In 2009 I attended the Interaction Forum held in Washington, D.C. The Interaction Forum is the largest gathering of US and international NGOS involved with international development. I met some very interesting people and learned quite a lot. One of the important themes of the conference is that security is increasingly important concern for charities doing international operations – security for your employees, expat workers, national staff and beneficiaries. To summarize, for those who do not want to read more than one paragraph - aid organizations who don’t not take security seriously probably should be getting out of the humanitarian aid area. Your employees will not want to work for you, funders will not want to fund you and you may be unnecessarily endangering the lives of national staff and beneficiaries. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when I reviewed a large CIDA draft contribution agreement - what was interesting was that in project conducted in a moderately dangerous country about 1/4 of the contribution agreement related to security and safety.
One of the speakers on security that I heard was John Schafer of the Security Coordination Unit of Interaction. Mr. Schafer will be speaking in Toronto February 22, 2010 - here is some more information
Here are some interesting resources on security.
NGO Security: Managing Risk in a Changing World (Interaction)
Safety, Security & Aid Workers (AidWorkers Network)
Generic Security Guide (European Community)
Safety and Security of Humanitarian Workers (DFAIT Canada)
Staying alive: safety and security guidelines for humanitarian volunteers in conflict areas
Humanitarian Distance Learning Centre
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND THE PRIVATE SECURITY DEBATE: AN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW PERSPECTIVE
protection: An ALNAP guide for humanitarian agencies
Report on Security of humanitarian personnel: standards and practices for the security of humanitarian personnel and advocacy for humanitarian space.
The Security Management Initiative (SMI)
COURSES ON SECURITY
RedR Certificate in Security Management
Centre for Safety and Development
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.