Tag Archives: IDHA Alumni

Reflection from Mohamed Idan, IDHA 23 Alumnus

I first learned about the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance course for aid workers and professional humanitarian actors in 2006. It seemed, on paper, as if the IDHA was especially designed for a person like myself: working in the developing world and searching to bring additional knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. That would turn out to be true.

I attended IDHA 23, held in Nairobi in November 2007, on a scholarship. That generosity has enabled me to pass on to my own people – and others throughout the region – a skillset and way of looking at problems resulting in sustainable solutions. The course changed my whole conception of what it means to be a professional humanitarian aid worker. I honestly can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the professional courses of the IDHA.

I was surprised when I was first told of IDHA founder Dr. Kevin Cahill’s familiarity with Somalia and Somaliland – advising top officials of various governments since the 1960s and more importantly, always assisting the people on the ground. I was surprised in the sense that many people have come to “help” and then gone on to the next crisis. Few have kept a consistent relationship for over a half-century. That is what friendship and  “humanitarian action” should mean. And that is what the IDHA courses mean as well. Dr. Cahill’s founding in 1994, with his friend and colleague, the honored Elder Abdulrahim Abby Farah, was a further continuation of that friendship. After the civil war ended, Dr. Cahill, Abdulrahim Abby Farah and the CIHC were able to fill a gap in the field at a time when the people of Somaliland needed such an organization. A problem was assessed and a solution utilizing the skills of the people of Hargeisa was found.

Personally, undergoing the IDHA 23 diploma shed light on my experiences and career, allowing me to work with many organizations. I have had the opportunity to work with UNESCO and Save the Children, where I became Program Coordinator of Education for Emergencies projects. From there, I went to the International Organization for Migration as Program Officer for Mixed Migration/Counter Human Trafficking. I was later appointed to a national officer post. Currently, I am Head of Office for the International Organization for Migration in the Hargeisa Sub-Office where I supervise 20 national staff implementing six projects, including WASH/Health, institutional capacity building, migration management, emergency assistance, and voluntary return and reintegration programs.

It was the IIHA team’s encouragement and persistence that taught me that I can accomplish what I set out to do and be the finest professional. I also learned to expect these same high standards from my colleagues. I know that I am capable, but it will take hard work and lots of dedication. Your team promoted an environment where I felt like I was able to not only share my contributions but also to know my input was also considered and appreciated. If I can pass that wisdom onto others, the training and support the IIHA offered me was a smart investment.

I have had many teachers in my life and I can honestly say none has inspired me as much as Larry Hollingworth. He really goes the extra mile – sometimes the extra 10 miles – for students.

I hope to become an individual that makes your institution proud, epitomizingthe values the IIHA stands for and by which you have built your highly-regarded reputation.

Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community who need my professional services. I promise you I will work very hard and continue to give back to others, too.

Thank you again for your generosity and support Kevin Cahill.

Mohamed Idan

National Officer/Officer in Charge
Hargeisa Office
IOM Mission for Somalia

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Ruth Jebb, Humanitarian Nurse and IDHA Alumna, Awarded Florence Nightingale Medal for Exceptional Courage and Devotion

Ruth Jebb at work during a cholera outbreak in Torit, South Sudan

July 17, 2017, New York – In her everyday life in Brisbane, Australia, Ruth Jebb (IDHA 37 alumna) works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant at a large tertiary hospital, but when disaster strikes abroad she takes on the role of nurse and midwife as an emergency responder deployed with the Red Cross and the Australian Medical Assistance Team.

Throughout her myriad of deployments she has provided lifesaving care during earthquakes in New Zealand and Nepal, typhoons in the Philippines, conflict in South Sudan, cholera outbreaks in Chad, among other trying situations. More recently, she has focused on training local health care responders in community health provision, psychosocial support, and maternal, neonatal and child health care.

Twelve years after beginning her humanitarian health care career in northern Kenya, Ruth was awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal this past May. The award acknowledges five Australians who have shown “exceptional courage and devotion to the sick, wounded or disabled in conflict or disaster zones.”

She was selected by a commission of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Council of Nurses.

Whether at home or in humanitarian situations abroad, Ruth remains committed to her responsibility to “support, mentor, teach and lead.” However, in humanitarian settings, the distinct lack of access to resources, intense workloads and contextual differences poses a more severe set of challenges.

“Back at home, I often take it for granted that we work in a protected environment, where people are able to access quality health care safely and efficiently. We have all the resources we need to provide care to those who need it. Often, when working in developing contexts and post-disaster environments, it can be heartbreaking hearing the stories of people travelling for days to reach health care facilities, or of those who never make it, often with ailments that require simple life-saving and life-changing interventions.  It can be confronting not being able to provide the same standard of care that we are so accustomed to back home.”

Security issues further impede these efforts, often adding another layer of complexity.

“Although personal safety is a priority it can be incredibly frustrating to be limited by security incidents that are occurring either directly or indirectly, especially when it involves life and death situations amongst the community you are there to assist.”

In 2007, she was deployed on a nine-month mission to manage the ICRC’s Therapeutic Feeding Center in Gereida, Darfur. Home to close to 145,000 internally displaced persons, Gereida was “a challenging mission, not only as a result of the direct impact of looking after so many unwell, undernourished and often dying children, but also because of the ongoing security risks that were a reality of our day-to-day life.”

Ruth recalls one incident when her vehicle was hijacked at gunpoint. She escaped the situation unscathed, but the access the team was allowed to have in that location was consequently impeded, drastically affecting the impact of their mission.

In spite of such challenges, Ruth managed patient intake and triaged thousands of patients in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, the deadliest in the country on record killing 6,300 people. She also coordinated the activities of four Red Cross hospitals and 6 mobile health units following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

On these missions, her main objective has been to offer training to local health care workers in pursuit of more sustainable disaster relief.

“Supporting and prioritizing capacity building is paramount in disaster response.  Not only does mentoring and training become an avenue for relationship building, but it also enhances local capacity for future disaster responses.  Committing to developing the skills and training of the local staff is also key to engagement and acceptance,” she said.

Honored to receive this award, Ruth accredits the motivation for her work to groups like the Australian Red Cross, who have an “unwavering commitment to helping those in need, whether it be locally or in our backyard, or in the context of an international humanitarian crisis.”

“For me the Red Cross embraces the responsibility of placing value upon humanity,” she says.

Ruth Jebb is an alumna of the IIHA’s International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance.

Angela Wells, IIHA Communications Officer

Johanna Lawton, IIHA Communications Intern

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IDHA Alumni Report from the Field: Hungarian Baptist Aid conducts fact finding mission in Erbil, Iraq

HBAIDHungarian Baptist Aid (HBAID) arrived to Erbil to explore more on the current humanitarian and security situation as well as to meet with national and representatives of international humanitarian NGOs working in this region. The aim of this visit is to potentially provide assistance right there at the root of the problem. As known since the Mosul’s military offense has started, the number of civilian and military casualties is continually increasing. There is an urgent need for medical assistance and humanitarian support in this region. According to UNHCR data, since the Mosul offensive began, 2,935 families have been displaced. Up to 1 million people will be affected by the operation in Mosul, and will become IDPs. HBAID is looking into possible assistance programs in the medical field and in the IDP and refugee situation.

As a first step members of the HBAID delegation are in the region to conduct prior assessments in order to understand the situation on the ground better and to meet with officials and possible partner organizations. The aim of these meetings is to find out what help could be efficiently offered by HBAID in the near future.

Anna Szenczy (IDHA 45, MIHA) and Sandor Horvath (IDHA 47) were members of the HBAID delegation.

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Alumni Update: Chantal Kakozi (IDHA 45)

20161031_142149 Chantal Kakozi (IDHA 45) was recently granted asylum in the United States. We extend our congratulations to Chantal on this next step in her journey!

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Alumni Reunion: Vincent Kenny and Fausto Aarya De Santis (IDHA 44)

Fausto and VincentVincent Kenny and Fausto Aarya De Santis, both graduates of (IDHA 44) who also joined the team as IDHA tutors, recently reunited in Dublin, Ireland!

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Alumni Update: Rahul Singh (IDHA 40)

Rahul Singh (IDHA 40)GlobalMedic  Founder and Executive Director,  provided an update to Global News about his organization’s active response in Haiti , and the need for increased aid in the country.

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Alumni Reunion: Dr. Durgavasini Devanath (IDHA 31) and Leo Pattiasina (IDHA 35)

blog-picIDHA alumni Dr. Durgavasini Devanath (IDHA 31) of the IFRC Asia Pacific Regional Office and Leo Pattiasina (IDHA 35) of Palang Merah Indonesia (PMI) recently met as their organizations joined together to organize and facilitate a Community Based Psychosocial Support Training in Penang, Malaysia.

 

 

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IDHA Reunion in Budapest!

Mark Szabó, Dávid Gál, Anna Szenczy, Sándor Horváth

IIHA International Programs Specialist, Suzanne Arnold, recently caught up with Mark Szabó (IDHA 42)Dávid Gál (IDHA 34, MIHA), Anna Szenczy (IDHA 45, MIHA), and Sándor Horváth (IDHA 47) at the Hungarian Baptist Aid offices in Budapest.

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Alumni Update: Timo Luege (IDHA 21)

Late last year, the IIHA helped to disseminate a survey among our networks regarding the current perception and level of understanding about drones in the humanitarian sectorTimo Luege (IDHA 21), who assisted with FSD’s research into the use of drones in humanitarian crises, recently shared with us the survey results .

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Alumni Update: Timo Luege (IDHA 21)

After four months leading a team for the UNHCR Communicating with Communities Team in Greece,  Timo Luege (IDHA 21) is back in Berlin. In his most recent blog posts, Timo talks about why refugees need smartphones , highlights the widespread use and increasing potential of Whatsapp, and reviews and tests  SMS platforms  and influencer outreach platforms  to determine the best platforms for communication and outreach in humanitarian response.

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