A Thoughtful, Analytical Approach to NGO Security

Vacancy - Security Coordinator - Darfur

Relief International is still looking to fill its Security Coordinator position in Darfur. The pay is a bit on the low side but if you are looking for a job in a challenging country this could be just the thing. See below for details.

Note: I just post these jobs. I don’t do the recruiting. Read the application directions carefully. Writing to me won’t help you get the job.

JOB TITLE: Security Coordinator: Darfur

LOCATION: Khartoum, El Fasher, Kabkabiya, Zam Zam Camp (base, El Fasher)

DURATION: 12 months renewable

Relief International (RI) is an international relief and development agency with cross-sectoral programs bridging relief and development, operational in 16 countries.
RI is recruiting an experienced Security Coordinator to manage security in its programme in Darfur.
Established in 2004, RI’s North Darfur program serves 500,000 of the most vulnerable including 200,000 IDPs and their host communities. Sector activities include health, nutrition, livelihoods, food security, agriculture, women’s development, and emergency relief. RI currently maintains field offices in Kabkabiya and El Fasher in North Darfur and a Country Office in Khartoum.

Working in partnership with local staff, the Security Coordinator will be responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring RI’s safety and security policies and procedures for Darfur and Khartoum levels, while creating a strong culture of security among all RI staff. S/he will be responsible for providing security training and capacity building support to teams on the ground as well as striving to prevent and actively leading response to security incidents, building security networks in country, and providing other technical support as required.

The post is based in El Fasher with regular travel to other project sites and routine reconnaissance in Khartoum.

• Review and update country security plans on a bi-annual basis
• Undertake situation and security risk assessments on an ongoing basis
• Develop, implement, and monitor standard operating procedures
• Develop and regularly review contingency plans for hibernation, relocation and evacuation
• Regularly review alert levels and change as necessary
• Devise innovative strategies for enabling safe programming and access to beneficiaries in insecure environments
• Ensure the participation of relevant local staff in the development and implementation of security policies, procedures, and analysis
• Monitor staff compliance with RI security procedures
• Work with Country Directors and Desk Officers to ensure that security assessments, mitigation strategies, and costs are included in all new funding proposals
• Provide leadership and guidance on safety and security related matters to local staff
• Create a culture of security awareness
• Oversee mainstreaming of security throughout RI programmes in Darfur and in the country office in Khartoum
• Using participatory methodologies, deliver regular security awareness and management training to local staff, based on their needs
• Build relationships with local and regional security actors and networks for information sharing and coordination
• Represent RI at local and regional security forums
• Build relationships with local security counterparts for information & coordination
• Monitor the security situation in Darfur and Khartoum, analysing and disseminating information and recommendations
• Ensure country programmes are compliant with RI’s MOSS (currently in development)
• Point of contact for all safety and security related incidents, providing immediate during and post incident support and coordination
• Submission of incident reports
• Post incident analysis and procedural revision where necessary
• Manage travel assessment, sign off, and coordination
• Ensure RI offices and guest houses have appropriate protection measures in place
• Manage RI drivers to ensure safe vehicles and driving practices
• Manage guards to ensure high levels of compound security
• Develop and conduct security inductions for all incoming staff
• Provide weekly security briefing to staff and build capacity of local security focal point to do this in their absence
• Provide written weekly security reports to the country office and spot reports/analysis in writing where requested


• A minimum of 3 years international security management experience
• Of this, at least 2 years NGO security management experience
• Experience managing security in insecure environments
• Regional experience essential
• Experience developing and implementing NGO safety and security polices and procedures
• Experience conducting security risk assessments
• Strong assessment and analysis skills
• Ability to provide high quality security training to local staff
• Proven experience of managing and developing local security capability
• Familiar with the challenges of remote management
• Experience managing safety and security incidents
• Demonstrable experience of creating a culture of security awareness
• Demonstrated knowledge of UN, ECHO, MOSS and other standard INGO security frameworks
• Participatory approach to policy and procedure development
• Sensitivity to and understanding of local Islamic culture
• Rational, considered and informed approach to decision-making
• Proven ability to develop effective working relationships with local staff and external stakeholders
• Willingness to travel frequently, often at short notice
• Experience living and working in diverse cultural contexts in a culturally appropriate manner
• Experience living and working in insecure and remote areas
• Ability to work well under pressure in challenging conditions
• Fluency in spoken and written English

• Degree in a security, humanitarian or development-related discipline
• Completion of recognised security management course
• Knowledge of Arabic and / or local Sudanese language


Duty Station: El Fasher with at least 50% travel to Khartoum, Kabkabiya and Zam Zam
Salary: $45,600
Period: 12 months renewable
Post status: This is an unaccompanied post
Reports to: Country Director
Benefits: Flight to and from posting at commencement and cessation of contract; Accommodation and transport provided; Daily living allowance; Travel and medical insurance (including medical evacuation); 6 days R&R for every 8 weeks worked and travel stipend in addition to annual leave


Please send a CV (not more than 3 pages) and a cover letter (not more than 2 pages) explaining how you meet the person specification to hrsecurity@ri.org

The successful candidate will be expected to comply with RI’s Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy

Two aid workers kidnapped in Darfur

Two aid workers with the aid group Goal, were kidnapped in Sudan's western Darfur region on 3 July 2009. Goal chief John O'Shea identified the two women as Sharon Commins (32), from Clontarf, Ireland and Hilda Kawuki (40) from Uganda.

The pair were seized by armed men from their compound in the northern Darfur town of Kutum shortly after dark. Their Sudanese guard was also taken during the incident but he was later released.

The incident followed a growing trend in Darfur kidnappings; foreign aid workers being seized from their compounds shortly after dark by well prepared teams of armed men. Compound walls and unarmed guards can do very little to deter this type of attack.

More: Irish aid worker kidnapped in Darfur

FAR aid worker killed in Sudan

On 23 March, Adam Khatir, a Sudanese aid worker with Fellowship of African Relief, was shot dead by gunmen at his home in Kongo Haraza, Sudan. According to Mark Simmons, FAR’s country director, “He was ambushed on Saturday by men who wanted his Thuraya satellite telephone. They came to his home on Monday evening to take the phone, but it wasn't there. The armed men then opened fire on him."

On 21 February
two aid workers with Aide Médicale Internationale were killed when gunmen attacked a public bus near Nyala.

FAR Saddened by Death of Staff Member in Darfur
Sudanese aid worker shot dead in Darfur

Five aid workers kidnapped in Darfur

Three international aid workers with Medecins Sans Frontieres Belgium were kidnapped on Wednesday from their offices in Darfur, Sudan according to an MSF statement. MSF identifies the trio as a Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor and a French coordinator. Two Sudanese staff were also seized but were quickly released.

The kidnapping took place in Serif Umra in north Darfur, where MSF Belgium runs a health clinic and dispensary.

While MSF France and MSF Netherlands were among the thirteen aid groups expelled from Darfur last week MSF Belgium was not. The Swiss and Spanish branches of MSF also remain in Darfur.

More: International aid workers kidnapped in Darfur
Foreign Aid Workers Kidnapped In Darfur

Note: I’m on the road right now so can’t really give this incident the attention it deserves. Check out the sidebar for timely news and opinion on Darfur.

Update: The three kidnapped MSF staff have been identified as Laura Archer, Mauro D'Ascanio and Raphael Meonier.

Sudan Rumours

Rumours and breaking news from Sudan:

* A mob burnt vehicles parked outside an INGO compound in Khartoum
* @robcrilly reports NGO staff held at gunpoint by national security in Nyala as they were trying to leave for airport.
* Delays for exit visas
* Some foreigners have had trouble trying to get laptops out of Sudan over the last couple of days. I recommend you sanitize your hard drive before trying to get it out of the country.

Rob Crilly is in Sudan at the moment. Follow him on Twitter (@robcrilly) for a journalists perspective of events.

Update to Darfur violence - Bombing in El Fasher

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a Sudanese rebel group, is reporting to local media that Government of Sudan (GOS) aircraft bombed an area near El Fasher on 26 January.

According to this US Embassy in Khartoum warden message the GOS has cancelled all flights to El Fasher airport:

U.S. Embassy KhartoumJanuary 26, 2008This Warden Message alerts U.S. citizens to fighting outside of El Fasher and other areas of Darfur between government and rebel forces. The Government of Sudan has cancelled all flights to/from El Fasher airport for January 26. The US Embassy urges all U.S. citizens in the Darfur region to take maximum security precautions, monitor news reports, and remain in a safe location until the situation stabilizes. U.S. citizens traveling in Sudan despite the current Travel Warning should register their presence in Sudan with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Department of State's website (http://travel.state.gov/) and obtain updated information regarding travel and security within Sudan. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Sharia Ali Abdul Latif, Khartoum; tel. (249-183)774-700/1/2/3 (outside Sudan); tel (0183) 774-700/1/2/3 (inside Sudan). Americans may contact Embassy by phone or email KhartoumConsular@state.gov. For emergencies, please call the Embassy and ask to be connected to the duty officer.

MSF forced to relocate by South Darfur violence

On 15 January, following heavy fighting in Muhajariya, South Darfur, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was forced to temporarily relocate most of its medical team to Nyala.

According to a recent MSF article the MSF base in Muhajariya has since been completely destroyed by fire. Fortunately the MSF clinic remains functional and a skeleton crew of local staff are attempting to provide basic services despite the risks.

The security situation in the Muhajariya area remains far from clear. Fighting between government forces and the Justice and Equality Movement has made delivery of aid very difficult. UNAMID is trying to fill the humanitarian void left after the withdrawal of the other humanitarian organizations.

Further complicating the situation, local civilians and ‘some’ combatants have taken refuge at UNAMID camps. This clearly endangers the safety and security of UNAMID troops and those civilians seeking refuge in the camps.

Although Sudanese officials have not directly linked the current attacks with the impending indictment of Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court, Sudanese government officials have repeatedly threatened recriminations against civilians, peacekeepers, aid workers and others in the event of an arrest warrant.

Vacancy - Programme Manager Staff Safety - Darfur

RedR has a position for an NGO security trainer/manager to support NGO activities in Darfur.

Vacancy - NGO Security Officer - Darfur

American Refugee Committee International (ARC) has a vacancy for an NGO Security Officer in Darfur, Sudan.

Vacancy - NGO Safety and Security Officer - Sudan

Mercy Corps is seeking an NGO Security Officer to fill a six month position in Darfur. Yes, Darfur is still there, it still has big problems, and it still needs good NGO security officers.

Vacancy - NGO Security Officer (ARC) - Darfur

The American Refugee Council International is seeking an NGO Security Officer to serve as the security focal point and security advisor for ARC country operations in Darfur.

Desired Qualifications:

• 5 years field security related experience with humanitarian agencies and/or military/peacekeeping experience in insecure and/or hostile environments.
• 2 years supervising national staff.
• Training skills and experience in security/safety related subjects such as threat/risk assessment, security management, personal & organization security awareness, and incident analysis.
• Competency and training experience in field based communications systems such as Codan, IKOM, Barrett, HG, Motorola, BHF, fixed and mobile satellite systems.
• Sudan or Africa experience preferred.
• Ability to work under pressure in an unstable security environment and excellent English oral and written communication skills.

more details

Darfur 'No Fly Zone'?

According to sources the Government of Sudan is creating a 'no fly zone' for UN and humanitarian operations in Darfur. There are contradictory reports of airport closures and the grounding of flights. Nyala and El Fasher airstrips were closed on 13 May.

NGO security advisors are advised to reassess their medical evacuation plans for Darfur. The lack of reliable aeromedical evacuation capability increases the threat to life and limb of even relatively minor medical events.

Vacancy - Safety and Security Coordinator - Sudan

IRC is looking for a safety and security coordinator to support its operations in West Sudan. The position is based in El Fasher but the incumbent will be expected to support sites across Darfur so travel will be extensive.


A formal security qualification or appropriate security management training.
Practical field experience in staff safety & security management in an NGO in an area of conflict.
Previous UN and/or NGO experience.
3 to 5 years security related experience with humanitarian agencies, military or peacekeeping experience.
Previous overseas experience in conflict and/or post conflict environments.
Competency and training experience in field based communications systems such as Codan and VHF radio, Motorola and fixed and mobile satellite systems.
Instructor level experience in the training of security/safety related subjects.
Experience in management and building capacity of staff.
Computer proficiency in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and ideally in Access and other database/mapping systems.
Willingness to travel extensively in Darfur (60-70% of work time).
Proven ability and experience interacting with all parties while upholding humanitarian principles like impartiality and neutrality.
Strong interpersonal skills.
Excellent English oral and written communication skills.
Arabic skills a plus.

Darfur, Afghanistan, Beer, and Breakfast

Google Trends can be a useful tool for context analysis. If you've ever wondered why your security budget is dwindling despite the rise in security incidents or why the head office seems to have forgotten you it can be a pretty useful tool.

For those who haven't seen it before Google Trends compares the relative Google search frequency of up to five user specified terms. For example if you want to compare relative search interest in various hot beverages you might enter "coffee, tea, cocoa" and press search. Google Trends returns a nice neat chart that shows how many searches were made for each term over time. It also shows a "news reference volume" chart, or in other words the frequency with which the term has shown up in the media.

Relative frequency of search terms Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo and Sweden

The chart above was generated when I compared relative interest in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Congo, with Sweden as a control.
The results were pretty interesting. Searches for Iraq seem to correspond with increases in media coverage. No surprises there. The big surprise for me was Sweden. Google user are more interested in Sweden than they are in Darfur, Afghanistan, and the Congo. Talk about forgotten conflicts!

Flag B is interesting. It marks George Bush's call for more NATO troops in Afghanistan and clearly shows an increase in media coverage of Afghanistan. It even overtook coverage of Iraq for a short while. However, the general public took no notice.

Headlines associated with country comparison

Relative search frequency by region

The regions chart is enlightening. Americans are predominantly interested in Iraq and seem to have forgotten about Afghanistan. The Canadians, who have troops in Afghanistan but not Iraq seem equally interested in both countries. And finally, the Swedes seem to be totally obsessed with Sweden.


Not without trepidation replaced Sweden with "beer" in my search terms. I shouldn't have. I now know that your average computer using westerner is more interested in beer than they are in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. "Darfur?... never heard of it... do they have good beer?"

If you are feeling particularly masochistic try breakfast or worse boobs. For a brief while in 2004 your average Google user was more interested in what was happening in Iraq than what they were going to have for breakfast. That aberration hasn't repeated itself since. Its also interesting to note that while American's seem equally fascinated by Iraq and breasts, Canadians have a distinct preference for the later.

"...we keep them alive, until they are massacred."

The Carnegie Council has an interesting presentation by Jan Egeland, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, in which he introduces his book, "A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report From the Frontlines of Humanity". Its all good but a couple of quotes really caught my attention.

Jan Egeland on the need for more than just humanitarian aid:

"...in the old days, they said, "Send the Marines." Now it's, "Send the humanitarians. They will keep them alive, and we can maybe forget about it." Well, we keep them alive, until they are massacred."

Jan on humanitarian security in a post UN Bahgdad bombing world:

"...it is a watershed when we go from just preparing ourselves to survive in crossfire with militias, with child soldiers, with drunken soldiers, with mines, and so on—we have lots of procedures to survive in such circumstances, but we do not know how to survive when a well-financed, ruthless organization plans for one month to kill you."

You can watch a video excerpt of the presentation below.

If you have good bandwidth you can watch the full video presentation...
or you can listen to the audio archive...
or if your connection is very slow take a look at the transcript.

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