Read the IIHA Humanitarian Newsletter featuring a Humanitarian Spotlight on “Ecuador Earthquake Response: IDHA Alumni Working Together in the Field;” news about the recent work of IIHA Helen Hamlyn Senior Fellow Alexander van Tulleken, M.D.; and a wide array of alumni updates, humanitarian events and job opportunities! This edition also features news of CIHC Board Member Lady Helen Hamlyn’s recent visit to Fordham University, World Humanitarian Summit Updates, and the always interesting Humanitarian Innovation Corner of High Tech Humanitarians!
Monthly Archives: May 2016
The comprehensive training package on the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in forced displacement, developed jointly with International Organization for Migration IOM, covers a wide variety of topics, including terminology, international law, communication, operational protection, conducting interviews, durable solutions, health, and refugee status determination, all with a focus on practical guidance for UNHCR and partner organizations. Through a series of field tests undertaken in 2015, UNHCR staff from around the world have helped to refine these materials to ensure that they are operationally relevant globally. All modules include a facilitation guide, participant workbook, and presentation, which can be downloaded. In addition to the main modules, short versions of the foundation topics, including a webinar that allows staff members to do basic self-study, are part of the training package. The training package includes general and module-specific guidance for facilitators, as well as other training aides, to promote the use of these materials in the field.
James Tan (IDHA 44) of Rescue & Relief International recently shared a post with the IIHA: “Remembering the devastated but resilient Nepalese communities that RRI had the privilege of serving and befriending, one year on….”
Matthew Hollingworth (IDHA 1) was featured in an article, “WFP Raises Alarm Over Threats to Fragile Syria Truce” from the DailyMail.com. His comments stress how an end to the ceasefire will exacerbate already existing challenges to accessing vulnerable populations, putting even more lives at risk.
Timo Luege’s (IDHA 21) most recent article “Telecoms cluster strategy emphasizes #Commisaid but raises questions” has been posted on his blog, Social Media for Good and talks about the 2015 Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) goals and how they will attempt to improve humanitarian response efforts by the year 2020.
Guayaquil, Ecuador (Wilson Gomez Vascones) – On Saturday April 16th at 6:58 PM, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador; many local efforts started immediately, and in the days to follow, many governments and international organizations began arriving with different types of assistance. The organization that I coordinate here in Guayaquil, Red de Voluntariado Juvenil (“Youth Volunteering Network”), started planning how to best assist with food, shelter management, and also medical assistance in the sectors.
Within the first few days of the Earthquake response, Rahul Singh, Executive Director of GlobalMedic and the International Rapid Response Team from Canada, contacted me to offer support and assistance right away. Rahul and I had met during the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance (IDHA) Training Course in June 2013, and have since collaborated on building local capacity here in Ecuador. Rahul and I agreed that his team would arrive by Monday night while I worked on securing the necessary permission to operate on ground zero.
The experience that Rahul brought with him – experience gained through his assistance and support of various agencies in disasters and humanitarian emergencies – was invaluable. We visited every coordination table to assist with different relief operations and in addition to experience and knowledge, GlobalMedic assisted Ecuador in its Earthquake relief efforts by providing: the R4 incorporated finders team who, in coordination of Durán Fire Department, worked the whole week on Search and Rescue tasks confirming there were no longer victims under the rubble; AR10 units that produce 2400 liters/hour of potable water, AR3 units which are several trekkers that purify water by 240 liters/hour, and1,000 buckets of fresh rain that produce 3 liters/hour and work best for families; and several thousands of aquatabs. GlobalMedic also provided a specialty group of drone pilots that flew over the affected areas mapping the areas and allowing for real time information and data to ensure the best resources for decision makers. This effort was done in coordination with the Secretariat of Disaster Risk Reduction (SGR) who requested the areas be mapped, and with the Ecuadorian Air Force that cleared the requested areas so the drones could fly without risks.
The Red de Voluntariado Juvenil continued the programs that were running while providing essential logistics and coordination support to GlobalMedic. Now we have around 300 volunteers in the affected areas obtaining information for the next part of the interventions which will be to build houses with partner organizations such as Techo and Hogar de Cristo. The partner organizations also invited Fronteras, a Jesuit spirituality community that looks to serve the people in need where needed the most, to share their knowledge on accompaniment in order to serve better.
It has being a great experience to work together with Rahul as IDHA alumni, and all the knowledge gained and shared during the IDHA back in 2013 has assisted us greatly in our work. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate and we continue to build more great relationships with every course we take through the IIHA.
UNHCR Resource Update: The Global Report “Protecting Persons with Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities”
This is the UNHCR’s first global overview of progress made in protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and inter-sex (LGBTI) asylum-seekers, refugees, and others of concern. The report is a significant contribution to UNHCR’s efforts to fill the information gap about the situation of LGBTI persons of concern to the Office, and it offers a blueprint for UNHCR to bolster LGBTI-inclusive protection programming. The key findings presented in the report are derived from an extensive review of protection activities undertaken by 106 UNHCR operations around the world, covering the following thematic areas: legal, cultural, and social context; identification and outreach activities; asylum and displacement conditions; refugee status determination and durable solutions; training on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity; and, operational guidelines and advocacy efforts. The report identifies strengths and gaps in the protection of LGBTI persons of concern to UNHCR and concludes by proposing a way forward, which may be of broad interest to a diverse group of stakeholders, including UNHCR staff, other agencies of the United Nations, and governmental and non-governmental partners. Among the conclusions of the report, the following emerge as particularly critical areas for future attention both by UNHCR staff and other relevant stakeholders:
a. Train UNHCR and partner staff on sexual orientation and gender identity and the particular protection risks that displaced LGBTI people face, and specific means to address them.
b. Promote the creation of “safe spaces”, where persons of concern feel supported to express their sexual orientation and gender identity.
c. Develop partnerships with national and international LGBTI organisations and networks and with LGBTI people from refugee and host communities.
d. Explore possibilities for systematic data collection on asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
e. Establish systems for identifying LGBTI refugees in need of resettlement, and ensure that LGBTI refugees are included in discussions with resettlement countries.
In the meantime, HTH and the IIHA welcome a new member to its family: Petros Ioannides! A former Columbia University student, Petros will support HTH communications and strategy implementation, and develop his own project to contribute to humanitarian innovation.
HTH continues its positive outreach trend: HTH attended the first ETC Connect Day in Washington, D.C., that brings together Emergency Telecommunications Cluster members, standing invitees, and existing and new private sector partners to tackle the cluster’s 2020 strategy, developing pilot projects, garnering further commitment and defining the way forward for technology in humanitarian response. In Istanbul, HTH and IIHA were selected to join the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) Innovation Marketplace, the aim of which is to showcase the practical applications of innovations, new or improved products, tools, services and processes that contribute to effective humanitarian action.
What about you: Do you know of any events you want HTH to be part of? Are you aware of anyone who does? Are you in New York, D.C., Boston or Istanbul and want to meet to explore ideas for cooperation? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The community-based protection online community of practice facilitates peer learning and the exchange of experience between humanitarian and protection actors around the world. The community of practice brings together resources from UNHCR and other community-based protection actors, including tools, guidelines, videos, training material and examples of successful field practices. Specific thematic areas include age, gender and diversity, accountability to affected populations, and persons with specific needs. On the community of practice you will also find the first two issues of the new “Community-Based Protection in Action” series of thematic briefs, which aim to support the operationalization of community-based protection. The first two briefs cover the following topics: community centres and community-based outreach outside of camps. The community of practice is public and its resources are available to anyone interested in community-based protection. However, to truly make this a vibrant platform for peer learning and information sharing, the platform has been made available for anyone to upload material, share experiences, leave comments, and interact with other members. To do so, the sign up is possible here.