A practical tool for humanitarian workers

All In Dairy, a resource for aidworkersAll In Dairy, an online resource for humanitarian field workers, aims at improving the quality and appropriateness of relief work. They cover sections on humanitarian principles, disaster preparedness and response, how to start projects, working with communities, managing people.

They just published a PDF version of their "manual", which looks like an excellent introduction to humanitarian work as a whole, and not just a reference guide for aid workers.

It reminds me of the fact that few humanitarian organisations offer induction courses for new aid and development workers. How often does it not happen people are recruited and after a two hours brief at HQ, are sent off to the field, without even the basic information? How far does that not lower the effectiveness of aid and development?

I think I was lucky. I started as an aidworker back in 1994 through the International Red Cross (IFRC to be exact). Before they even hired me, I had to follow a one week induction course with all other candidates for international missions (together with candidates from ICRC). The week covered the basic foundations of aid and humanitarian work, the principles of neutrality and impartiality, staff safety, how the organisation worked and an introduction into ALL aspects of the technical work: water and sanitation, working with refugees, organising a camp, finance and procurement rules, communications, press relations etc..
After that one week, candidates were re-interviewed and either accepted for missions, or rejected.

Since then I worked for several other humanitarian organisations, but never got another induction course.

In my opinion, induction courses are a must, and this manual should have a place in it.

I have updated my reference post How to become an aidworker? with this new find.


Voegtli 28 June, 2009 16:13  

Thanks for the hint. I have downloaded it. It will be useful, I am sure.

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