Myanmar: RedR's hands-on training fills a gap
06 April 2016
The opening up of Myanmar has been accompanied by the emergence of a humanitarian and development sector - but for the moment, opportunities for local aid workers to build their skills are very limited. Associate Trainer Samir Maleh explains how RedR’s work in Myanmar is addressing this gap.
Humanitarian assistance has a rather short history in Myanmar, and there are very few opportunities for people to build up the specific skill sets required to do this kind of work. When I was working as Country Director for ACF in Myanmar, one of the main challenges we were facing was the recruitment of qualified staff from within the crisis-affected parts of the country.
I believe humanitarian actors in Myanmar, both national and international, suffer from this absence of specific humanitarian capacity-building initiatives. Expectations of field teams are high: we send them into some very complex and dynamic environments, but we often fail to provide them with the training they need to do their job properly.
In this specific humanitarian context, the application and respect of humanitarian principles and core humanitarian standards is paramount, and a challenge for staff recruited locally. They have never been exposed to these frameworks before and yet they are at the forefront of ensuring their implementation at field level - in a highly sensitive and politicised environment. Most of the humanitarian response to the Kachin conflict, for example, is actually done through local implementing partners who have very little access to humanitarian training and capacity-building.
RedR’s Essentials of Humanitarian Practice
course directly addresses these gaps. When facilitating the course in Yangon, I was impressed by the depth of discussion and the engagement of participants with the subject. Trainees had a real desire to dive into these frameworks, in particular as we were able to relate them directly to the actual work they are doing in Rakhine, Kachin, or Northern Shan States.
RedR’s hands-on training courses provide a rare opportunity for people to learn from actual humanitarian practitioners. Speaking for myself, I have the advantage of being able to use my knowledge and experience of the humanitarian context in Myanmar - as both a trainer, and a humanitarian worker - to adapt courses as closely as possible to the realities participants encounter in the field. This allows them to relate what they learn directly to the work they are doing on the ground.
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