A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Comment woes and other news

I’ve been upgrading the comment system (with JS-Kit) and have run in to a few problems. Comment input and moderation work well so I am getting your comments. Unfortunately inline comments (and comment counts) do not show up in the blog proper nor do comment counts. Please bear with me while I get this sorted out.

Meanwhile you can take a look at the newly formatted aid worker fatalities list and let me know what you think.

Maps and charts will also be added soon (soon = after I work out the comments issue). You can check out a sample of what the maps will probably look like here.

CARE Safety and Security Handbook Removed Update

At the request of CARE I've deleted all links to the CARE Safety and Security Handbook. The handbook remains available at the CARE website if you are seeking it. You can also find it at any number of other public sites.

This may also be a good time to remind everyone that this is a personal blog that represents my viewpoints and mine alone. It does NOT/NOT represent the views of any organization that I have worked for, work for, or may work for in the future.

All copyrighted material linked to remains the property of the respective copyright holders.


Posts on Patronus Analytical have been a little sparse lately as we've been busy relocating from Sri Lanka to Afghanistan. It wasn't exactly an easy move but hopefully things should be a little more settled now and I should be able to resume regular (or at least semi-regular posts).

The Analysis Gap

There is a real gap in the availability of good analytical training and resources for NGO security officers. Most NGO security manuals introduce the topic by stressing the importance of good analysis and an understanding of the local context. They might then go on to briefly cover actor mapping, and if we are lucky incident plotting. Beyond that the reader is left to his or her own devices.

Admittedly there have been a number of recent analytical studies that examine the patterns of violence against NGOs. These studies come replete with multiple regression analysis and complex equations like this one; "Sec100k = -1.384 + 1.691*BorderPak + -0.00011*Poppy + 0.036*Homeradio". I’m sure these studies are useful for developing policy and keeping underemployed academics out of the soup lines. However, they are unlikely to provide much solace when the country director wants to know how he can safely keep program running despite the recent spate of IED attacks.

In order to try and address these shortcomings I am opening the conversation on security analysis for NGOs. We’ll start with simple, robust, and inexpensive tools and techniques that can be used anywhere under any conditions. We’ll also examine more advanced tools that take advantage of the latest in ICT.

Anyone who wants to share tips and techniques should feel free to do so. It doesn’t matter to me whether you do your analysis on the back of an empty cigarette package under a sputtering lantern or on the latest networked GIS platform in a brightly light office. The goal is to identify and share best practices and to encourage the development of new tools and techniques.

I'll post the first technique shortly.

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