Humanitarian Leadership Academy and LINGOs sign partnership agreement at HPC Africa 2015

HPC Africa 2015 ended on a high note with the signing of a partnership agreement between Chris Lane, Director of Global Operations- Humanitarian Leadership Academy and Chris Proulx, CEO LINGOs. The agreement will see the two institutions collaborate to formulate a learning and development tool for the Academy.

For more updates, follow @LINGOsOrg and @AcademyHum on Twitter

Securing and Sustaining Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflict

NAIROBI – September 17, 2015 – The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Nairobi, in collaboration with Conflict Dynamics International (CDI) officially launched the Practitioners’ Manual on Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflict and The Handbook on the International Normative Framework, at HPC Africa 2015.

Speaking at the event, SDC Regional Director Horn of Africa, Ms. Laila Sheikh stated that Switzerland launched the initiative in 2009 to develop practical resources on humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict. “Switzerland was able to call upon the expertise of some of its longest standing partners: The ICRC – whose expertise on IHL greatly contributed to the Handbook, as well as OCHA – who helped us frame the methodology of the Practitioner’s Manual, and CDI – Conflict Dynamics International – who steered and shaped the entire process.”

Securing and maintaining humanitarian access has been a constant challenge since the birth of modern humanitarianism. Constraints on humanitarian access are enormous and ever growing. The challenges humanitarian staff face are in many cases compounded by a lack of awareness of States, Non-state armed groups and humanitarian organizations – of the international normative framework pertaining to humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict.

The purpose of the Handbook is to lay out the existing international normative framework pertaining to humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict in a simple and straight-forward manner. It is aimed at a broad audience, including States, non-state armed groups, international organizations and humanitarian organizations.

The “Practitioners’ Manual” contributes to the improvement of the operational response. It is designed to support humanitarian practitioners in developing and implementing approaches to improve humanitarian access in situations of armed conflict.

Kenya Government’s Commitment to Humanitarian Partnerships

The Government of Kenya expressed the importance of collaborating with all humanitarian actors in the country in order to improve response and minimize risks. In a speech that was delivered by Director of Special Programs in the State Department for Devolution, Mr. Salim Ali Mola on behalf of the Principal Secretary, it was noted that there is need to reflect on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction that was adopted  in March 2015 in order to help inform and design partnership strategies for enhanced humanitarian action.

Director of Special Programs in the State Department for Devolution, Mr. Salim Ali Mola, opens HPC Africa 2015
Director of Special Programs in the State Department for Devolution, Mr. Salim Ali Mola, opens HPC Africa 2015

Mr. Mola added that the government has undertaken numerous humanitarian preparedness activities whose main aim has been to improve on response and resilience. He cited their partnership with Kenya Red Cross (KRCS) on Disaster Risk Reduction Capacity Building which has reached out to a cross section of vulnerable people who are now better prepared to manage hazards.

He also noted that over the recent past, the nature of disasters has changed to include emergencies such as terrorism which were previously not included in disaster and humanitarian plans. “This conference therefore, offers an opportunity for a paradigm shift which entails involvement of all partners. The result will ensure comprehensive, visionary and proactive planning for humanitarian partnership of all agencies represented here,” the Director added. “It is important for all actors, government and non-governmental to consult each other for the purpose of designing a methodology that will ensure everyone is able to promote an all-inclusive and systematic approach for reducing vulnerabilities.”

Mr. Mola emphasized on the need to ensure that all stakeholders design action plans that will address them wholly so as not to allow them to slow down national development programs such as Vision 2030 or the Medium Term Development Programmes. This will ensure that capabilities are harnessed for the common good to enhance humanitarian response.

The Kenyatta University Humanitarian Experience

Kenyatta University's Prof. Wangari Mwai (left) interacts with Sheila Waruhiu and Paul Gol at HPC Africa 2015
Kenyatta University’s Prof. Wangari Mwai (left) shares a laugh with Sheila Waruhiu and Paul Gol at HPC Africa 2015

Giving the keynote address at the launch of the 3rd Annual Humanitarian Partnership Conference, Kenyatta University’s Prof. Wangari Mwai noted that academia was working hand in hand with the humanitarian sector to offer assistance in better service delivery. She pointed out that humanitarian crises and challenges have increasingly been on the rise in Africa due to various reasons such as climate change, poor leadership, political instability, food insecurity, terrorism and road carnage among others. Such growing challenges require more innovative and collaborative approaches in order to come up with effective solutions.

Kenyatta University is among the few universities in the region that have had a long engagement in humanitarian assistance.  One of the university’s initiatives has been the construction of a Teaching & Referral Hospital which will be the first hospital constructed by a university and will help to serve the local community needs. The University also conducts capacity development through the regional center for capacity development which offers short courses to community based organizations in areas such as leadership skills, fundraising and resource mobilization, community empowerment and project management.

KU has a  Legal Aid Clinic that offers free legal assistance and advice to members of the community. Students from the University’s School of Law are attached to the clinic where many vulnerable members of the community go to seek legal counsel. In addition, Kenyatta University  operates an Orphans & Vulnerable Students Fund which supports orphans & vulnerable students from various communities across the country.

On a lighter note, the university holds an annual culture week which engages students, community, regional & international artists which provides a vehicle for cohesion and integration.

Effectiveness of Child Friendly Spaces Research Report

Makiba Yamano- Child Protection in Emergencies Specialist, World Vision, launching the CFS research findings at HPC Africa 2015

The Child Friendly Spaces Research Report was officially launched in Nairobi, Kenya on 15th September at the Humanitarian Partnership Conference 2015. The research was a  joint inter-agency initiative by World Vision and Columbia University and was carried out to determine the impact and effectiveness of Child Friendly Spaces (CFS).

Since 2012, World Vision and Columbia University completed 6 impact evaluations of Child Friendly Spaces in 5 countries. Evidence from the report shows that across a broad range of contexts, Child Friendly Spaces have a positive impact on children’s lives. The CFS theory of change follows that the provision of a safe and secure environment for children, with trained and supervised local animators  and structured activities resulted in child protection, psychological well being of the children and mobilization of community resources.

According to Makiba Yamano, Child Protection in Emergencies Specialist at World Vision,  the CFS report serves as  a great example of academia -NGO partnerships and the benefits of sharing expertise across sectors. Such partnerships provide opportunities for both academia & practitioners to learn together to improve program quality and push the industry forward. There is therefore need to develop transitional strategies with communities because of the long term effects of Child Friendly Spaces.

She however noted challenges that are faced in an academia-NGO partnership such as:

  • The “pairing” partner model (a field researcher with an NGO M&E counterpart) – ideal vs reality
  • Securing reliable NGO M&E counterpart throughout the evaluation period in the fluid response phase
  • Delay in administration/ finance/ logistics arrangement

Innovation is required to adapt child friendly spaces to in urban settings while stringent quality assurance and standards will help to ensure greater impact.

To view the Child Friendly Spaces research findings, visit http://www.wvi.org/disaster-management/humanitarian-research-child-friendly-spaces

Regional Humanitarian Situation Analysis for the Greater Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region

According to UN OCHA, the humanitarian situation for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region is increasingly becoming more complex, with needs higher now than ever and projected to further increase. This is coupled with an increasing confluence of conflict, climatic and economic shocks in the wake of shrinking humanitarian space and funding constraints.

Speaking at the launch of HPC 2015, Luluwa Ali in charge of Partnerships Coordination at UN OCHA, stated that continued conflict was trigerring new waves of population displacement. Over 10 million IDPs and 2.7 million refugees are reported within the region. Over 456,000 people were displaced from their homes as a result of the three crises this year alone.  An additional 790,000 may become refugees in the region by the end of the year.

The situation report focused on the regional impact of the South Sudan, Yemen and Burundi crises. Yemen has experienced high levels of acute food insecurity in recent years, stemming from political crisis, a weakening economy, and conflict-related displacement and disruption to livelihoods. Food and fuel shortages could trigger the return of some 883,000 vulnerable refugees and migrants, including 258,000 Somali refugees and some of the 80,000 Ethiopian migrants who have on average entered Yemen annually. Some analysts fear that continued insecurity could result in a flow of weapons across the Gulf of Aden.

Regional Impact of South Sudan, Yemen and Burundi crises
Regional Impact of South Sudan, Yemen and Burundi crises

In Burundi, months of electoral crisis have already caused a considerable humanitarian impact in the region. Reports are of limited internal displacement within Burundi, though the exact number of IDPs is unknown.

Since the L3 Response for South Sudan was extended in May 2015, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated suddenly and significantly. Food insecurity was worse in August 2015 in comparison to the same time last year while economic stress has markedly increased and denial of access has intensified.  There is also concern about the socio-economic impact of the political crisis whereby; humanitarian access is shrinking across the region and humanitarian requirements continue to rise while funding remains limited.

Moving forward, it was proposed that there is need to foster support for the development of national-level response and preparedness plans as well as facilitate joint priority actions in the areas of advocacy, resource mobilization, and coordinated engagement in cross-border areas.

Click on the link below to download the detailed report.

Regional Scenarios for GHA and GLR regions – 15 Sept 2015

Key Trends in Humanitarian Assistance to East and Central Africa

The Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) Report 2015 provides  evidence to understand the urgent challenge of attempting to meet rising humanitarian needs with limited resources, and the unique opportunities to find solutions presented by a suite of global processes in 2015 and 2016.

There is wide recognition that international humanitarian assistance alone is neither sufficient nor appropriate to address the scale and complexity of today’s crises, or the underlying drivers of instability, poverty and vulnerability. Countries at high risk of crisis are home to most of the world’s poorest people. Some 93% of people living in extreme poverty are in countries that are either politically fragile, environmentally vulnerable or both. Yet while domestic governments should and often do take the lead in risk reduction, crisis response and resilience-building wherever possible, the reality is that national and local resources and capacities are often most lacking in the very places most vulnerable to crisis, especially in many conflict-affected contexts.

International resources therefore remain important, but their availability can be limited for crisis-affected countries. For example, levels of foreign direct investment and remittances are lower than to other developing countries. Further, commitments to peacebuilding and statebuilding goals have yet to translate into
significant and predictable financial support, while climate adaptation financing often fails to reach the people most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The findings below seek to  answer the pertinent questions around humanitarian financing of; Who was affected? How much was given? Where does it come from? Where does it go? How does it get there? What other finance matters?

Click HERE to download a copy of the GHA 2015- Humanitarian Assistance to East and Central Africa Summary findings.

A New Dawn: The Humanitarian Leadership Academy- Kenya Centre

Chris Lane, Director of Global Operations- Humanitarian Leadership Academy gives a speech at HPC Africa 2015
Chris Lane, Director of Global Operations- Humanitarian Leadership Academy gives a speech at HPC Africa 2015

“Localisation is the future of humanitarian aid. The World Humanitarian Summit consultations have highlighted the importance of supporting and strengthening local actors, and reorienting the humanitarian system toward a more localized approach that supports and facilitates community-level relief and recovery efforts.”

This was the recurring message from Chris Lane, Director of Global Operations, Humanitarian Leadership Academy at the launch of HPC 2015. In line with his speech, Chris listed a number of challenges that humanitarians will have to address as they strive to achieve professionalism in the industry including:

  • A lack of investment in or ad hoc unsustainable financial models for learning and development opportunities
  • How as a sector we measure the quality and impact of learning to build market recognition on what works, and how as responders and organisations we can access credible learning opportunities
  • The lack of knowledge and evidence about what really works, globally and nationally
  • How professionalisation of the work force can be developed at all levels of the response, and scaled up to build the future generation of humanitarians at national and regional level, including recognition of skills and resources available in non-traditional partner

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy’s mission is to empower people around the world to prepare for and respond to crises in their own countries.

In the next five years, the Academy seeks to establish ten centres reaching communities in over 40 countries. The first three centres will be in Kenya, the Philippines and the Middle East while the rest of the will be opened across Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. The Academy will create a digital platform with local web portals, including a marketplace of online courses, training tools, learning materials, translation and other services for trainers, leaders and responders.

They will also create over 100 case studies of disaster programming and capacity building initiatives that will help promote best practice in a wide variety of settings. The case studies will then be translated into local languages and disseminated  via the most appropriate resources to ensure that information is shared consistently and effectively. The Academy can only achieve all this through creation of partnerships with organisations around the world, to ensure a more coherent, united and efficient system for learning within the humanitarian sector with sustainable and accessible professional development opportunities to drive the sector towards excellence.

The Kenya Academy Centre will comprise a physical academy, complete with an Academy Director, and a Digital Academy that will include a resource centre, an online marketplace for learning and development opportunities, as well as a space for communities of practice to flourish. The Academy will support relevant innovations at national and global level, drawing on examples of best practice emerging from other sectors.

What added value will the Kenya Academy Centre bring?

  • Kenyan and East African individuals will have easier access to quality learning opportunities
  • Kenyan and regional organisations will have improved capacity to invest in the learning and development of staff
  • Local and global knowledge and best practice will easily be shared, benefiting the local sector as a whole
  • Responders will have better connection with other practitioners in person or virtually through connected communities of practice.
  • There will be more defined career paths and recognition of non-academic skills and experience, contributing to a more professional East African workforce

Click HERE to view the Academy presentation

Want to know more about the Academy?

Twitter: @AcademyHum

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