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With regular contributions from the GISF Secretariat and guest experts, the GISF Blog explores a range of topical, contextual and theoretical developments affecting the practice of humanitarian SRM.

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Can space-based technology enhance the security of aid workers?

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

With humanitarian aid delivery being carried out by workers on the ground, remote sensing technology can be used to better coordinate efforts and to generally build up a better response to emergencies. It could also provide security risk managers with valuable information that can be used to increase the safety of workers in the delivery of aid.

30 Jun 2015

Improving coordination in humanitarian aid: reflections on the cluster system

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

Effective coordination is the key to the delivery of a successful humanitarian aid response, as it allows different actors working in the same area to share information and harmonise interventions, thus proving better support to people in need and to aid workers in the field.

17 Jun 2015

Working group for emergency telecommunications: GISF presentation at the ICT Humanitarian Innovation Forum

Acceptance, Context Analysis, Equipment, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management

On April 30, GISF Executive Coordinator Lisa Reilly and Researcher Raquel Vazquez Llorente presented the publication Communications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery at the 36th Forum of the Working Group for Emergency Telecommunications (WGET) in Dubai. This was the first time the WGET included a session on humanitarian security. The content of the presentation is now available.

30 May 2015

Can standardised hashtags be effective in emergency responses?

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

Standardised hashtags can be used by governments and aid organisations to distribute information to the public, and respond to urgent needs and requests. The hashtags should be used interactively, coordinated and collaborated with between the sectors. Twitter users then tweet with the respective hashtags to notify governments and aid agencies about needs of affected communities and urgent requests.

24 Mar 2015

Evaluating Ebola: the politics of the military response narrative

Acceptance, Civil-Military, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

In her op-ed, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik suggests that humanitarians must pay keen attention to the post-Ebola narrative of military victory that is currently emerging. To see the deployment of military personnel, strategies and tactics as the game changer is unfair, because it invisibilises the resilience of the nationals of Ebola affected countries, as well as the efforts of local health workers and (some) humanitarians to address and control the outbreak. However, this narrative also has important strategic consequences for patterns of funding and intervention in future health emergencies.

16 Mar 2015

Hostage taking: new tool for media impact

Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

Kidnapping and the consequent use of hostages is hardly a new method for terrorist organisations to express their defiance towards enemy states, or even hostile home states. What differentiates current hostage situations from those of the past is the way in which they have been adapted to today’s information society. It seems that terrorist groups have found a new use for hostages: propaganda.

23 Feb 2015

Journalists and aid agencies: the opportunities and limitations of embedding

Acceptance, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, Safety

On Tuesday 10 February the Frontline Club partnered with GISF to host an event on embedding journalism with aid agencies with a discussion by an expert panel. The evening was entitled ‘Embedding with Aid Agencies: Editorial Integrity and Security Risks’.

17 Feb 2015

Planning for uncertainty: Nigeria’s elections

NGO Security Management

Nigeria’s power dynamics are more complex than the north/south, Christian/Muslim, rich/poor dichotomies often presented. Whoever wins the election there are multiple competing scenarios that may emerge and NGOs cannot map, let alone plan for, all of them. When confronted by an array of threats, most of which you have limited to no influence over, one solution is to do the routine things well and focus on your capacity to react.

9 Feb 2015

Fighting hate speech in Myanmar: are mobile and digital technologies the right tool?

Context Analysis, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues

The looming 2015 elections have heightened religious tensions in Myanmar. Hate speech has intensified and became more common and aggressive on blogs, web forums and Facebook pages. Hateful and inflammatory comments have served political groups as a tool to dehumanise Muslims. Considering the country’s political, social and religious context, we explore some challenges that projects monitoring inflammatory speech in blogs, forums, online newspapers and social media platforms might face in Myanmar.

27 Jan 2015

Difficulties of delivering aid in Northeast Nigeria: Boko Haram, vigilantes and other challenges

Civil-Military, Context Analysis, Humanitarian Programmatic Issues, NGO Security Management, Safety

Fighting to establish an Islamic ‘Caliphate’, Boko Haram hit the UN compound in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in 2011, killing 18. After the UN attack, President Goodluck Jonathan ‘reaffirmed his government’s “total commitment” to combating terrorism.’ In early 2013, Boko Haram gunmen killed nine polio workers, one of the deadliest attacks against aid workers in the region. Recent attacks in Baga and Doron Baga, where approximately 2,000 civilians were killed have further increased security difficulties for humanitarian organisations. Located in the Northeastern tip of Nigeria, humanitarian agencies have been unable to reach the destroyed towns since the attack due to the unstable situation.

21 Jan 2015