The course was a fantastic introduction to the humanitarian principles and conventions. I was already familiar with the Sphere standards, because I’d used them in the past (as they relate to environmental compliance, e.g. the number of people that could use one latrine). I also knew of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) - but I hadn’t really connected it to anything ‘bigger’. So although I was familiar with some of the tools, the training crystallised a lot of things for me. I was eager to learn as much as I could, in a condensed way, with a nice group and with really good trainers.
Basic humanitarian principles like neutrality and impartiality are so relevant to our work. Neutral and impartial service delivery is vital, but not always easy. When you’re working on the ground and you get close to beneficiaries, there is sometimes an unequal distribution of services. When we ensure the humanitarian principles are respected, we’re providing a better service: the team can engage positively, and maintain neutrality and impartiality, when they’re escalating beneficiaries’ requests and concerns.
It was also great to learn about coping mechanisms and stress management, and child protection issues. We come across these a lot in our work: cases of abuse, and burnout among volunteers. I’ve definitely applied this knowledge. For example, I hired a clinical supervisor for my team to manage burnout and stress issues, because I learnt during the training, and then saw for myself, how disastrous these can be for the team. So that’s something I maybe wouldn’t have done without the training.