A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

The NGO security triangle

I’ve noticed that many readers of this blog are new to NGO security. Some are military or police personnel looking to move over to NGO security. Others are aid workers looking to expand their security knowledge. Either way I think that it might be time to review some NGO security basics. I would ask that more experienced readers be patient. Don’t worry, we’ll work our way up to some new ideas shortly.

Let’s start with the classic NGO ‘Security Triangle’. Most NGO’s use this model of risk reduction methodology. Essentially the model proposes that there are three primary means of reducing risk faced by NGO’s and their staff; acceptance, protection and deterrence. This diagram from a Tear Fund security manual sums it up nicely.

security triangle diagram - acceptance, protection, deterrence
Image from Tear Fund’s “Safety in Travel Guide”, April 2006.

Most NGO’s emphasize acceptance, and to some extent protection, over deterrence.

We’ll look at what these terms mean over the next few days. They are not as simple as they might seem at first glance and many people overlook their deeper ramifications.

Teaser: Personally I think it should be the NGO ‘Security Square’.

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