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DEVELOPMENTS
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The Latest Issues and Trends in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance

My Boss
Doesn’t Get It!
Why Good Management and
Staff Well-being Matters
Insights From
Peer Support In a Novice
Humanitarian Gardener
Organizations
Staff
Counselling
In the
UN System
The
Importance
Staff
of Psychosocial
Intervention With
National Staff

Care
Working In
HIV/AIDS Projects

September
2008
Vol. 26, No. 9
InterAction
MONDAY
DEVELOPMENTS

Managing Editor/Art Director
Chad Brobst

Copy Editor
Kathy Ward

Advertising & Sales
Michael Haslett

Communications Department
Nasserie Carew, Public Relations
19
Tawana Jacobs, Public Relations
Tony Fleming, New Media 21

Contents
Chad Brobst, Publications
Michael Haslett, Publications

10
Margaret Christoph, Admin Associate

Editorial Committee
InterAction Communications Team
September 2008 • Vol. 26 • No. 9
InterAction
1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 210 Features Addressing Stess In Walking the Walk | 28
Washington, DC 20036 National Staff | 21 World Concern introduces “Know
Tel: 202.667.8227 Why Bother With Stress Secondary traumatic stress Your HIV Status Day” for staff.
publications@interaction.org
Management? | 10 and burnout can affect national
ISSN 1043-8157 Ignoring stress in the staff too. Helper’s Fire II | 29
workplace leads to inefficiency, Conference works to build
ineffectiveness and turnover. USAID and Staff Care | 23 resilient communities for
Monday Developments is published 12 Task force establishes agency- humanitarian and development
times a year by InterAction, the larg- Staff Counselling Within wide procedures. assistance field staff.
est alliance of U.S.-based international
development and humanitarian non-
the UN System | 13
governmental organizations. With more United Nations staff and If You’re Not Infected, Taking Care of Each
than 160 members operating in every families benefit from a You’re Affected | 24 Other | 31
developing country, InterAction works to well organized system of Psychosocial intervention Peer Support in
overcome poverty, exclusion and suffer- psychosocial support. Humanitarian Organizations
ing by advancing social justice and basic benefits national staff working
dignity for all. in HIV/AIDS projects. • Peer Support Network
Social Support | 14 • “I No Longer Feel Alone”
InterAction welcomes submissions of Is staff care an individual or an Lest We Reinvent the • Staff Care in CARE Lesotho-
news articles, opinions and announce- agency responsibility? South Africa
ments. Article submission does not guar- Wheel | 27
antee inclusion in Monday Developments. Guidelines do exist for good
We reserve the right to reject submis- Insights From a Novice practice in managing stress in The Power of Presence | 34
sions for any reason. It is at the discretion Gardener | 17 humanitarian workers. Sometimes just “being there”
of our editorial team as to which articles makes all the difference.
are published in individual issues.
When it comes to nurturing
staff, consider growing a
All statements in articles are the sole wellness garden.
opinion and responsibility of the authors.
Departments
Articles may be reprinted with prior per-
My Boss Doesn’t Get It! | 19
mission and attribution. Letters to the Why good management and Inside This Issue | 3
editor are encouraged. staff well-being matters. Letters | 4
A limited number of subscriptions are Washington Update | 4
made available to InterAction member
agencies as part of their dues. Individual Inside Our Community | 6
subscriptions cost $80 a year (add $15
Southern Voices | 8
17
for airmail delivery outside the U.S.)
Samples are $5, including postage.
Additional discounts are available for Career Developments | 36
bulk orders. Please allow 4-6 weeks for
delivery. Advertising rates are available
Employment
on request. Opportunities | 37
INSIDE This Issue

Understanding
Staff Care
A
fter three days in El Fasher, Darfur, I realized that
the coordination and stability of the NGO humanitar-
ian effort in this insecure environment depended on
the well being of a small group of NGO professionals.
Everyone had a story to tell. Staff in all twelve organizations
I visited mentioned attacks, fear, frustrations, burn out, and
concerns for the safety of colleagues. In Darfur, I saw first
hand the staff care needs of people working in that difficult
environment. This is an extreme humanitarian context where
NGO staff are under ongoing and severe amounts of stress,
and our community needs to find ways to intervene. The being national, special consideration should be given to their
problem is not just in Darfur; staff care is essential for na- needs when designing staff care programs. The stressors on
tional and expat staff throughout the world, as humanitarian local staff may be different from expats and there may be dif-
work has become ever more challenging. ferent cultural approaches to stress reduction.
The leadership of major NGOs understands that employ- Poor or unresponsive management in field offices or at
ees are their most valuable asset. Investing in staff, and in headquarters has been identified as one of the largest factors
particular staff care, is not only the right thing to do, it is contributing to the stress experienced by staff working in cri-
also the cost-effective thing to do. It improves staff retention sis situations. Better management is often synonymous with
rates and the completion of assignments, and it decreases better staff care, and simple actions such as including staff
the costs associated with frequent staff turnover. care in job descriptions and performance evaluations of field
Government donors and the United Nations have staff de- and HQ managers, can help us reach this goal.
ployed to many of the most difficult humanitarian environ- There is an existing community of professionals that are
ments throughout the world. Donors recognize the risks as- available to support NGOs as they attempt to incorporate
sociated with working in these environments, and they are staff care into the work that they do. Some members of In-
working to improve their staff care procedures in the field. Ky terAction have institutionalized their commitment to staff
Luu, the Director for USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster As- care, some hiring full-time professionals, and finding more
sistance (OFDA), has repeatedly stressed the need to find bet- demand for these services than they ever imagined.
ter ways to care for staff in the field. In this issue of Monday InterAction is committed to promoting staff care among its
Developments, he has included a call for NGOs to do more, to members, and has applied for funding to address the imme-
take on the care and well being of their own staff in the field. diate concerns in Darfur and eastern Chad through a series
Ky has offered OFDA’s support for these interventions. of “stress reduction and self-care” (SSC) trainings; to develop
Investing in staff care is not a big-ticket item. There are a training module on “Management in High-Stress Environ-
low-cost and high-impact interventions that NGOs are easily ments”; and to facilitate an interagency process among In-
incorporating into their day-to-day programming. Examples terAction member NGOs to improve staff care provision, with
of these interventions appear throughout this issue, whether the aim of developing a set of staff care guidelines.
it is taking a group of staff members to be tested for HIV/ At InterAction’s annual CEO retreat in December I will
AIDS, setting up peer support networks, or even something raise the profile of staff care with the leadership of our mem-
as simple as ensuring staff posted in the field have access to bers, and I hope to impress upon my colleagues the impor-
television and DVD players to watch movies and relax. Men- tance of incorporating staff care into their programming
tal health care is often covered under an organization’s pre- throughout the world. MD
Photo: Christina Moore

existing insurance policy, both for staff at HQ and overseas,
so it is worthwhile to review these policies to see what kind of
interventions might already be covered.
Often, when discussing staff care issues, individual staff Sam Worthington
are able to come up with creative solutions to relieve stress President and CEO
specific to their context. With the majority of staff in the field InterAction

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 3
Letters Send your letters to:
Chad Brobst at cbrobst@interaction.org

tives? Someone outside these domains is often the best advo-
Security and Partisan Goals Require cate for such activity.
Partnerships for Effective Aid Delivery At a November 2007 speech at Kansas State University, Sec-
Jim Bishop’s presentation on the “Militarization of retary of Defense Gates articulated a conviction that economic
Foreign Aid” [July 2008] follows on the heels of a concern over development, rule of law, provision of government services, and
the militarization of foreign policy. Such fears arise when a be- the like are necessary to meet our goals in Afghanistan and
hemoth enters one’s own area of expertise. I would recommend Iraq. More recently, USAID Administrator Henrietta Holsman
another look at his observations and perceptions. He notes Fore has pointed to an emerging realization of how fundamental
that in November 2005, the Defense Department raised the security is to her agency’s mission in fragile and failed states.
profile of stability operations, but he calls the tasks “spanning Bishop faults the Bush Administration for providing insufficient
… peace to combat … a radical departure for the armed forces.” advocacy to Congress to fund greater capacity in the Depart-
Not so. Despite a history of preferring to address combat opera- ment of State. But Congress has both a preference for funding
tions as if they were isolated from transition-to-peace, occu- the military and an aversion to funding foreign aid. In her recent
pation, counterinsurgency, advisory, and constabulary duties, article in the military journal Parameters (38.2 [2008]), the AID
the military’s current emphasis on counterinsurgency repre- Administrator writes, “While relations between the military and
sents a pendulum swing welcomed by observers who see policy USAID have evolved, stereotypical views outside the Agency’s
engagement in many more shades of gray than those who per- walls, including in Congress, have not. This may prove to be one
ceive black-and-white distinctions between war and peace. of the chief impediments to the Agency’s future effectiveness.”
Bishop attributes to the relief and development activities of Belligerents often do not see humanitarian activities as im-
the commands focused on Africa and Latin America a need to partial; they frequently divert aid only to their partisans and
justify staff and budget. Is it not equally likely that an analysis away from those who may support others. As a donor to aid
of the challenges in these regions led national-security plan- agencies, I resent a charity paying a “tax” to local warlords or
ners to conclude that our country’s interests there require the corrupt authorities. Aid workers are not necessarily more fa-
expertise of multiple sectors? If food insecurity could lead to miliar with the local environment than are the troops deployed
mass migration of Africans to Europe, isn’t agricultural de- to a trouble spot. Thus, every agency must become familiar
velopment an appropriate response? If narco-trafficking is a with local conditions. We hope that aid reaches those who need
major challenge in Latin America (and Afghanistan), wouldn’t it, but commodities in tight supply require security to ensure
our government be most effective if we foster multilateral co- equitable distribution. Humanitarian relief is not a question of
operation among law-enforcement authorities combined with either troops or aid workers; it requires all appropriate means.
agricultural advisors who can provide attractive crop alterna- Kurt E. Müller, Ph.D.

WASHINGTON Update

Budget and Appropriations Resolution (CR) that extends into early next year. A
Congress left for the August recess with most CR is a joint resolution enacted at the end of a fiscal
appropriations bills still unpassed. Thanks to dis- year if the regular appropriations bills for the next
agreements over off-shore drilling, committee con- fiscal year have not been enacted. It provides bud-
sideration of appropriations bills was called to a halt. get authority for federal government agencies and programs
At this point, the House has moved five bills through com- to continue in operation at current funding levels until the
mittee, and passed one of those on the floor – Military Con- regular appropriations bills are enacted. At that point they
struction/Veterans Affairs. The State/Foreign Operations bill hope to be dealing with a new and more flexible administra-
was passed out of the House subcommittee but awaits full tion, with which they can negotiate spending levels and pass
committee consideration, and the subcommittee has released bills (probably glommed together in an omnibus) to fund the
neither the text of their bill nor the text of their report. rest of the fiscal year.
In the Senate, nine bills were passed out of committee,
including State/Foreign Operations, but none made it to the Recess
Senate floor. Unlike the House, the Senate did release the Congress began its summer recess on August 1, and will
State/Foreign Operations bill text and report. be in session for three more weeks starting September 8. MD
Democrats reportedly plan to pass and send two bills to If you have any questions, or would like to be added to the
the President – Military Construction/Veterans Affairs and email list for the weekly public policy update, please contact
Defense – and will fund everything else with a Continuing Margaret Christoph at mchristoph@interaction.org.

4 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
INSIDE Our Community

10-20 countries.
10th Anniversary of Women Thrive Worldwide “The new estimates are a major advance in poverty mea-
On September 10, 2008, Women Thrive Worldwide surement because they are based on far better price data for
(formerly the Women’s Edge Coalition), the leading non- assuring that the poverty lines are comparable across coun-
profit organization shaping U.S. policy to help women in tries,” said Martin Ravallion, Director of the Development Re-
developing countries search Group at the World Bank, “Data from household sur-
lift themselves out of veys have also improved in terms of country coverage, data
poverty, celebrated access, and timeliness.”
its ten year anniver- “The new data confirm that the world will likely reach the
sary in Washington, first Millennium Development Goal of halving the 1990 level
DC. The event, which of poverty by 2015 and that poverty has fallen by about one
was hosted by CNN Anchor and Reporter Carol Costello, percentage point a year since 1981,” said Justin Lin, Chief
honored four individuals who have made extraordinary Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Econom-
contributions to women’s global empowerment. ics at the World Bank. “However, the sobering news that
Congresswoman Nita Lowey (18th-NY) received the poverty is more pervasive than we thought means we must
Leadership for Women to Thrive Award for her leader- redouble our efforts, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
ship in Congress to ensure the U.S. government’s sup- The new data show that marked regional differences in
port for women’s economic opportunity, education and progress against poverty persist. Poverty in East Asia has
healthcare. Ambassador John J. Danilovich, CEO of fallen from nearly 80 percent of the population living below
the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Juan Se- US$1.25 a day in 1981 to 18 percent in 2005. However, the
bastián Chamorro, Director General of Cuento Reto del poverty rate in Sub-Saharan Africa remains at 50 percent in
Milenio (MCA Nicaragua), and Imara Martínez of Con- 2005—no lower than in 1981, although with more encourag-
sejo de Mujeres de Occidente, a local women’s organiza- ing recent signs of progress.
tion in Nicaragua, were jointly awarded the Partnership
for Women to Thrive Award for their successful partner- InterAction Members Respond to Georgia Crisis
ship which has resulted in model programs that have International aid organizations are mobilizing a response to
had a powerful initial impact on the ground. the humanitarian crisis following the recent outbreak of fight-
ing between Georgian and Russian forces. The United Nations
now estimates that up to 100,000 people have been displaced,
New Data Show 1.4 Billion Live On Less Than $1.25 adding to a previous caseload of over 220,000 internally dis-
A Day, But Progress Against Poverty Strong placed from hostilities in the early 1990s. According to Rus-
The World Bank said improved economic estimates showed sian and Georgian officials, up to 30,000 refugees have fled
there were more poor people around the world than previ- northward into Russia since the Georgian offensive to retake
ously thought while also revealing big successes in the fight control of the autonomous
to overcome extreme poverty. territory of South Ossetia
The new estimates, which reflect improvements in interna- began on August 8th. It is
tionally comparable price data, offer a much more accurate estimated that 56,000 peo-
picture of the cost of living in developing countries and set ple have fled from the Gori
a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day. They are based on the region in Georgia toward
results of the 2005 International Comparison Program (ICP), the capital Tbilisi, approxi-
released earlier this year. mately 80% of the popula-
In a new paper, “The developing world is poorer than we tion of the town.
thought but no less successful in the fight against poverty,” Twenty-four InterAction
Martin Ravallion and Shaohua Chen revise estimates of pov- member organizations are
erty since 1981, finding that 1.4 billion people (one in four) responding to the humani-
in the developing world were living below US$1.25 a day in tarian needs with emergen-
2005, down from 1.9 billion (one in two) in 1981. cy medical, food, shelter,
An earlier estimate—of 985 million people living below the water and hygiene sup-
former international US$1 a day poverty line in 2004—was plies. Many organizations
based on the (then) best available cost of living data from have offices in the region
1993. The old data also indicated about 1.5 billion in poverty While on a two-day trip to access implementing health, edu-
in 1981. However, the new and far better ICP data on prices in the U.S. humanitarian response cation and conflict resolu-
developing countries reveal that these estimates were too low. to the situation in Georgia, USAID tion programs, which have
Photo: USAID

The new estimates continue to assess world poverty by the Administrator Henrietta Fore met with been mobilized to respond
standards of the poorest countries. The new line of US$1.25 President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi. to the emergency needs. It
for 2005 is the average national poverty line for the poorest is hoped the recent cessa-

6 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
tion of hostilities following the Russian government’s decision • The need to elevate international development as a compo-
to halt its offensive will allow humanitarian organizations to nent of U.S. foreign policy—namely by creating a Cabinet-
access the affected populations to deliver much needed aid. level Department for Global and Human Development.
The U.S. Embassy in Georgia issued a Disaster Declaration
on Sunday, August 10, and the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) has announced an initial $250,000 Free Web Portal for African
in emergency assistance for the people of Georgia. Countries Civil Society Organizations
throughout the world have pledged their assistance, and are GuideStar International (GSI) and the United Nations
calling for protection of civilians and respect for international Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) announced
humanitarian and human rights law. The Government of Geor- in August a joint venture to develop a free web portal for
gia has requested humanitarian assistance, specifically medi- African civil society organisations, which will showcase
cines, medical supplies, emergency shelter items and food. the work of all NGOs, charities, nonprofit organisations
and community based organisations from the smallest to
Sam Worthington Testifies Before Senate the largest. Utilising a shared internet platform, organisa-
InterAction President & CEO Sam Worthington testified tions will, for the first time, be able to display their vision
on July 31, 2008 at a hearing on Capitol Hill—“A Reliance and mission, objectives, activities, needs and finances to
on Smart Power: Reforming the Foreign Assistance”—before donors, researchers, policy makers and the general pub-
the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government lic. The service, known as GuideStar, is already fully op-
Management (part of the larger Committee on Homeland Se- erational in the US www.guidestar.org and the UK www.
curity). His testimony focused on: guidestar.org.uk where these websites contain detailed
• The mission of U.S. foreign assistance. information on hundreds of thousands of registered char-
• The U.S. Government’s capacity to be an effective partner ities and non-profit institutions. GuideStar International
in development. is also working to develop similar systems in Europe,
• Protecting the “humanitarian and development space,” Canada, India, South Korea and South Africa. MD
within which InterAction’s member organizations work.

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Over 150 students in residence from 65 countries forming one of x M.A. in Sustainable International Development
the largest programs of its kind in the world. M.S. in International Health Policy and Management
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MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 7
SOUTHERN Voices

Now What? How
national staff – people with their own needs, aspirations, ex-
pectations, and responsibilities.
Yolanda, a gender specialist, explained: “My perception is

Project Termination that NGOs are not sending a coherent message based on the
principles of solidarity and altruism they advocate. I especial-

Affects National Staff ly felt this when I discovered the absence of internal national
staff care policies once projects finish, and when I remember
how our supervisors constantly reminded us of the impor-
By Ana Uriarte, Advisor, InterAction tant role we played as valuable individuals with technical
skills that helped achieve the agency’s goals. We were told

A
stark contrast exists in NGO policies when that we contributed to maintaining the high prestige that the
it comes to the treatment of staff at the completion of organization enjoys worldwide. This process has been very
in-country projects. Suddenly unemployed and without tough and frustrating.”
income, national staff are often left in similar conditions to In general, there was disappointment and sadness among
the populations they had previously been supporting. This is staff as the program started its termination phase. Many felt
much different to international staff,
who are free to apply for other posi-
tions within the same organization
and have many other opportunities
throughout the world. National staff
however, must remain behind, often
without the funds or the freedom to
pursue work in other locations. For
them, there is little organizational
support – they are left only with the
skills they’ve learned and a sense of
a job well done. Neither of these feeds
their family.
To better illustrate this situation I
interviewed several staff in one Latin
American country, who until recently,
worked for a large U.S.-based NGO.
After restructuring its program, the
NGO let dozens of national staff go.
Many had worked on the project for
years and now found themselves
faced with the prospect of being un-
employed in a poor job market that did not value their NGO betrayed and used. Feelings of frustration and impotence
skills. I asked how they felt when their employer terminated were widespread and the feeling was that the agency cared
their contract and what their expectations were. only about the budgets, auditing, and closure dates that
One staff member named Miguel stated: “As a national complete a successful project.
staff member, I expected project termination would be a more Jimena, a technical coordinator, writes:
humane process, less shocking or traumatic considering the “My initial feelings when I started working for this NGO
type of organization we were working for. As a non-profit were very positive. I felt honored given the great prestige the
NGO, we assumed it would be different from private enter- agency represents. But when the project ended and many of
prises that are focused on productivity levels of manufactured us did not even receive a simple paper acknowledgement of
or consumable goods. We understood our existence was not our contributions, and knowing all the dedication and com-
based on local or international market prices, because what mitment we had given to our work, my feelings suffered a
we produced were improved lives. And here is where I ask drastic change. Now I strongly believe there is a level of hy-
myself why national staff are not part of the benefit that de- pocrisy in some NGOs and I don’t regret voicing my profound
velopment projects bring? I truly believed the organization bitterness after all I have been through.”
Photo: Sara Sywulka

would provide us some positive alternatives for our future. “My personal suggestion to other agencies from my position
Soon I realized there was nothing reliable for us.” as a national staff member is that they should help us look
Humanitarian agencies should understand that the over- for opportunities in future expansions of the projects. We felt
whelming positive impact they achieve worldwide would not the organization was not interested in investing time in our
be possible without the extraordinary technical capacity of program staff because our future with them was already de-

8 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
“I strongly believe there is a level of of their skills. Their perspective and feelings are the opposite
of national staff because they do not face abrupt unemploy-
hypocrisy in some NGOs and I don’t ment and a dearth of assistance in job placement.
regret voicing my profound bitterness Often international staff are already thinking about their
next assignment before the current one is even finished. In
after all I have been through.” fact, when told local staff (past and present) would be inter-
viewed for this article, the Country Director of the NGO in
termined to end. I insist that it would have been a good policy question reacted with deep concern. He instructed them to
to listen to us, or at least let us present our proposals for the contact headquarters before making any statement. National
formation of new enterprises by taking advantage of the expe- staff assumed that he did not want an expression of their dis-
rience we had acquired while working with the program.” satisfaction to jeopardize his new position within the organi-
Many feel the treatment of national staff is ironic and inconsis- zation. Of course several of the people that were interviewed
tent. NGOs understand the essential roles these staff members had already been terminated and certainly didn’t have to get
play in developing countries, and their invaluable contribution permission from headquarters to give their opinion.
to maintaining relationships with the community leaders that The expressions and feelings captured from those inter-
ensure humanitarian assistance reaches targeted populations. viewed are testimonies in their own words. Hopefully, their
Yet most agencies do not have a project completion plan that comments will spur NGOs to begin a dialogue with staff to
addresses national staff’s needs – they simply terminate staff address their concerns. A positive step would be to make na-
contracts and focus on new projects based on new trends. tional staff an integral part of the overall organization, start-
On the other hand, international staff members have a ing with their inclusion in developing policies and procedures
much different experience when projects end. In most in- at the country level. In addition, work needs to be done to
stances, the organization facilitates their transition to a new reduce the existing gap between the treatment of local and
destination in another part of the developing world. They are expat employees. MD
given the opportunity to continue the use and development *staff names have been changed

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 9
Stress

Why Bother

Stress
with

Management
F
By Joshua Levin
Special Assistant to the Executive Counselor
Mercy Corps

or me, stress is the long hours,
the loneliness and the attachment to work.
I wonder how many IDPs [internally dis-
placed people] we will reach today, and I
forget about my own needs. Meanwhile,
the government is breathing down my neck
and insecurity keeps me from leaving our compound.
Ignoring stress in the
workplace leads to inefficiency,
ineffectiveness and turnover.
?
symptoms of burnout, depression, or PTSD. These findings
highlight the importance of psychosocial support for field-
based staff.
So why, given its pervasiveness, have aid agencies been
so slow to respond to stress in their employees? Simply put,
many organizations have not made employee wellness a
priority. Under their funding constraints, they doubt their
So much for privacy and relaxation. Individual person- ability to implement high-impact solutions without a high-
alities really come out when you share the same liv- impact budget. Furthermore, many aid workers have
ing quarters. The environmental conditions aren’t great grown to expect deprivation and self-sacrifice as inevita-
either: dust, sun, heat. Oh, and kidnapping is now an ble. In other words, there is not enough complaining. Fa-
issue; we are a soft target, you see. So what are my ma- talistic attitudes about on-the-job stress, however, have
jor coping mechanisms? Well, the gym we were going to done little to inspire progress, and there are a number of
was attacked, so I guess I’d say gin and chardonnay.” practical reasons NGOs should pursue comprehensive
– Comments of an aid worker stress management systems for their employees.
Photo: Anantha Vardhan - Istockphoto.com
in Afghanistan First, stress affects judgment. Whether manifested
as indecisiveness, fatigue, distraction or careless-
Such sentiments are not unique to any particular or- ness, stress results in impaired decision-making. For
ganization or region. Humanitarian relief and develop- aid workers this can mean poor strategic choices,
ment organizations place inordinate mental and emotion- strained interpersonal relationships and diminished
al demands on their practitioners. Aid workers frequently job satisfaction. For the international nonprofits
suffer psychological strain as a result of isolation, difficult they work for, it translates into lost funding oppor-
working conditions, demanding programming obligations, tunities, inefficiency and poor team dynamics. Of
and physical danger. In a study published by the Journal perhaps greater consequence, though, unsound
of Traumatic Stress in 2001, as many as half of all returned decisions may impact the efficacy of programs and
nongovernmental organization (NGO) expatriates exhibited the safety of teams in the field. After all, severely

10 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Stress

?
MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 11
Stress

stressed employees working in high-security environments Beyond the practicalities of strategy, efficiency and staff re-
not only expose themselves, but also their colleagues and tention, humanitarian relief and development organizations
beneficiaries to unnecessary risk. have a moral imperative to look after the health and well-
Second, overwhelming stress decreases productivity. Better being of their team members. Staff deployed to the field face a
mental performance results in better efficiency and morale. variety of situational stressors. They must cope with the fre-
And although nonprofits may have priorities that are less con- quently conflicting interests of their organizations, beneficia-
nected to the bottom line than their counterparts in the for- ries, and host governments. They endure perennial resource
profit sector, the success of their missions is just as tied to the limitations and the challenges of a restricted personal life.
effectiveness of their employees. According to the September They brave dangerous operating environments and uncertain
4, 2004 issue of The New York Times, “Workplace stress costs futures. International NGOs demand a great deal of their staff
the nation more than $300 billion each year in health care, and owe them a supportive working environment.
missed work and the stress-reduction industry that has grown Employee stress is not restricted to humanitarian relief and
up to soothe workers and keep production high.” Investing in development organizations. In fact, the American Institute of
psychosocial resources for NGO staff may, in the long run, Stress estimates that job stress costs the U.S. economy over
make international nonprofits more cost-effective, not less. $300 billion annually. In contrast to most NGOs, however,
Finally, unrelenting stress leads to “burnout” which hurts some private-sector companies have taken major steps to re-
employee retention. Aside from the obvious loss of organiza- dress their staff support gaps. If the nonprofit sector wishes
tional memory and the opportunity costs related to training to continue to grow and develop, it must do the same. De-
and orienting new employees, turnover takes a significant fi- velopment and relief organizations must pursue innovative,
nancial toll. In 2005 Financial Literacy Partners estimated that cost-effective employee wellness solutions. In the long term,
the average cost of replacing a staff member is between $3,000 a robust support platform may improve their programming,
and $13,000. These expenses are especially striking when reduce their health care costs, and enhance the safety and
considered in conjunction with the approximately 40 percent security of their field teams.
of job turnover that is directly attributable to stress. Given the Ultimately, the calculus is simple: Any money saved by ig-
skyrocketing costs of recruitment, aid agencies stand to ben- noring stress in the workplace is lost tenfold in employee in-
efit a great deal from well-managed staff support systems. efficiency, ineffectiveness and turnover. MD

12 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
UN system

Staff Counselling Within
the UN System serve to improve access to UN Counsel-
ling services. The Counsellors have a
website where announcements can be
posted, locations tracked, and tools and
United Nations staff and families benefit from a well resources can be shared.
A number of Counsellors have pro-
organized system of psychosocial support. duced publications for advice to UN
staff on managing stress and trauma,
By Penelope Curling, Staff Counsellor, UNICEF building resiliency, domestic violence

T
as an issue impacting on individual
here are more than 80 UN Some staff members prefer to con- staff or colleagues, substance abuse
Counsellors based in headquar- sult a local mental health professional, and other issues. Many also manage
ters and field locations. Some of who is familiar with the local culture intranet websites for their colleagues
the Counsellors are international and removed from the workplace, to to access information about workshops
staff and some are nationals of the coun- guarantee anonymity. For others, be- and other staff support activities, as
try in which they serve. Broadly, the cause the Counsellor is a colleague, well as to download publications and
Counsellors are responsible for the psy- the stigma they may associate with other staff well-being information.
chosocial welfare of UN staff, and offer mental health professionals is absent During critical incidents affecting a
interventions, consultations and train- when they contact a Counsellor. For a large number of UN staff, the UN Depart-
ing to individual staff and to managers staff member in the field, consulting a ment of Safety and Security’s Critical In-
on work-related stress and psychoso- Counsellor based in headquarters of- cident Stress Management Unit coordi-
cial health issues, including burnout, fers additional distance and “safety.” nates the UN Counselling response,
depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, When a headquarters UN Counsellor ensuring that staff of all UN agencies
family and marital problems (including goes on mission to a field location, col- have access to Counselling resources
domestic violence), bereavement, work- leagues sometimes share intimate de- and avoiding a duplication of services. A
place harassment and substance abuse. tails of their lives, only to close with: “I UN Counsellor on-site in an emergency
Counselling is offered on a face-to-face can tell you all of this because I know or following a critical incident offers
basis, or referrals are made to local you are going away again.” much more than the availability of coun-
mental health professionals. Some of the UN Counsellors have selling: the Counsellor also advises and
If a UN staff member or one of his implemented Peer Support or Peer guides managers on creating a support-
or her direct dependants is affected by Helper systems in their organisations, ive working environment, and boosts the
a traumatic event, the UN Counsellor and are responsible for the training, morale of staff, who see the presence of
would usually make direct contact with supervision and support to these Peer the Counsellor as a sign that the organi-
him or her, providing some informa- Helpers. These trainings include a first sation cares about their well-being. MD
tion about common traumatic stress level and an advanced level training,
reactions and offer support either di- teaching active listening and commu-
rectly or through a referral. For many nication skills, general stress manage-
UN staff in the field, this contact with ment and the role of the Peer Helper/
a supportive colleague, and the knowl- Peer Support Volunteer, as well
edge that the Counsellor is available if as an introduction to the impact
needed, is all that is needed to boost of trauma, bereavement, work-
their natural coping mechanisms and place harassment, HIV in the
prevent the development of a stress workplace and other work-re-
disorder. Similarly, for staff members lated stress issues.
struggling with burnout, substance The UN Counsellors meet an-
abuse or other mental health issues, nually at a forum for further
being able to quickly and easily access learning and to share experi-
confidential, in-house support and ad- ences, tools and much needed
vice, which is often not available local- mutual support. Close networking
ly, can be the key factor that enables among the Counsellors facilitates
them to keep functioning, saving the inter-agency referrals, back-up sup-
organization untold costs in sick leave, port and the organization of inter-agen-
medical evacuations and resignations. cy trainings and workshops, all of which

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 13
Support

Social Support
job expected of them, unclear expecta-
tions and ambiguous job descriptions,
poor organization and scheduling of the
work process, overly bureaucratic agen-
cy policies and practices, unnecessary
Is staff care an individual or an agency responsibility? barriers to communication with fam-
ily, and, especially, arbitrary or unfair
or unsupportive management practices
By John H. Ehrenreich, International Associate, Antares Foundation and conflict and mistrust within the
and Professor of Psychology, State University of New York – team. For example, in the Headington
College at Old Westbury Institute study of aid workers in Darfur

A
and eastern Chad, survey respondents
bad boss is more stress- separation from loved ones, chronic were asked about the most significant
ful than war, aid workers say. “I danger, exposure to gruesome sights, sources of stress. Fourteen percent cited
was expecting the conflict and the and exposure to survivors’ terrible tales inadequate management or supervision,
stress, but what really brought take their toll. To survive emotionally, 18 percent communication difficulties
me down was how mean my manager aid workers need interventions to in- with colleagues or with headquarters,
was to me,” one aid worker travelling to crease their resilience: training and and seven percent lack of clarity as to
Sri Lanka told researcher Barb Wigley. support in carrying out stress reduc- job responsibilities. These are clearly
Aid workers told Wigley they were con- tion techniques, before they are de- managerial and agency issues, not sim-
stantly frustrated by the dynamics of ployed, when they are in the field and ply matters to be dealt with by individual
the large organization they work for. “It after they return. (This model may need stress management practices.
starts to feel like no one cares.” (Reported specific modifications for national staff, Second, as is well known, not all
in AlertNet, January 26, 2006.) but the same general principles apply.) workers show adverse effects from the
Photo: iofoto - Fotolia.com

As aid agencies have become more There are two problems with this un- stress they experience. For example,
aware of the emotional cost of aid work derstanding. First, in addition to the in the Headington Institute study, 46
to their staff, a simple understanding “inherent” stresses of aid work, staff percent of the workers interviewed
of the problem has developed. Aid work complain of other, “non-inherent” stres- described themselves as “emotionally
is inherently stressful, runs the logic. sors. These may include lack of the sup- stressed.” On the other hand, 19 per-
Difficult living and working conditions, plies and equipment needed to do the cent reported that they were “not at all

14 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Support

stressed.” To some degree the variabil-
ity in the impact of aid work may reflect
For aid workers, the key efficient logistical support, clear and
well-implemented safety and security
differences in the particular field expe- social supports are their procedures, good communications, ap-
propriate workload expectations, appro-
riences of individual staff members. To
some degree it may represent individ- team and their family. priate polices with respect to days off,
ual differences in vulnerability, due to work schedules and vacation time, fair
factors such as personality, prior expe- team, team dynamics making decision- and appropriate human resources poli-
riences, training and use of individual making difficult, clique formation, or cies (e.g., benefits, career paths), and
stress management practices. harassment and bullying both interfere effective planning with respect to issues
But a growing body of research sug- with the ability to staff to withstand the such as any needed evacuations.
gests that it is social support, not in- “inherent” stresses of the job and are The implications of these observa-
dividual differences, that are the key themselves potent sources of stress. tions are clear: Maintaining staff capac-
determinant of the impact of stress on The team leader plays a critical role ity does not result from interventions
individuals. Even under the extreme in establishing and maintaining posi- solely targeting individual staff mem-
stress of war, studies of war veterans tive team functioning. In addition, a bers. Effective stress management and
have found that social support (e.g., pla- team leader who is considered compe- risk reduction is a systematic policy,
toon cohesion, post-war support) plays tent, fair and able to make decisions carried out by the team and the agency
the largest single role as a protective but open to information and feedback as well as the individual worker. It in-
factor against the development of PTSD from the team, and who can lead by cludes: systematic, self-conscious ef-
and other combat stress reactions. example increases team resilience and forts by team leaders and by the agency
For aid workers, the key social sup- reduces individual vulnerability. as a whole to promote team cohesion;
ports are their team and, for those with Leadership and management be- selection and training of managers at
family nearby, their family. If there is haviors at higher levels, and agency- all levels with respect to skills and be-
cohesion, good communication and wide policies and practices also play a haviors that reduce staff stress among;
a sense of trust within the team, it is central role. Critical supports for staff and systematic scrutiny of both exist-
far easier to withstand the rigors of the emotional well-being include clear job ing and proposed agency policies and
work. Conversely, dissension within the descriptions, a clear chain of command, practices for their impact on staff. MD

I n Memoriam On August 13, 2008, International Rescue
Committee staff members Shirley Case, Nicole
Dial, Jackie Kirk, and Mohammad Aimal died in
the line of duty in Logar Province, Afghanistan,
as their clearly-marked IRC vehicle came under
heavy gunfire.

"These extraordinary individuals were deeply
committed to aiding the people of Afghanistan,
especially the children who have seen so much
strife. Words are inadequate to express our
sympathy for the families and loved ones of the
victims and our devoted team of humanitarian
aid workers in Afghanistan."
— George Rupp, President, IRC

The InterAction community expresses its
sincere condolences to IRC and the staff
members’ families.

16 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Human Resources

Insights From a
Novice Gardener
When it comes to nurturing staff, simply hearing out staff in one-on-one encounters.
Four months later, a group of Save the Children staff went
consider growing a wellness garden. for wellness workshop trainer certification in Melbourne,
Australia. Our trainers were careful to make us understand
the sensitivities of a wellness and stress mitigation program
By Bing Castro, Human Resources Manager, Save the
with a psychosocial foundation for development workers.
Children USA, Philippine Country Office
Our staff have not only different perspectives and capacities,

I
but also different potentials for wellness.
got introduced to gardening of a different kind
about ten months ago. The idea of planting a seed and A gardener will always have the
nurturing it patiently quietly came in November 2007 after
three days training for Human Resources Manag-
need to garden.
ers during which I gained some insights and Two months later, for my fellow
picked up some skills. It was all about hav- trainer Ariel Balofinos and me, our con-
ing a sharper psychosocial lens dimen- fidence and competence grew enough to
sion in the HR work that protects staff deliver the one-day wellness workshop pro-
and builds resilience. It gave me a men- gram with integrity. This was initially to 25 staff
tal model of what was until then perhaps members in the Philippines, and has now grown
just intuitive. to reach 60 staff members after four sessions. This
one-day wellness workshop conducted for 25 mem-
The gardener must pay attention bers of the Expanded Senior Management Team of
the Save the Children Philippine Country Office
to the plant to give it enough of what it and other staff in mid-May was a global pre-
needs to survive and thrive. Each plant mier! And Ariel and I were happy to deliver it.
needs different kinds of care. The subsequent sessions were held for staff groups
across the country – our South Central Mindanao Pro-
This training was about paying attention to the person in- gram Office, our Metro Manila Program Office, and
side the person in various HR interactions such as screening, our projects in Mindanao. We were surely helped by
recruitment and selection, briefing, deployment, de-briefing, the build-up on wellness support throughout Save
and end of employment. It’s called
taking care of staff wellness.

But the gardener has
to come out in the
garden everyday.
Back at work after that
training, there followed a
series of daily attempts,
applications and experiments
Photo: Serj Siz`kov - Fotolia.com

in everyday settings. Some were
successful; others became “lessons
learned.” No fanfare, just quiet wellness
initiatives. Among these are the “Friday
habit” of aerobics at the office, celebrating
monthly birthdays with a little more flair through
the initiative and creativity of staff, braving some tough talk
between staff to help smooth interpersonal differences, and

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 17
Human Resources

the Children, our robust certification training, and our own It has been a quiet journey but along the way a garden has
in-country campaign – all of which gave us the platform to been growing...
do our job (but also some jitters knowing the importance of ... in me as a person and as a Human Resources Manager
what we are doing). and a certified trainer.
The wellness workshop participants now have a common ... in my fellow community of trainers and fellow gardeners
appreciation of their individual responsibility for their who you can count on to help nurture this wellness culture.
wellness, confidence in their potential to achieve their own ... in those who have gone through the wellness workshop.
wellness, and comfort in knowing that they have given them-
selves permission to recognize, manage and reduce stress The garden needs daily attention. It is a joy
and act on it: the best lesson of all!
Participants are now more sensitive about recognizing
for a gardener to have a happy helper.
their workplace stressors, their signs of stress (as well as
those of their colleagues) and most importantly, their multi- Some three weeks after the first wellness workshop in our
dimensional tools for managing stress at the physical, mental, Country Office, a new friend “Louellawella” with a Save the
emotional, spiritual and behavioural levels. Children email address, surprised participants with an email.
She began this way:
After planting a seed, often the best thing a Hi! You have a new friend - Louellawella – your wellness
friend! It is 25 days you since our wellness workshop. Have
gardener can do is patiently wait. And on the you given yourself permission to recognize, manage and re-
surface, we may feel that we may not have duce stress? Hmmm. Perhaps you have not been paying atten-
affected anyone with what we have tried to tion too much. But that’s okay. We can revive that. Remember
do. But indeed, somehow we have planted your Self Care Plan? Why not check on it again and see where
you are. Let’s do a quick check shall we? Stay with me just a
that seed. And when that person is ready – in while…
his or her quiet time – coming back to that And from there she reminded participants of practical learn-
moment, the bloom appears. ing points for wellness: identifying stressors, being aware of
signs of stress and developing strategies to manage these.
Louellawella visited with us as our wellness friend and ad-
vocate, as a constant reminder, and therefore our “constant
gardener.” Let us welcome her if she comes to your garden.
Why not have or be your own “constant gardener?” MD

This program is part of the Global Employee Wellness pilot
project. Initially designed for the Indonesia Country Office in
collaboration with Save the Children and Antares Foundation,
the project aims to improve the overall wellness of Save the
Children’s employees, thereby increasing employee satisfac-
tion and retention. It consists of three major components: (1)
HR managers training; (2) employee wellness certification
training of trainers; and (3) program manager training to ad-
dress employee wellness issues in the four major domains of
personal, environmental, organizational
and home life wellness. If you
have questions or comments,
please contact, John Fawcett,
Deputy Director Staff
Wellness, at jofawcett@
savechildren.org

18 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Management

My Boss
Doesn’t Get It!
Why good management and staff
well-being matters.
By Rick Augsburger, Managing Director, The KonTerra
Group, and Lynne Gilliland, Partner, Gilliland & Jud

M
y boss doesn’t get it!”
– a common comment from
field staff working in crisis
situations. One of the great-
est stressors that field staff endure is
not the lack of security, poor living cir-
cumstances or overwhelming workload.
It is the absence of healthy management
systems and skilled managers. And
they are talking about their managers
in the field and their managers based in
headquarters or in third countries.
Humanitarian personnel often work
in situations of chronic stress and
crisis, characterized by chaos,
upheaval, and ongoing threats
to safety. This reality makes
good management and solid
management systems criti-
cally important.
Leadership and manage-
ment choices made in this
context can be helpful or hurt-
ful: to the organization, to benefi-
ciaries and to employees.
A supervisor’s management strengths
and weaknesses influence staff’s ability
to perform well and can greatly impact
stress levels. Effective managers help
us be at our very best so we can bounce
Supervisors
back from stressful situations and bring
creativity and resilience to the work at
that “get it” have
hand. An attentive, effective boss can worked at developing
help a divided team become high per-
forming instead. For NGOs, investing in
and honing some or all of
developing good management and lead- these skills.
Photo: Bela Tibor Kozma

ership skills can reward the agency one
thousand fold through increased staff of Sudan and Eastern Chad, December
wellness, output and staying power. 2007) found that:
A Headington Institute study on “It was evident that the strengths and
NGO staff well-being in Darfur, (NGO weaknesses of organizational manage-
Staff Well-Being in the Darfur Region ment systems and/or individual man-

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 19
Management

Effective managers being. Any systemic strategy aiming to
enhance staff well-being should priori-
and effective leader.
Supervisors that “get it” have worked
help us be at our very tize strengthening individual manage-
ment skills and organizational manage-
at developing and honing some or all of
these skills, and they have the ability to
best so we can bounce ment systems.” consistently apply these skills in ex-
back from stressful Think of a time when you were in
a highly stressful professional situa-
tremely stressful working environments.
MD

situations and bring tion and your supervisor helped you
achieve or maintain high performance,
creativity and mitigating the unnecessary stressors Four Critical Skill Areas:
resilience to the work so that you could really focus on the
task at hand. What did he or she do Communication Skills
at hand. that made that possible? Listening, asking open ended
and curious questions, refraining
Chances are you listed such traits
as good communication skills, good from micromanaging by giving
agers were, in part, responsible for sig- management of conflict and a strong unwanted advice. Facilitating
nificantly magnifying or mitigating the ability to create teams that worked well uninterrupted conversations.
level of stress experienced by staff and together. She probably had a sharp eye Acknowledging the work or
their functional ability.” for knowing signs of stress in staff and behavior of the staff person.
The study went on to say: had the skills to address them. May- Sharing information freely and
“A focus on strengthening the self- be your supervisor kept the drama to transparently. Consistency.
care and stress-management skills of a minimum and was good at manag-
individual staff deployed to complex ing his own emotional state and well- Team Development Skills
emergencies without a concomitant being, modeling consistency and calm. Shared work and responsibility.
focus on strengthening organization- You probably would say there was trust Team decisions. Team purpose
al management skills, systems and and open and clear communication and rewards. Ability to handle
structures seems unlikely to result in with your supervisor. You might also tension so that all viewpoints are
enduring improvements in staff well- say that that person was a competent heard. Fun. Acknowledgement.
Clarifying goals. Establishing a
clear decision-making process.
Modeling accountability as a team.
Facilitating productive conflict.

Leadership Skills
Setting the vision. Staff
development. Delegating.
Handling problem staff with
respect and decisiveness.
Managing multiple demands and
stakeholders. Troubleshooting
organizational barriers. Clarifying
roles and responsibilities.
Maintaining good relations with
all staff. Setting and enforcing
behavioral standards. Taking credit
for nothing and responsibility
for everything. Holding staff
accountable.

Self-Management Skills
Serving as a model of expected
behaviors. Self-care that maintains
mental and emotional well-being.
Heightened self-awareness.
Adequate self-confidence. Holding
oneself accountable. A good
measure of humility. An ability to
learn and to handle change.

20 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
National Staff

Laughter yoga therapy with Indian NGO.

classic form of STS. It could be chronic
insomnia as a result of working with
refugee populations; or it could take the
form of memory gaps in an otherwise
fresh, new worker who starts listening
to the testimonies of rape survivors.
STS often means an affected person
feels stuck or frozen in seemingly irra-
tional feelings and behaviors.
STS also occurs in headquarters staff
or back office staff who may never go to
the field. When an organization works
with what have been called “traumas-
capes,” the whole organizational chart
begins to vibrate with trauma. People do
not have to work in the field to absorb
enough crisis, grief, anxiety and pain to

Addressing Stress
be impacted by STS. After all, regions of
our brain with their specialized neurons
are built to suffer vicariously.
I was warned that humanitarian or-

in National Staff
ganizations would be reluctant to delve
into STS. However, in my experience,
South Asian NGO leadership is not
hindered by a cowboy machismo de-
nial mindset or a slowness to acknowl-
edge that their work has mental health
when we engage with the stress vulner- costs. South Asian groups ask me for
Secondary traumatic ability and resiliency of national staff. cheap, low-tech, adaptable and porta-
stress and burnout can In 2002, I began providing trainings

affect national staff too.
on identifying, mitigating and prevent- People do not have
ing secondary trauma stress to hu-
manitarian organizations headquar- to work in the field to
By Siddharth Ashvin Shah, MD,
MPH, Medical Director, Greenleaf
tered in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Translating a validated instrument from
absorb enough crisis,
Integrative Strategies the scientific literature into Gujarati, I grief, anxiety and pain

T
he geographic cure. R&R.
designed a quantitative public health
study for four organizations working to be impacted by STS.
Regular alcohol use with compa- with victims of violence. Out of the near-
triots in an end-of-day cathartic ly 100 workers studied, every single per- ble interventions to mitigate traumatic
ritual. Phone calls to family. son identified a negative, vicarious trau- stress. I give them a menu of 20 to 30
Many readers will recognize these NGO matic consequence of their work. options from which they can pick and
worker attempts to deal with humani- That means that every national staff- choose including:
tarian aid stress. Although these inter- er acknowledged that their work hurts • Intra-agency, horizontal (peer-to-
ventions might mitigate the stress and their mind. The staffers responded to peer) and vertical (throughout the
workplace difficulties that accumulate the simple 17-item instrument with hierarchy) “neuropsychoeducational”
into burnout, they leave untouched STS symptoms such as, “Due to the exchanges. Learning together how
an important category of occupation- trauma content of my work, in the last the brain is wired for vicarious trau-
al stress: secondary traumatic stress week I have found myself: ma, their occupation’s sector-wide
(STS) – the neurobiology that humani- • Re-living the trauma experienced by vulnerability and signs of difficulty
tarian workers develop in the process my client. reduces stigma for everyone in an
of working with other people’s trauma. • Having trouble sleeping. agency.
Photo: Siddharth Shah

Given that STS is such a massive topic • Being easily annoyed. • Inter-agency meetings in which staff-
and that it has been dealt with in the • Having trouble concentrating. ers share mental notes and cross-
humanitarian literature in a general pollinate concerning stress mitigation
sense, I want to focus on the untold STS makes its imprint on buried re- techniques. This method reduces the
opportunities for humanitarian efforts gions of the brain and there is no one need to adapt techniques foreign to

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 21
National Staff

we packaged in mp3 files that
could be easily emailed from
peer to peer. When accepted
practices are re-tooled, work-
ers will more easily buy into a
menu of interventions for de-
stressing themselves daily (i.e.,
while the work is in progress)
and not only at workshops or
trainings. In fact, as a form of
South to North learning, we in
Northern nations have an im-
portant opportunity to learn
specific resiliency factors from
abroad and adapt them to our
settings and mindsets.
As a physician who sees
multiple opportunities for pre-
vention, I take a hard-nosed
view of what we are dealing
with here. Burnout and sec-
ondary traumatic stress are
Guided meditation with Indian aid workers. both bona fide occupational
hazards in this industry. There
the culture (e.g. psychodynamic or must be done in a way that ensures is an ethical responsibility to mitigate
cognitive-behavioral therapy or expo- that those who do not believe in prayer these hazards, just as we have a re-
sure therapy – all powerful evidence- will not feel ostracized. sponsibility to safeguard people who
based therapies, but which require While the geographic cure (a trip away work near asbestos or tuberculosis be-
painstaking adaptation). from fieldwork to somewhere nice or cause, otherwise we are putting them
• Mind-body therapies such as breath home) can help with the stress leading in harm’s way without providing the
modulation (pranayama, breathwork) to burnout, it does nothing to reach the means to avert the harm. We know
and meditation have been popular. neurobiological changes that occur in there is harm in working near trauma.
• With the proper framing, system- traumatic stress. In fact, the geographic The medical and humanitarian litera-
atic shaking, trauma-sensitive yoga, cure can actually do more harm than ture is rife with the evidence. Is there
dance and other movement therapy good by allowing the trauma to simmer any doubt that there are costs to such
can be powerful given the trauma lit- in someone’s brain. As the psychiatrist work? No doubt at all.
erature’s recognition of how animals As mentioned, reluctance from South
bounce back from horrifying events National staff can be Asian NGO leaders in acknowledging
“our work has its costs” has not been a
through shaking and engaging the
body purposefully. especially open to barrier. There are opportunities in both
• Laughter yoga, a sequence of activi-
ties systematized by an Indian physi-
creating interventions directions: provide training to national
staff in a way that meets them halfway,
cian, although not appropriate for the that are essentially a and reduce current barriers to ade-
acute or subacute phase of recovery,
can be used to build group resiliency, re-tooling of familiar quately training headquarters and ex-
patriate staff. Is it possible that in the
to engage the body, and frankly, to
have fun while promoting wellness.
cultural or spiritual West we are more nervous about ad-
dressing this subject because if STS
practices. were discussed regularly as an occupa-
What doesn’t work? One-size-fits-all tional hazard a lot more due diligence
protocols. People do not have identi- who helped develop trauma-sensitive from legal departments would be nec-
cal cognitive styles. So while yoga and yoga explains, “Trauma is not like fine essary? Do managers fear that workers
meditation may work for some work- wine. It does not get better with age.” would ask for more psychotherapy
ers, journaling and poetry will work for National staff can be especially open benefits? Would donors have to come
others. Referring a worker to a mental to creating interventions that are es- face-to-face with the reality that in the
Photo: Siddharth Shah

health professional, while it may seem sentially a re-tooling of familiar cultur- process of doing good in the world we
like the diligent and scientific thing to al or spiritual practices. For example, put humanitarian workers in harm’s
do, is useless if the worker does not ac- in Pakistan, I took a generally accepted way? When it comes to STS, it will take
cept the basis of psychotherapy. Prayer reverence of Noor (“Divine Light”) and strong leadership to capitalize on our
works great in organizations, but it developed a guided meditation that opportunities. MD

22 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
USAID

USAID and Staff Care
Task force establishes agency-wide procedures. on staff care issues; (2) creating an in-
ternal website that will eventually serve
as the primary point of information for
By Alonzo Fulgham, Chief Operating Officer, staff care resources for all USAID hir-
U.S. Agency for International Development ing mechanisms (there are currently

A
23 hiring types in the Agency); (3) cre-
s the principal U.S. gov- following recommendations from a ating a common emergency database
ernment agency extending as- number of earlier reports, such as les- for all staff hiring types in the bureau,
sistance to countries recovering sons learned from the U.S. Embassy as well as a database that provides
from disaster, trying to escape bombing in Kenya in 1998. The Task useful staffing reports for offices in the
poverty, and engaging in democratic Force was formed to pioneer implemen- bureau; (4) developing more detailed
reforms, the U.S. Agency for Interna- tation of cutting-edge ideas and previ- pre-departure checklists for both tem-
tional Development (USAID) employs ous lessons learned, with the goal of porary and permanent staff of all hiring
thousands of staff in the United States adopting agency-wide operations and types; and (5) researching all available
and around the world under a variety procedures in support of staff care. For agency mental well-being services to
of hiring mechanisms. USAID recog- the purposes of the Task Force, “staff determine which services are available
nizes that its primary resource for en- care” includes broad issues ranging for which hiring types, and providing
suring the successful delivery of funds from personal emergency prepared- this information to all agency staff, as
from the American people to support ness and response to staff wellness on well as holding pilot “road shows” with
overseas causes is its staff; and the a day-to-day basis, including physical service providers and DCHA.
surest way to maximize assistance to safety and psychological well-being in The Task Force has recently be-
those in need overseas is to ensure the workplace. gun expanding and institutionalizing
the well-being of its personnel. Many Initial Task Force efforts include: (1) a number of its pilot efforts agency-
non-governmental and private sector surveying DCHA staff to gauge their wide. An expanded USAID Staff Care
partners are already leading the way in morale, understanding and opinions Working Group will continue to: raise
innovative staff care concepts designed continued on page 30
to improve morale, productivity and
retention. USAID is reviewing many of
its best practices as it looks to draft its
OFDA and Staff Care
own staff care policy that would apply
to all hiring mechanisms. Excerpts from an address by USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) Director
Humanitarian and development staff Ky Luu to a staff wellness conference in Denver on May 18, 2008:
frequently work in high-risk, unstable
“The field of humanitarian assistance has evolved and professionalized over the
field environments that are often char-
years, and continues to do so. The next challenge in the evolution of our field should
acterized by unpredictability, rapid
be to better incorporate concerns about the psychological and emotional well-being
change, and pressure in both the field
of our humanitarian workers into our standard way of doing business.
and from Washington, DC. While this
environment encourages personal and “The work we do and the difficult places we work take a toll on our staff. Are we
professional growth, these factors can losing experienced, highly qualified staff members prematurely because we do
cause serious stress in staff and, ulti- not help them care for themselves properly in stressful assignments? Effective staff
mately, adversely impact the delivery of care can boost staff retention, which is a highly desirable goal from a managerial
aid and assistance to beneficiaries. perspective.
USAID encourages implementing
partners to begin or continue to de- “OFDA is willing to help fund initiatives that facilitate progress on staff wellness
velop standard staff care policies and standards for the humanitarian community. In the same manner that NGOs, over the
practices, and it looks forward to con- years, have collectively identified and agreed to performance standards on a range
tinuing collaboration with partners on of humanitarian issues, we believe that NGOs working together should develop
developing baselines for staff care in all minimum standards and guidance for staff care within our profession.
environments.
USAID began its own Staff Care Task “NGO personnel policies should include staff care procedures. NGOs should ensure
Force through the Democracy, Conflict that managers at all levels are trained on staff care issues. Let it be clearly understood
and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) that OFDA considers staff care by our partner agencies to be a legitimate and
Bureau in February 2008, following important component of indirect operational costs.”
staff deaths in Khartoum, Sudan and

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 23
HIV/AIDS

If You’re Not Infected,
You’re Affected
Psychosocial intervention benefits national staff
working in HIV/AIDS projects.
By Carla Uriarte, Coordinator Mental Health Support to Field Teams,
Doctors Without Borders - Spain (Médecins Sans Frontiers -MSF OCBA)

H
umanitarian help is in- members, friends and neighbors
trinsically stressful. In order are infected.
to respond to this reality, MSF In most of the places where
Spain consolidated psychoso- medical support projects have
cial support for its field teams in 2005. developed there is also a strong stig-
One of the areas the organization
addressed was the impact of working
ma associated with HIV/AIDS, in spite
of the efforts of many organizations to
In most of the
on HIV/AIDS projects – a reality solidly eliminate this stigma. Before MSF came places where
documented in the relevant literature.
To assess the situation we conduct-
to Busia in Kenya, the room where
terminal HIV/AIDS patients were left medical support
ed in-depth interviews with coordina-
tors, supervisors and key personnel,
had the popular name of “the Bosnia
room” because whoever entered there
projects have developed
individual debriefings with counselors, was destined to die. The fear and lack there is also a strong
focus groups organized by work func-
tions (such as laboratory workers,
of means to deal with these deaths led
local health professionals to refuse to stigma associated with
medical assistants, and home health
nurses), activities such as clinic visits,
help the sick people. More recently, the
introduction of antiretroviral medicines
HIV/AIDS.
accompanying home-based care teams, has given hope to many communities, Another factor is the limits of the
and sensitizing activities, and meetings although the stigma continues. ability of the organization and the local
with advisors of local services that pro- health system to respond to the over-
vide training and support. Stresses whelming needs. Workers frequently
In total, around 300 local profes- The local teams working in this envi- must operate in a reality in which they
sionals participated in these activities ronment share a number of challenges. know they cannot satisfy the treatment
conducted in and through the MSF- Secondary stigma is a common prob- needs of all those in need and that
Spain missions in Kenya, Malawi, Tan- lem. In many places there is the belief they, the workers, will have to choose
zania and Zimbabwe, with particular that if you work in an HIV/AIDS proj- who will receive treatment.
help from Carmelo Vázquez in Kenya, ect (as a doctor or driver, for example) Powerlessness to address social and
Beatriz Rodíguez Vega in Tanzania it is because you are infected. economic needs (such as food, school-
and Cristina Vivares in Zimbabwe. The Exposure to people in life-threaten- ing and livelihood support) of the pa-
findings presented here are drawn from ing crises drains staff emotionally and tients that lie beyond the scope and re-
these visits. sometimes physically as well. The pro- sources of the program and for which
fessionals working on these projects are there are no local support systems, can
Photo: Ricardo Verde Costa - Fotolia.com

Results: Stresses and Strengths daily witnesses to the social and emo- also take a toll on team members. As
“If you are not infected, you are af- tional impact that HIV/AIDS has on can the emotionally draining reality of
fected.” This sentence powerfully sums their patients such as orphans unable identifying with their patients.
up the reality of working on and living to go to school, and the harrowing pros- Working in international organiza-
with HIV/AIDS. With high levels of in- pects for widows with infected children. tions also creates challenges due to
fection in the general population, most Dealing daily with patients who also factors such as frequent turnover of
of the local MSF personnel in these have other opportunistic, infectious dis- coordinators, operating in a multicul-
countries are directly affected by the eases such as tuberculosis, and the risk tural environment, and the existence
epidemic. Even if they are not infected of contracting those diseases, creates ad- of very limited opportunities for promo-
personally, one or more of their family ditional stress for many team members. tion to the top leadership ranks.

24 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
HIV/AIDS

The investigations identified a num-
ber of risks and challenges particular Staff Care on a Shoestring:
to different types of work related to
HIV/AIDS programming: Comments From NGO Staff Around the World
• Laboratory Personnel. In some proj-
ects, the laboratory is perceived as While some aspects of staff care may require additional resources, there are many
an infected place that other health things you can do with little or no budget to start building a culture of staff-care in your
workers consider dangerous and do organization. Here are a few examples offered by field staff in various organizations:
not want enter unless it is absolutely • Recognize and appreciate colleague’s good work and/or extra effort.
necessary. In this context, some peo- • Have managers serve as role models of good self-care and a healthy work-life bal-
ple may have irrational fears about ance.
being infected by tuberculosis and • Celebrate special occasions and holidays; acknowledge transitions in people’s
other opportunistic diseases. Labora- lives (e.g., births, deaths, birthdays, promotions, new jobs). This doesn’t have to
tory professionals also maintain direct be elaborate or expensive.
contact with the patients, who often • During times of high stress, be mindful of each other’s well-being. Spend time
share with the workers their stories checking in with each other and actively listen to responses. Protect your sleep!
and difficulties and engage in strong • Use newsletters, emails and meetings to provide information about stress and
emotional expressions for which the resilience. This helps normalize people’s experiences and may expand their rep-
workers have not been prepared. ertoire of coping strategies.
• Counselors. Some counselors daily • Host a party or social event that includes family members.
confront people dealing with issues • Encourage staff to take mini-breaks during the day. Managers: set a good exam-
of death, infidelity, misery and other ple and take them yourself.
life crises. Although most counsel- • Have a pot-luck lunch
ors have received specific training • After work-related travel (especially lengthy and intense travel) encourage staff
on how to manage HIV/AIDS coun- to take some down-time.
seling, sometimes that training has
failed to include basic psychological ...What else would you add?
coping strategies for the counsellors.
• Home-Based Health Care Teams.
Workers in this field witness the dif- treatment to all those in need, the most working on HIV/AIDS programs.
ficult conditions, misery and the lack vulnerable groups (children, pregnant
of general resources with which many women) are being saved. While the Preparation
patients live. The house visits can be manifestation varies from team to team, • Improve the basic psychological and
emotionally demanding, putting work- in the majority of cases team members social skills training for the frontline
ers in the midst of the realities their also share a sense of pride in being part personnel working with patients.
patients and their support networks, of MSF – a sense that translates into This training would cover issues
including children caring for the ter- dynamic, protective teams. such as how to manage the anger,
minally ill, patients so sick they can- Team members also draw on respect pain and anxiety of patients, and ba-
not go to the hospital, and orphans. and support they receive from family sic psychological support. We recom-
This, in turn, increases the likelihood and communities because of their work mend that this training be provided
that the workers will identify with their saving lives and the status of belonging not only to counselors, but also to all
patients at emotionally draining levels to an international organization. Ben- other personnel with direct contact
that can be greater than those experi- efits include stable employment, per- with the patients in any way, such as
enced by workers at health centers. sonal economic stability in the midst laboratory technicians and drivers.
of shattered economies, social status, • Strengthen team members’ under-
Strengths and access to influential people. Other standing of humanitarian principles
The study also revealed a number of sources of support include personal and the organization’s strategy.
strengths that allow the professionals and social resources such as support This can help the teams better un-
to continue day after day in the face of from co-workers and family, and natu- derstand the limits of a particular
so many difficulties. ral support networks, including reli- project, the decision-making process
For the majority of those working gious communities. and the global strategy to fight HIV/
with MSF, the understanding that “If AIDS into which the project fits.
you are not infected, you are affected” Intervention: • Continue technical training, with a
makes them proud to be part of the Strengthening Existing Strengths special focus on protection measures
miracle of introducing the antiretroviral The assessment also led us to iden- to be used when working in environ-
medicines (ARVs). In working in these tify a number of steps in the areas of ments with infectious diseases.
projects they are saving thousands of advance preparation and on-going
lives and even though there are still measures that would help create a bet- On-Going Support
not enough ARVs available to provide ter network of support for our teams The sessions that formed the heart

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 25
HIV/AIDS

Humanitarian where local external resources exist,
work with an outside facilitator. Pro-
organizational factors that cause
stress and how to prevent and mini-
organizations now posed sessions include group debrief- mize them.
• Incorporate team dynamics and
ings and/or psychosocial workshops
display a regular on topics such as how to manage the team-building activities into the work
and ever increasing fear of infection, stress management
and conflict resolution.
agenda.

interest in providing • Include key national staff in deci- Humanitarian organizations now dis-

psychosocial support. sion-making and positions of re-
sponsibility.
play a regular and ever increasing inter-
est in providing psychosocial support
• Facilitate access to outside psycho- for their teams. This is good news for
of the assessment highlighted the im- logical support for individuals who staff welfare, and its impact is reflected
portance of social support as a primary need it. in the mental health and quality of ser-
resource for confronting these chal- • Be flexible with the working rules to vice of the NGO staff and project benefi-
lenges. The following steps can help give space to local cultural coping ciaries being helped and supported.
teams strengthen this social support: strategies (e.g., provide time to pray Until recently this interest was largely
• Create and maintain an organiza- during a medical workshop for Mus- limited to providing support for interna-
tional culture that recognizes and lims). tional staff. Yet the majority of those
fosters the sharing of difficulties, • Sensitize international personnel, working in humanitarian aid are nation-
challenges of daily work. who usually hold coordination posi- al staff, and it is therefore important
• Technical supervision of cases, with tions, on: the need to minimize the that organizations implement support
special attention to managing psy- impact of turnover of staff in coor- strategies that take into account the
chosocial problems that arise. dination positions; cultural differ- specific psychosocial risks and strengths
• Create formal spaces for mutual ences; the psychosocial impact of faced by these local workers, and devel-
support among professionals, and, working in HIV/AIDS projects; and op ways to invest in their well-being. MD

26 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Guidelines

Lest We
tal Health and Psychosocial Support in
Emergency Settings, co-chaired by the
World Health Organization and Inter-

Reinvent
Action. The overall thrust of the Guide-
lines is “to enable humanitarian actors
to plan, establish and coordinate a set
of minimum multi-sectoral responses

the Wheel
to protect and improve people’s mental
health and psychosocial well-being in
the midst of an emergency.” One sec-
tion, Action Sheet 4.4 (and, to a lesser
extent, several other sections, especially
Action Sheets 4.1-4.3), addresses staff
Guidelines do exist and the team must undertake to miti-
gate staff stress, as well as actions that
support issues. Early drafts were circu-
lated in the humanitarian community
for good practice in individual staff members can take. The and the feedback was incorporated.
managing stress in Guidelines are organized around eight
key principles, reflecting the phases of a
Action Sheet 4.4 notes that, “The pro-
vision of support to mitigate the possible
humanitarian workers. staff member’s deployment. Thus, there psychosocial consequences of work in
are principles on overall agency policy, crisis situations is a moral obligation
screening and assessing staff, prepara- and a responsibility of organizations ex-
By John H. Ehrenreich,
tion and training of staff, monitoring posing staff to extremes. For organiza-
International Associate, Antares
staff in the field, ongoing support in the tions to be effective, managers need to
Foundation and Professor of
field, crisis support, end of assignment keep their staff healthy. A systemic and
Psychology, State University of New
support, and post-assignment support. integrated approach to staff care is re-
York – College at Old Westbury
Each principle has supporting indica- quired at all phases of employment – in-

T
tors and comments designed to help cluding in emergencies – and at all lev-
he Antares Foundation’s agencies more fully understand the con- els of the organization to maintain staff
Managing Stress in Humanitari- cepts underpinning the principles and well-being and organizational efficiency.
an Workers: Guidelines for Good how they translate into management The word ‘staff’ in this action sheet re-
Practice (www.antaresfounda- practice. The principles and indicators fers to paid and volunteer, national and
tion.org) seeks to help aid agencies de- are intended to apply to both interna- international workers, including drivers
fine their own needs in relation to stress tional and national staff and to both and translators, affiliated with an aid or-
management in their organization. The headquarters and field staff, recognizing ganization.” Like the Antares Guidelines,
Guidelines were developed over the last that adjustments may be necessary to although the Action Sheet notes that
few years by an international working take into account the unique needs and “support measures should in principle
group, made up of NGO staff (human characteristics of each group. They are a be equal for national and international
resources, national and field managers, tool for learning, reflection and planning staff,” it points out that “some structural
safety and security officers), people with rather than a set of rigid rules or solu- differences exist between the two.”
extensive experience consulting with tions applicable under all conditions. In virtually all respects, the sections
NGOs and NGO staff on staff stress, and The Antares Foundation is currently of the IASC Guidelines dealing with staff
academic experts on stress and stress developing a variety of ancillary materi- support issues closely parallel the An-
management. Feedback responding to als in support of the Guidelines. These tares Guidelines. Like the latter, the
several earlier drafts was obtained from include: an interactive web-based ver- IASC Action Sheets specify roles for the
meetings of national and international sion of the Guidelines; training work- agency, managers and the team. Spe-
field managers in Jerusalem, Mel- shops for individual staff members, cific “key actions” include: actions to
bourne and Canberra (Australia), New team leaders and agency managers; ensure the availability of a concrete plan
York, Amsterdam, Tbilisi (Georgia) and written materials developing some of to protect and promote staff well-being
Tuzla (Bosnia). the principles further, and manage- for the specific emergency; prepare staff
The starting point of the Guidelines is rial tools for analyzing agency behavior for their jobs and for the emergency
that managing stress in staff of humani- with respect to the Guidelines’ princi- context; facilitate a healthy working en-
tarian aid organizations is an integral ples; case studies on using the Guide- vironment; address potential work-re-
management priority in enabling the lines; and sample policies. lated stressors; ensure access to health
organization to fulfill its field objectives, In addition, the Inter-Agency Stand- care and psychosocial support for staff;
as well as being necessary to protect the ing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Men- provide support to staff who have expe-
well-being of the individual staff mem- tal Health and Psychosocial Support in rienced or witnessed extreme events
bers, their teams and the communities Emergency Settings (www.who.int/men- (critical incidents, potentially traumatic
they work with. The Guidelines empha- tal_health/emergencies/en) were devel- events); and make support available af-
size the actions that agency, managers oped by the IASC Task Force on Men- ter the mission/employment. MD

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 27
HIV Status Day

Some [staff] said
that knowing their
status made them
feel empowered to
encourage others to
get tested.
scared. He said he was happy to have the
opportunity to be tested through work,
because going in a group helped him
face his fears. In Narok, only the HIV/
AIDS team wanted to participate, which
give them the opportunity to show lead-
ership within their own office. The Narok
staff reported the experience as tough,
but also encouraging. And in Embu, the
whole staff chose to be tested.
Staff who felt comfortable talking

Walking
about their VCT experiences were en-
couraged to share their thoughts and
feelings, and were informed that their
views might be shared with others if
they agreed. Many were willing, and
some even asked to have their picture
taken while they were being tested.
Some said that knowing their status
made them feel empowered to encour-

the Walk
age others to get tested including fam-
ily, church and other community mem-
bers. One male staff member (age 33),
said that he wanted to be an example to
the youth in his church. Another com-
World Concern convinced to start leading by example.
The HIV/AIDS team agreed on a date
mented that going in a group had made
the waiting time less stressful. One
introduces “Know Your that we would all go get tested – the woman admitted that she did worry a
HIV Status Day” for staff. first World Concern Know Your Status
Day. The invitation was extended to the
bit about going in a group, because she
wasn’t sure if she would be able to hide
rest of the World Concern Kenya staff the emotions of testing positive. Recog-
By Bethany Baxter, who were informed that: (1) attendance nizing that results were inevitable, she
HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator, was not required; (2) they would not be decided to get tested and found it com-
World Concern asked to disclose to their status; (3) the forting to be amongst friends.

A
current staff health plan covered treat- Since Know Your Status Day, there
t a meeting of World ment; and (4) they could not be fired has been a heightened interest in HIV/
Concern HIV/AIDS field staff, for testing positive. In an effort to make AIDS facts and a more open environ-
the question came up of how getting tested as easy as possible, each ment for discussion and information
many of us knew our HIV sta- HIV/AIDS district team was responsible dissemination. In response, an “HIV/
Photo: Bethany Baxter, World Concern

tus. A few hands went up, but not every for making arrangements (e.g. transport AIDS fact” is posted weekly: the first be-
hand. Which led to the next question, and appointments) for those interested ing on the reliability of HIV tests. In ad-
“How can we refer people to voluntary in their office interested in participating. dition, the day helped World Concern
counseling and testing (VCT) centers if The results of the day were amazing. HIV/AIDS staff gain a better under-
we haven’t gone ourselves?” As is be- In the Nairobi office, 80 percent of those standing of some of the challenges and
ing highlighted throughout 2008, more available (i.e., not on leave, traveling or constraints to being tested, including
leadership is required if the world is go- the like) chose to be tested. One staff concerns about being tested by some-
ing to tackle the AIDS pandemic. And member said that he had wanted to go body you know. World Concern plans
at this meeting, World Concern was a number of times, but had been too to make this an annual event. MD

28 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Helper’s Fire

Helper’s Fire II
International Disaster Psychology Pro-
gram hosted Helper’s Fire II: Building
Resilient Communities for Humanitarian
and Development Assistance Field Staff.
The conference brought together partici-
pants from the non-governmental sector,
Conference works to build The conference reflected an increased
understanding that humanitarian aid is
donors, government organizations, con-
sultants, researchers, graduate students
resilient communities highly rewarding but demanding work, and other expert practitioners to focus
for humanitarian and and that aid workers and volunteers
face a variety of threats to their physical
on key staff care issues for humanitar-
ian and development workers and the
development assistance health and mental health and emotional organizations for which they work.
field staff. stability. However, attention to staff care
and support before, during and after
Stressors in the field of humani-
tarian aid, from those indigenous to
their time in the field, and the study of emergency situations to demanding
By Sharon Forrence, MSW, Training how to improve outcomes in this arena and stressful management practices,
and Staff Care Consultant was still relatively new in 2004. adversely affect the capacities of hu-

I
Since that time, recognition that ef- manitarian workers to deliver services.
n March 2004, humanitarian fective self-care and management ulti- The Helper’s Fire II conference was de-
and international development pro- mately contributes to the ability of all signed to provide information on new
fessionals from more than 60 organi- humanitarian workers to work more staff care initiatives and organizational
zations gathered at the University of effectively, more safely, and ultimately efforts to institutionalize support to aid
Notre Dame for a groundbreaking confer- further the mission of the organization workers. It also served to identify the
ence entitled “Tending the Helper’s Fire: has gained considerable traction. difficulties with implementation and to
Mitigating Stress and Trauma in Inter- In line with these advances, in May propose strategies and actions that will
national Staff and Volunteers” organized 2008 the University of Denver’s Gradu- contribute to the forward movement
by Idealist.org/Action Without Borders. ate School of Professional Psychology’s of this developing field. Key issues in-

How Secure Is Your Organization?
InterAction Minimum Operating Security Standards Workshop
October 30th—Washington, DC
The working environment for international humanitarians and development professionals has become increasingly
volatile in recent years. Because of this, many NGOs are seeking a way to incorporate more robust security measures
into their programming. However, few NGOs know how best to do it.

InterAction has been tasked by USAID to create a set of Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS) for its
members. Under the MOSS, InterAction members are required to create organizational policies and plans; make
appropriate resources available to comply with the standards; implement appropriate human resources policies;
incorporate accountability for security at the management level; and work together as a community in order to
advance their common security interests.

This workshop seeks to assist InterAction members and other interested organizations in the incorporation of
InterAction’s Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS). Recognizing that every organization will have differing
needs, the “Suggested Guidance” section for each standard will be presented by members of the Security Advisory
Group. A brief review will be followed by an open forum that will enable attendees the opportunity to discuss
methods, policies and practices of other members in order to aid all in compliance.

This workshop is open to InterAction member organizations only.

Please RSVP by email to jkearns@interaction.org.
Subject line: “MOSS RSVP.”

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 29
Helper’s Fire

cluded: management and leadership tares Foundation and the Inter-Agency have very different needs for staff care.
in stress reduction; staff assessment, Standing Committee (IASC) Guide- The best way to identify appropriate
selection and retention; training and lines on Mental Health and Psychoso- support for national staff is to consult
working with national staff; respond- cial Support in Emergency Settings, as with them. Third, it is important for or-
ing to critical events, including family well as new initiatives undertaken by ganizations to develop critical incident
support; building external and internal the Headington Institute, InterAction, protocols and include plans for work-
support for staff care initiatives; build- People In Aid and USAID. Break-out ing with staff members’ families. This is
ing in evaluation of staff care policies groups discussed the key questions an important component when dealing
and programs; and field staff exit inter- outlined during the plenary presenta- with critical incident stress.
views, debriefing and re-entry. tions in order to identify concrete steps Another key theme is senior man-
Ky Luu, Director of USAID’s Office that could move the field forward in the agement buy-in for staff care. While
of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), given area. the need seems obvious to those who
provided the keynote address. Staff care The field of staff care for humanitarian have worked under difficult conditions
issues have become one of OFDA’s pri- and development workers and organi- and for those who provide services to
orities given how they affect OFDA staff zations has made considerable progress aid workers, convincing senior man-
as well as the staff of partner organiza- since the first Helper’s Fire conference. agement that investing in staff care
tions working in complex emergency sit- Several key themes emerged. First, staff initiatives is a cost-effective business
uations. He described the challenge of care is everyone’s business and needs practice continues to be a challenge for
encouraging the humanitarian commu- to be integrated throughout the lifecycle most organizations. Assessing staff care
nity to incorporate staff care/staff well- of an employee or volunteer. As an or- initiatives that are currently being un-
ness as a routine operating standard. ganizational priority, staff care needs to dertaken by various organizations can
Panel presentations provided an be incorporated in management prac- help to further support efforts to push
update on recent developments in the tices from headquarters down to the this issue with senior management.
field including guidelines from the An- field office. Second, national staff may The final Helper’s Fire II conference
report will be published on the Univer-
sity of Denver’s website www.du.edu/
helpersfire/, on the Psychosocial.org
web site (www.idealist.org/psychosocial)
and on the InterAction staff care web
Helper’s Fire: What does that mean? site (www.interaction.org/staffcare).
In March of 2004, Action Without Borders and The Joan B. Kroc Institute for A Helper’s Fire III conference will be
International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University organized the conference held in 2010, with details to be an-
“Tending the Helper’s Fire: Mitigating Trauma and Stress in International Staff and nounced. In the near future, a Helper’s
Volunteers.” The name of the conference - “Tending the Helper’s Fire” - comes from the Fire II.5 meeting will be held in early
Master’s thesis title of Karen Brown. November either before or after the
PIA/Headington Symposium. For fur-
After the Notre Dame conference, groups formed in Washington, DC and New York ther information, or if you have ques-
under the name “Helper’s Fire” to hold continuing presentations and discussions on tions or comments, please contact the
staff care issues. author at sforrence@yahoo.com. MD
What is the mission of Helper’s Fire?
To promote wellness of staff working in chronic and acute stress environments by
USAID
sharing resources, best practices and training materials. continued from page 23

awareness of staff care issues at all lev-
What are some current activities? els; review office, bureau, and mission
Representing government agencies, non-government organizations and practices in staff care; make appropri-
independent consultants, the Helper’s Fire group is well-placed to serve as an ate recommendations to the agency;
advocate for staff wellness, as an advisory group, and as an information resource for and provide appropriate, relevant re-
organizations, agencies and groups engaged in development and relief efforts. The sources to assist all staff in better miti-
outcome of our efforts will serve expatriate, third-country, and host country staff. gating or coping with the stressors of
USAID work.
How can I get involved? The Agency working group will be an
Since September of 2004, the DC Helper’s Fire group has been meeting on the first avenue for USAID offices and bureaus
Wednesday of the month from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. Since January 2008, the DC to share and learn from each other’s ex-
Helper’s Fire group has been meeting in conjunction with the InterAction Staff Care periences, seeking to create a standard
Working Group at the InterAction office (1400 16th Street NW, Suite 210). You can baseline of services and support that
join the DC Helper’s Fire yahoo group at: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ enable the agency to not only fulfill its
HelpersFire/ mandate, but also its desire to protect
the well-being of its staff members. MD

30 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Peer Support

Taking Care of Each Other
Peer Support in Humanitarian Organizations

P
eer support describes a variety of ways that people with similar
experiences can assist each other with difficult situations. Workplace peer
support programs have grown in popularity over the past two decades,
especially in professions characterized by service to others and high threat or
danger. When implemented effectively, peer support programs can contribute
to increased social support in the workplace, improved organizational climate,
and greater numbers of people with problems or in distress seeking assistance.
A number of humanitarian organizations have developed peer support
programs to address the challenges facing aid workers around the world.
The following articles provide three perspectives on peer support program.
Two psychologists describe peer support programs launched by their NGOs,
and in the third piece, staff in the field discuss how they have made peer
support practical and concrete in a context of HIV/AIDS.

Collected by Sharon Forrence, MSW, Training and Staff Care Consultant

Peer Support Network
from professional consultants and included significant input
from the MSF human resources department and other MSF
New York office resources. Gradually, the PSN has assumed
responsibility for its own training, with logistical support from
BY Christina Moore, PsyD, Doctors Without Borders/ the MSF USA Association Coordinator’s office. A long-term con-
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) USA sultant attends trainings and provides welcome training and
practice in stress reduction techniques. The PSN guidelines
The MSF USA Peer Support Network (PSN), begun have evolved over time, in parallel with the maturing network
in 1999, is the non-professional, peer-operated, informa- and increased technical support.
tion sharing system provided by a group of MSF-USA volun- The PSN participates in national and international confer-
teer returned field staff (RFS). PSN volunteers offer listening ences on staff support and security, regularly updates train-
support and information for other RFS within one month of ings based on current research and developing best practices.
returning from assignment. Typically, this is done through In April, 2007, the PSN met at Peaceful Valley Ranch, near
email and telephone contacts, and often with face-to-face Lyons, Colorado, for a formal training and welcome for new
meetings. The content of the peer-to-peer conversations re- members; continuing members attended for the required up-
mains confidential. date to their training. Training included formal discussions
PSN Volunteers are distributed across the U.S. They deter- and practice sessions for making peer-to-peer contacts. The
mine who will contact returning field staff based on similarity group learned to use GPS tools while hiking in the mountains
of professional background, familiarity with field assignments, and exchanging experiences from assignments and from PSN
ease of shared time zones or by date of return. contacts over the years.
The returned field staff list is managed by PSN coordinators The training provides direction and formal guidelines, as
through a web-based contact management system. Introduced well as a perspective on how MSF returned field staff find
early in 2007, the system tracks contacts from the time of the and redefine life and work on assignment and on return. The
RFS return from assignment to the end of the PSN volunteer’s training emphasis is on listening, and providing information
contacts with that individual. PSN Volunteers enter details re- (or reminders) about additional support systems, such as the
Photo: Sandy Krawitz

garding contact dates. The PSN Web-tool provides substantial Employee Assistance Program, that are available to assist the
information to the PSN coordinators about quality and effi- returned field staff with reintegration after an assignment. New
ciency of PSN services, and statistical data on operational ef- members bring vitality and a wealth of experience to the PSN.
fectiveness. Please send questions and comments to the author at cem-
Early training of PSN volunteers was done with assistance psyd@yahoo.com.

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 31
Peer Support

“I No Longer
SIT Graduate Institute
International Development
Feel Alone”
Programs By Lynne Cripe, PhD, CARE USA

s-ASTERSDEGREESINDYNAMIClELDS Involuntary conscription in Sri Lanka. Carjack-
including Sustainable Development, ings in Darfur. HIV-related loss and orphaning in Malawi.
Conflict Transformation, These are just a few of the serious stressors facing CARE
staff around the world. CARE staff have reported five pri-
Management of Mission-Driven Organizations
mary categories of stress: (1) lack of job security; (2) concerns
about security and safety; (3) overwork and difficulty with
s.%7ININTHE3ULTANATEOF/MAN
work-life balance; (4) internal staff conflict, e.g. competition,
-ASTEROF'LOBAL-ANAGEMENT issues with trust; and (5) personal issues, e.g. stresses from
focus in Middle Eastern Studies, financial pressure, family demands and health problems.
International Organizational Development, To increase social support to help staff cope with the
Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, stresses of life, CARE launched a Peer Social Support Team
Intensive Arabic Language Studies (PSST) in 2007 in ten of its Country Offices (COs) in Africa. In
mid-2008, the PSST expanded to six COs in Asia.
WWWSITEDUGRADUATE After six months, the program in Africa reported the fol-
lowing successes:
WWWWORLDLEARNINGORG • Improved morale and communication in the CO;
• Conflict resolution among team members;
• Improved relationships with supervisors;
• Improved response to critical incidents;
• Improvement in human resources programs devoted to
staff care and staff wellness;
• Better coordination and synergy between programs devot-
InterAction’s ed to staff care; and

New Online • Improved contribution to Country Office strategic planning
through coordination with the senior management team

Job Board!
and other CO staff.

To get started, Country Offices selected two Social Support
Advisors (SSAs), typically one male and one female, through
a variety of ways. Some were selected by their senior manage-
ment team; others were elected by the entire staff. Currently,
Visit: careers.interaction.org all SSAs are national staff, drawn from the entire range of
positions within CARE COs: administrative, drivers, human
resources, program managers, technical advisors. SSAs de-
vote, on average, three hours per week to their PSST activi-
Talk about interacting! ties, although in some COs more time has been allocated.
To compliment Monday The regional Peer Social Support Teams were launched in
Developments’ popular monthly a week-long training and planning workshop that focused
on knowledge- and skill-building, and action planning. Top-
job section, InterAction’s new ics included empathic listening, stress management, com-
online job board instantly municating self-care information to colleagues and building
connects you to the latest trust. Working in their country teams, SSAs developed terms
international development of reference and action plans based on the unique needs and
jobs as they become available. existing initiatives and programs within their Country Office.
This is a critical element of the PSST because staff needs and
Search by job sector, level,
operating environments vary greatly across CARE COs. For
region and country—or post example, the objectives of the Sudan PSST focus on improv-
your resume and let the hiring ing support for staff affected by critical incidents. In contrast,
managers come to you! a key objective of the India PSST is to help the CO “downsize
well” by attending to the social and emotional needs of staff
affected by job losses. Although the PSST operates within

32 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Peer Support

shared basic parameters there is the need for considerable Voluntary Savings and Loans
customization and flexibility across COs; this customization Learning from our work in the community, we adopted the
is crucial for ownership and sustainability of the PSST. Voluntary Savings and Loan (VS&L) program to encourage
As CARE looks to the future of the PSST we see a number staff to save money. Groups of five or six staff members con-
of challenges ahead: tribute an agreed upon amount and borrow amongst each
• Securing the financial resources needed to expand the other with an agreed amount of interest. This initiative helps
PSST into other regions; members because it helps them achieve their personal goals
• Developing models of support, supervision and follow-up such as buying furniture, and paying for school fees (many
that can withstand geographic dispersion, time differences staff are taking care of orphans and vulnerable children), and
and imperfect phone/internet connections; buying medicine. We are also looking at longer investment
• Cultivating sustained engagement by CO leadership in the opportunities for staff that will give them piece of mind to
PSST activities; know that their families will be taken care of if needed.
• Training new team members when inevitable attrition oc-
curs; and Workplace Nutrition
• Developing a meaningful monitoring and evaluation ap- The organization is also contributing to staff wellness by
proach that allows us to effectively tell the story of the providing nutritional support in the workplace. Staff do not
PSST without unduly burdening our volunteer SSAs. have a lot of time to take care of themselves while at work
because their concentration is focused on meeting the needs
Although we are still grappling with how best to evaluate of the communities. To improve their health and help keep
the work of the PSST, I will close with a small anecdote that them fit so that they can perform well, we are providing each
demonstrates that the PSST is making an impact. At the staff member with two fruits per day; as they say, “an apple
conclusion of a workshop co-facilitated with Social Support a day keeps the doctor away.” CARE views this as a small
Advisors, a colleague stated, “I thought I was the only one amount to pay compared to the price of unmotivated, un-
that felt this way. But now I know that I am no longer alone.” healthy staff. This initiative has helped reduce the number of
That’s a result worth replicating. sick days staff have taken.
Please send questions and comments to the author at Please send questions and comments to the authors at
lcripe@care.org or to Kathleen Gaines at kgaines@care.org. mpatose@care.org.ls and hlebone@care.org.ls MD

Staff Care in CARE
Lesotho–South Africa
Moleboheng Patose, Wellness Coordinator, and Hofnie
Lebone, Human Resources Manager
CARE Lesotho-South Africa

Stress (whether work-related or personal) in
the workplace is a common feature of life today. It can damage
the health and well-being of employees. From CARE’s perspec-
tive, employees who feel valued have lower levels of stress and
absenteeism and higher levels of motivation and loyalty to the
organization’s core business. HIV and AIDS are serious issues
for staff in CARE Lesotho-South Africa. We seek to address the
needs of an employees at all stages of the HIV/AIDS timeline:
from prevention for HIV-negative staff to impact mitigation after
death. Several initiatives are helping us to improve staff care.

Consultations for choosing the Peer Social Support Team
Through intense consultations with staff, a group of em-
ployees were chosen to be Social Support Advisors (SSAs). The
SSAs were chosen for a variety of skills, including good listen-
ing skills, empathy, calmness, popularity within the workplace
and friendliness. The SSAs offer confidential one-on-one sup-
port to staff on various issues: domestic violence, HIV man-
agement, workplace stress and employee relations. Staff now
know people are there to offer support.

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 33
Presence

more like organizing a wedding. In a
foreign country. When you don’t know
how many people will be attending the
reception. And everyone who does show
up is bound to be way more stressed
out than your average bride.
So back to Kenya, where I was sup-
posed to be heading in March. It was
all planned. We’d made all the hotel
bookings. I’d even organized to take
a couple of days after the workshops
and travel down to Tanzania to spend
a couple of days with friends. Things
were on track.
I was going to Australia in January
for almost a month, but my amazing
project manager, Bree, was going to
send out the fliers and organize the
workshop registrations in my absence.
In the flier we asked people who were

The Power of
interested in attending to send us a

Presence
200-word statement of interest. Why,
we asked, did they feel they’d benefit
from these workshops? I hoped these
statements would help me make sure
the training I planned would meet as
many of the needs as possible of the
approximately 30 people we estimated
would turn up.
So I went on a much-needed holi-
day. Bree sent out the fliers. And in-
Sometimes just “being there” makes all the difference. stead of 30 registrations, within the
first forty-eight hours after we sent the
By Lisa McKay, Director of Training and Education Services, announcement we were flooded with
Headington Institute emails from well over one hundred hu-

O
manitarian workers and mental health
n Monday I was up at in different cities around the world. By professionals who wanted to attend the
5am. This was partly because January we were well into organizing workshops. And their statements of in-
my body was convinced it our first regional training for humani- terest…they were heart-breaking.
was still in Michigan where it tarian workers in Kenya. At the same time, things were going
had woken up on Sunday, instead of in Regional training is simple, really. You from bad to worse in Kenya. I knew
California. And partly because I needed choose a city. You estimate how many when I left for Australia that things in
to be at work at 6am. people you think might show up to these Nairobi were unstable. I’d moved for-
In my opinion, 6am is practically an free workshops. You book a venue, or- ward anyway, reasoning that the vio-
obscene hour of the morning, an hour ganize catering, and review your budget. lence would probably have simmered
when no one should have to be at work You pull together a team of experienced down by March. But by the time I re-
unless it’s for an exceptionally good trainers and counselors. You co-ordi- turned to the office in February it was
cause. But although I grumbled a bit nate everyone’s dates, book air tickets, clear that the prudent course of action
to myself as I left the house in the dark, get visas, review the security situation would be to postpone the workshops.
I did have to admit it was for an excep- in the destination city, remember to pick When there would be one hundred peo-
tionally good cause. up malaria medication, plan the work- ple traveling around Nairobi to reach
Photo: Darren Baker - Fotolia.com

How it all came about is a long story shops, backup presentation materials, the training the risk was too high that
that starts in January as I was plan- and organize handouts. Oh, and check someone would get seriously hurt, or
ning for workshops in Kenya. We’re and double check which day your flight worse. Given that we could still go later
trying something new this year at the leaves because, believe it or not, that in the year when things would hope-
Headington Institute called regional one has almost derailed me more than fully have calmed down, it didn’t seem
training – running free workshops on once during the last five years. worth chancing.
understanding and coping with stress Okay, when I look at all of that may- So we postponed, which we hated to
and trauma for humanitarian workers be it’s not quite so simple. Maybe it’s have to do when the need there was so

34 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
Presence

clearly acute. And we started thinking answers for, as research on “learned
about what we could do in the mean- helplessness” suggests that when we
time to help support the hundred peo- become mute or frozen for too long in
ple who had wanted so much to attend the face of powerlessness, we tend to
the workshops. One thing we decided to end up rather hopelessly traumatized.
do was offer some free phone consulta- One person talked of the key role her
tions to anyone who had registered. An- faith has played in helping anchor her.
other was to organize several hour-long “I have found that because I can re-
webinars (virtual online trainings) on lease my powerlessness to God there is
the topic of resilience in the face of trau- a sense of relief. I feel so for friends who
ma. It was one of these webinars I was do not have faith and can only release
trundling off to co-facilitate on Monday the powerlessness into anger.”
morning at 6am, 5pm Nairobi-time. “Being there is so critical, even if you
The session was designed for other don’t know what to say,” someone else
mental health professionals, and we said. “Your mere presence is hope. The
had several counselors working with fact that you are alive, and walking,
kids living in slums in Nairobi – kids and talking, and present – that sends
the message that there is life and hope
“Your mere presence somewhere, that a different kind of fu-
ture is possible. Jesus walked among
is hope. The fact that the people. We tend to focus only on
you are alive, and the miracles that were performed, but
he must have spent most of his time
walking, and talking, simply walking among the people, and

and present – that I think that, in itself, brought hope.”
This theme of the power of presence
sends the message that is what stuck with me long after we’d
wrapped up our discussion. Presence
there is life and hope can seem like such a small offering.

somewhere, that a More than once I’ve sat on a plane my-
self wondering what I can possibly say
different kind of future in the workshops I am going to give
that will make it worth the time, the
is possible.” money, the energy and the risk to get
there. But I was reminded again on
who have seen and heard awful, aw- Monday of times when the presence
ful things in the last four months. “It’s of other people in my life has been an
overwhelming to know what violence anchor for me. I might not now be able
and poverty can do to children’s lives,” to recall even what they said, but I do
one counselor said. “My passion is remember their presence – their lov-
about helping advocate for children so ing, caring, understanding presence,
they are better served and more pro- and the message that sent that I was
tected. So when the political situation not alone.
means that stray bullets from the po- This is what the counselors we have
lice have killed two of our students, I the privilege of talking to in Kenya are
feel powerless.” trying to do for children in the slums
We ended up talking a lot on Monday right now. And what we at the Heading-
about this issue of feeling overwhelmed ton Institute – imperfectly and across
and powerless, and what can anchor many miles and time zones – are trying
us in the midst of situations that pro- to do for them.
voke those feelings. In the face of vio- This is what makes a 6am start
lence, and injustice, and the fragility of worth it: the chance that you might, by
life that is so evident when people are showing up and, through the power of
regularly being killed on your neigh- presence if nothing else, sow some
borhood streets, what do we have to seeds of hope in fields of violence and
offer as helpers? What weapons do we despair. MD
really have to fight against this feel- Please send questions and comments
ing of powerlessness? These are cru- to the author at lmckay@headington-
cial questions to find some personal institute.org.

MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 35
CAREER Developments

Considering a Career
The administrative functions may be basic duties (expense
reports, invoicing, and paperwork of all kinds) and, depending
on the level of your job, can include project direction, tech-

in Development? nical advice, coordin ation with donor agency officials, and
publication of project reports.
Logistics and Program Coordination: If you are begin-
The following is adapted from Development 101, The Develop- ning your international development portfolio these positions
ment Executive Group, Development Recruiting, www.devel- may be more suited to you. Logistics can include procure-
opmentex.com/development_recruiting/dev101/dev101.jsp ment, finances, supply chain management, office support,

A
among many other assigned duties.
re you considering pursuing an international develop- Program Coordination would be those who mostly report
ment career or consulting assignment? The following to larger Program Managers. They would help that manager
are some valuable tips you may want to consider as coordinate functions, various aspects of the program, even
you progress toward your goal. manage a small piece of the overall project. Typically they
would not supervise a staff.
Tip 1: Understand the Types of
Positions Available Tip 2: Promote Your Skills
Professionals often will speak It is common among interna-
of their interest in an interna- tional development professionals
tional development career. But to have multiple CVs or resumés.
what they envision is often vague Each version highlights and em-
and doesn’t fit with the types of phasizes a different core skill
positions available. It’s an over- area to best position you for the
simplification, but there are es- wide range of positions available.
sentially three types of jobs in As you seek to promote your
international development. If you skills, consider the many job op-
understand what each entails, it portunities available by carefully
will be easier for you to position searching the job listings on sites
yourself for a job or assignment. such as [http://careers.interac-
Technical Expert: This is what tion.org]. Select only those posi-
many professionals think of when tions for which you are truly qual-
they envision an international de- ified, and create multiple versions
velopment career. A Technical Ex- of your CV that directly address
pert is someone with a high level of specific positions. A general CV is
expertise in a particular technical much less likely to be successful,
field, such as water/sanitation, particularly if you are seeking a
public health, food distributions Technical Expert position.
& assessments, shelter building, Ours is a rapidly changing in-
designing effective livelihood proj- dustry and there are new areas
ects, etcetera. of prominence and focus each year; to be best positioned to
These positions are generally attached to specific projects promote your skills, it is critical that you remain aware of the
funded by governmental donor agencies including the World latest sectors of prominence, funding trends, and activities of
Bank, USAID, and WFP. These agencies normally have tight the world’s leading NGOs and companies.
restrictions on the qualifications for Technical Experts. It is
not uncommon for requirements to include many years of Tip 3: Experience is King
experience and an advanced degree, plus particular foreign Hands-on field experience in the relief and development
language skills and substantial in-country experience. world makes an enormous difference. No trainings, work-
Program Management: If you want to work on interna- shops, or academic knowledge can take the place of real dirt-
tional development projects but don’t have all the qualifica- under-your-fingernails kind of job experience. Making an ef-
tions to be a Technical Expert, consider a Project Manage- fort to get as much multi-cultural developing nation living
ment position. These jobs typically are located either at field and working familiarity is most valuable. The culture and
Photo: Spencer Millsap

sites or at the local country office. work is so dramatically different than any western position,
A program management position entails all aspects of man- most field staff without prior experience can spend up to
aging a staff (usually national as well as expatriate) and meet- three months just learning to survive and adapt. That three
ing the objectives of the project or program. This includes months is a programmatic loss to the beneficiaries and an
building relationships with local governments and officials. irretrievable loss of time in the grant arena. MD

36 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008
MONDAY Developments

EmploymentOpportunities
Project Manager Program Manager II- Livelihoods & Disaster
Eugene, Oregon Risk Reduction Coordinator
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) promotes the inclusion of Baltimore, MD
people with disabilities as a human rights issue. Project Man- Catholic Relief Services. Provide strategic direction, oversight
ager sought with excellent international development, project and leadership to a team of national staff to manage the trans-
management, and training skills to manage Building an Inclu- formation of CRS’ IDP Camp Support and Facilitating IDP Returns
sive Development Community project. Qualifications; BA/BS. and Reintegration program; focused on IDPs to a broader liveli-
MA/MS strongly preferred; 2 yrs field-based exp in international hoods approach that centers on strengthening communities of
development; 5 yrs project management exp, passion for em- return, incorporating elements of reducing and mitigating risk
powering people with disabilities in international contexts. Send to man-made and natural disasters. For a complete job descrip-
cover letter, resume and references to crothvinson@miusa.org. tion and to apply for this position please go to www.crs.org/
Position open until filled. Details online at www.miusa.org. about/careers.

Sr. Director, International Operations Editorial Associate
Washington, DC Washington, DC
The international development programs office of World Friends of the World Food Program is seeking an Editorial
Learning seeks a Sr. Director for International Operations Associate. This position will be Friends’ writer/editor with primary
to provide overall strategic and operational leadership for responsibility for developing and managing print and electronic
all international development programs in terms of donor communications. Candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in
accountability (reporting), finance, internal and external journalism, communications or related field, minimum of two
compliance, project initiation/closeout and administration. years’ experience in a journalism or public affairs position with
The Sr. Director works in close coordination with the Controller writing and editing responsibilities, familiarity with Associated
and CFO to ensure the finance and compliance health of the Press style, and strong computer sk ills. Ideal candidate has
international development portfolio. The Sr. Director is a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat
member of the senior team and will be involved in setting the Professional, electronic communications and digital photo
overall strategic direction and management approach for the file formats, editing and printing. To learn more visit: www.
entire international development business unit. The Sr. Director friendsofwfp.org.
reports to the SVP for International Development Programs.
Qualified candidates will have a Master’s degree in finance, Director of Advocacy
accounting or management; min. 17 yrs exp. In relevant positions Washington, DC
in management with an international focused organization, Refugees International. In close collaboration with the Vice Presi-
ideally from both a home office/field office perspective, 3 yr or dent for Policy and program staff, The Director of Advocacy is the
more living and working overseas highly desirable.  Please apply lead campaign strategist for Refugees International to help ensure
to recruitment@worldlearning.org Complete job description that the agency achieves its overall objectives in its priority goal
can be found at www.worldlearning.org areas. The position directly supervises staff focusing on advocacy
with the United Nations in New York and with Congress and the
Director of Disaster Response administration. A full Job Description is found on the RI website:
Seattle, WA www.refugeesinternational.org. Please apply by September 29,
World Concern, a recognized and experienced international 2008 to jobs@refintl.com. Please put  “Director of Advocacy”  in
Christian disaster response and development organization, is the subject line and include a cover letter, CV, writing sample and
seeking a Director of Disaster Response to prepare for, direct and references. Only finalists will be contacted to set interviews.
support disaster responses. World Concern responds to natural,
man-made and complex emergencies throughout the world.
The Director will develop policy and procedures for respond-
ing to disasters. In addition to managing responses, the Direc-
ad
eal! Job Ad Bundle!
tor will provide technical consultation to Regional Directors and
at Place a job advertisement in
develop partnerships with other agencies and donors. Requires
Wh Monday Developments and receive
25% off
BA degree plus 7 years of proven success in international disas-
ter response management, leading multi-cultural teams, able
to design, present and execute strategic plans. Solid successful
record of obtaining large scale funding from USAID, USDOS or an ad on InterAction’s
other USG entities. Seattle-based, travel 30% in unstable condi-
tions. Documentation proving legal right to work in the US will Online Job Board
be required upon hire. Apply at http://www.worldconcern.org/
NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?&pid=929&srcid=427. Contact Michael Haslett at publications@interaction.org

To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 37
EmploymentOpportunities
Director, Mickey Leland International
Hunger Fellows Program
Washington, DC
The individual is primarily responsible for directing and manag-
ing all aspects of the Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows
Program. In this capacity, s/he oversees program development;
host organization selection; fellow recruitment, selection, advis-
ing and training; and administration and budget. S/he is also re-
sponsible for overseeing the promotion of the program. This in-
dividual reports to the Deputy Director, manages the Associate
Director, and oversees other program staff. Extensive overseas
travel required. Masters Degree and 7 years of program manage-
ment preferred. Please visit our website at www.hungercenter.
org for additional information.

Reviewers
CultureGrams, a series of educational reports describing the cul-
tures of more than 200 countries, is seeking reviewers on a con-
tract basis. Reviewers receive $100–$300 for providing feedback
on the accuracy of an existing report. More than 80 countries
are available for review. Professional writing experience is not
required. Applicants must speak a national language, be well in-
tegrated in the described culture, and have lived in the country
for at least 2.5 of the last 4 years. Visit www.culturegrams.com/
submissions/reviewers.htm for more information and an online
application.

Senior Financial Officer
Silver Spring, MD
Medical Care Development International is seeking a Senior Fi-
nancial Officer for our office in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Se-
nior Financial Officer serves as primary liaison between the In-
ternational Division Financial Unit, the corporate office Finance/
Accounting department, and Field Office finance staff. The posi-
tion requires 7-10 years experience in a relevant business setting
of which five years must be in the management of USAID grants/
contracts and/or multilateral development bank contracts. Ex-
perience with the application of technical accounting principles,
management of the accounting cycle, and familiarity with OMB
133 audits is a must. A BS in accounting/finance is required. E-
mail cover letter and resume to mcdi@mcd.org.

Senior Health Program Officer
Silver Spring, MD
Medical Care Development International is seeking a Senior
Health Program Officer for our office in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Senior Health Program Officers lead the Program Support Team
for their assigned field programs. Qualified candidates must have
a minimum of an MPH (or equivalent) with five to ten years of
experience in international health (at least two years in a devel-
oping country setting); significant technical capacity in malaria
prevention/control and/or in maternal and child health; signifi-
cant health program management experience under contracts
with USAID/World Bank/Global Fund; demonstrated ability to
manage the proposal writing process; competency in Microsoft
Office Suite; and be fluent in English with capacity in French or
Spanish. International travel (10-25% time) is required. E-mail
cover letter and resume to mcdi@mcd.org.

38 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org
To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 39
40 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org
To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 41
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex,
and more violent. It takes a touch of genius— and a lot of
courage—to move in the opposite direction.”
—Albert Einstein, at whose suggestion the IRC was founded

PETER RUOT | Education
South Sudan

It takes the best to prevail against
the worst of crises.

To join us, please visit: theIRC.org/Jobs

42 MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org
SKILL
AND
PASSION
AT WORK
Current
Openings
Reproductive Health Manager
Chad

Health Coordinator
Chad

Senior Gender Based Violence
Program Coordinator
Kinshasa, DR Congo

Grants Coordinator
Sudan

Chief of Party
South Sudan

Deputy Director of Operations
South Sudan

To learn more about working
with us, please visit

theIRC.org/Jobs

To advertise, call 202-667-8227 ext 548 or email publications@interaction.org MONDAY DEVELOPMENTS September 2008 43
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 667-8227
Fax: (202) 667-8236
publications@interaction.org
www.interaction.org

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international
development and humanitarian nongovernmental
organizations. With more than 160 members operating in every
developing country, we work to overcome poverty, exclusion
and suffering by advancing social justice and basic dignity for all.