarian organisations struggle to respon

A Tale of Two Epidemics

by Fatma Eljack - Senior Programme Manager for Learning, Safer Edge “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” – A Tale of Two

Coronavirus response: the next 5 things to consider

As the COVID-19 response becomes multi-month, global organisations are moving from the emergency response phase to planning for the longer term. While every organisation’s response will be different, we have seen some similarities in the organisations we work with. These include: 1. Proactive information management & sharing There is a lot of information, and misinformation, circulating about COVID-19. While the misinformation varies by country it tends to be shaped to play on people’s fear. Even mainstream media reporting can contribute if it is vague or inaccurate can contribute to misinformation. At best, misinformation increases people’s anxiety. At worst, it can result in people in xeno

Emerging COVID-19 implications for humanitarian operations in developing countries

Imperial College recently produced analysis on the potential global impact of Covid_19. The analysis includes predictions on how health measures could restrict Covid_19 contagion, serious illness and mortality rates across the world. Within this analysis some interesting findings emerged on the impact of Covid_19 on developing countries -and how these countries are likely to have a very different experience of Covid_19. Current health measures on Covid_19 are largely focused on the following logic: Medical consensus is that best way to achieve this goal of reducing the number of deaths is a combination of social restrictions (lockdown) and isolation of those reasonably expected to be most

Keeping 'first things first' during a crisis

In times of crisis an organisation is stripped to essentials. Its priorities and what it really believes are laid bare. Nice-to-haves give way to must-haves. Leadership language becomes militaristic, directive and an organisation’s leaders receive praise for their ability to take quick steps to ensure organisational survival. An organisation's stated values might not even come up during times of crisis. This means that things like diversity, equality, mental wellbeing or safeguarding, which are difficult to navigate at the best of times, can fall right off the table when times are tough. While we know that crises magnify vulnerabilities, marginalisation and discrimination we often don't cons

Remote Management - beyond remote working

Now that most organisations are working remotely the term ‘remote management’ is being increasingly used. But what is remote management and how can organisations successfully implement it? In this two-part series we’ll examine 5 key components that lead to effective remote management and 5 key tools they need to make it work in practice. What is remote management? Remote management is a style of management which occurs when the managers of a project or programme are not in the same location as the people they manage. This creates a variety of challenges that need to be considered and addressed. Humanitarian and development NGOs are well versed in remote management as it’s been necessary i

Remote Management - practical tools to make it work

Last week we looked at the 5 key components to lead effective remote management and this week we follow up with 5 key tools that organisations need to use to make it work in practice. These 5 tools look directly at the programme level and what needs to be part of any successful remote management plan.   The following recommendations should be used as a GUIDE only, the exact changes each organisation will need to have in place to successfully manage their programming remotely will vary. 1. Planning Not all programmes – or all parts of all programmes – can be delivered remotely. An honest conversation about this can prevent a lot of frustration in the long run. It could be that the remaining

Good contingency planning during COVID-19

Good contingency planning always needs a framework from which to plan and Covid_19 is no different. In this article we’ll share analysis on how the operating environment may change over the next 18 months and what you can do now to respond effectively. Safer Edge has been analysing reports from Imperial College’s Centre for Infectious Disease Analysis, the WHO and the CDC,  alongside advice from our own team of experts to establish that framework. As with all continuity planning there’s no guarantee these scenarios will arise, but as with all continuity planning it always pays to prepare. One graph most people in the UK will have seen is Imperial College’s modelling on how different rest

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