Kenya: "Security lives in the organisation"

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Caleb Odhiambo works for Save the Children in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.

Established by the Kenyan government in 1991 as a temporary haven for 90,000 people fleeing the fighting in neighbouring Somalia, Dadaab is now home to more than 330,000 refugees, many of whom have been there since the camp opened.

"In Dadaab, security is a key part of the work we do," explains Caleb, who attended RedR's ‘Field Travel Safety’ training in October of this year. "Especially for me as a manager, staff security is a concern. You worry about sending your staff to the field, and that’s where our main work is done. If staff aren’t feeling secure it can have a negative impact on their performance, and even the humanitarian service we provide.

But with training, there comes a level of emotional preparedness," continues Caleb. 

For me, safety and security start in the mind: if I know I’m well equipped to respond then it makes it easy for me to go into a new environment - even one that's insecure.

Caleb Odhiambo

Child Protection Manager in Dadaab with Save the Children

A catalyst for change

Caleb is one of more than 300 aid workers in Kenya who will receive safety and security training as part of RedR’s partnership with the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO), launched in June 2016. During the project's lifespan, RedR will run courses in everything from 'Driver Safety and Basic First Aid' to 'Strategic Security and Crisis Management' for organisations operating in Nairobi and Northern Kenya.

"This is the fourth time we have partnered with INSO, and we’re really pleased with the results so far," says Country Director Sophie Nyokabi. "Participants are consistently assessing their improvement in skills, knowledge and confidence following the training as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

They are reporting improvements in the way they personally manage security - but they've also identified positive changes at organisational level, like improvements in security planning and SOPs (standard operating procedures), the formation of security committees to influence policy and decision-making, and increased budget allocated to security."

"The learning is instant"

Like much of RedR’s training, the course Caleb Odhiambo attended gave participants the opportunity to put their learning into practice through intensive simulation exercises.

 "The benefit of this training was really the practical work," says Caleb. "The learning is instant. And because you’ve engaged in a simulation yourself, you remember it. We find that people are still reflecting today on the exercises that we did, still talking about them and saying [in relation to a security incident], ‘Just imagine if we had done this - what could have happened instead?’ You hear people thinking ahead and saying, ‘What if we had a similar experience here - how would we respond?’ It all comes back to the issue that security lives in the organisation; we realise now that without good security plans even half of what we are doing can’t be achieved."

Our Partners

The INSO-IV project is being implemented with the support of the European Commission - Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).