Building capacity in Security Incident Information Management

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In recent years, the threats facing aid workers delivering programmes around the world have risen significantly. The Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD) indicates that in 2011 approximately three aid workers lost their lives or were kidnapped every week compared to around five deaths or kidnappings per month in 2001.

Security incidents not only impact directly on aid workers, but also on the beneficiaries they are trying to reach, negatively impacting on humanitarian response.

In this context of increasing insecurity, humanitarian organisations need context-specific information to understand the unique security concerns that put staff at risk and hinder access to beneficiary populations. This information is best gathered through the analysis of pooled humanitarian security incident data, but organisations often find they do not have access to information that would help them improve their decision-making confidence on a strategic level. 

The 21-month Security Incident Information Management (SIIM) project, funded by EU Humanitarian Aid, was launched in December 2016. The project aimed to tackle these issues by bringing together RedR UK’s capacity-building expertise and Insecurity Insight's strong track-record in humanitarian data management. 

Supported by the European Interagency Security Forum, RedR UK and Insecurity Insight worked to build the capacity of NGOs in security-related information management and sharing through the creation of the SIIM handbook, by offering free coaching to organisations without existing incident information management systems and by delivering training to security focal points (SFPs) and security analysts as well as to non-security specialists.

Security Checkpoint. Photo by Michael Ramallah
Security Checkpoint. Photo by Michael Ramallah

The SIIM Handbook

The SIIM Handbook was developed as a guidance document to aid organisations in developing and implementing effective security incident reporting mechanisms. Produced in partnership with Insecurity Insight and EISF, the SIIM handbook is a free downloadable resource sharing best practice, guidelines, tools and recommendations to enhance organisational security incident information management. Recently launched in Arabic, it is also available in English, Spanish and French and to date it has been downloaded over a 1,000 times. To download a free copy, click here.

Since the start of the project, RedR UK has delivered 11 SIIM training courses, reaching over 120 people.  The training courses gave participants the skills and knowledge to improve their Security Incident Information management systems and security preparedness. Topics covered included:

  • Implementing lessons learned for a better prevention
  • Using data to inform decision making at organization level
  • Using data to better understand the humanitarian security context.

RedR UK also gave SIIM coaching to 19 organisations between July 2017 – and April 2018. Delivered online, the broad aim of the programme was to encourage organisations to implement the guidance outlined in the SIIM Handbook to improve their reporting processes and better use the resulting data to improve programme delivery.

Topics covered included:

  • Why is security incident information management so important and what are the challenges that organisations face?
  • Guidance on how to report an incident: what, when, how, and to whom
  • Developing an organisational culture in which reporting is the norm (under reporting is a huge issue due to staff being worried of repercussions)
  • Incident follow up processes and dealing with sensitive cases such as SGBV against staff
  • Analysing incident reports and using them as a learning tool to improve procedures
  • Sharing data across the sector and how this can aid better contextual understanding.
  • Using data to make strategic decisions in programming eg; which countries to operate in.

The coaching gave us a broader understanding of risk management and greater confidence in driving change at all levels of the organization. We are now in a good place to create new policy and commence implementation.

Carrie Pither

Participant in RedR UK'S SIIM Coaching

SIIM Coaching

Carrie Pither from Africa Inland Mission took part in 6 coaching sessions from January – March 2018. Carrie explains why she decided to apply for a place on the programme:

"Although not new to the risk and crisis management arena (both my colleague and I have careers backgrounds in policing/law enforcement) we were both new to overseas security.  This was an ideal opportunity for us to build on our existing knowledge.  In addition, our organisation is currently reviewing its position in relation to risk and crisis and the coaching course was perfect timing for this review and change of direction. Ultimately, security information management is about caring for our staff and business continuity. We are keen to develop our organisation’s incident reporting to assist us in identifying trends, build resilience and manage the placement of our staff."  

The SIIM coaching programme was aimed at organisations hoping to establish or improve their security procedures. Participants were paired up with a security expert who provided tailored guidance and support. Carrie describes her experience of the coaching and the impact it has had on her organization:

"We were delighted with our coach, Colin Walker. Each week he helped us explore and develop a specific aspect of our training.  His expertise and wisdom were second to none and he was keen to share this with us throughout the course duration.  We were also impressed with the administration of the course: professional, organised and friendly. 

During the sessions, our coach expertly guided us through the risk assessment process and we explored together a wide range of Risk Assessment examples/styles. As a result of the training we have set up a Risk Assessment Working Group in order to review and develop our risk assessment processes to ensure that they are the best fit for our staff/personnel and organisational needs.  

The coaching gave us a broader understanding of risk management and greater confidence in driving change at all levels of the organization. We are now in a good place to create new policy and commence implementation."

Download the SIIM Handbook

Download a FREE copy of the SIIM Handbook, available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, along with a series of tools that support security incident information management.