Category: Research

New case study: BRAC adopts a new HR model

In 2012, BRAC decided to implement a new strategic HR model to ensure the organisation's effectiveness and sustainability. This case study examines the HR initiatives undertaken, as well as the challenges, lessons learned, and impact of the model.

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Read the full story  (21 May 2015)

How does a humanitarian aid worker become an 'exemplary field leader'?

This final article on the research of Dr Scott Breslin highlights the features of exemplary humanitarian aid workers that contribute to their effectiveness and wellbeing at work. It then presents three recommendations for HR practitioners to ensure workplace conditions which support successful recruitment and retention of staff, as well as staff wellbeing and effective performance.

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Read the full story  (20 May 2015)

New case study: ActionAid Uganda reduces staff attrition with a new recruitment policy

In this case study, ActionAid Uganda shares an initiative it undertook to improve its staff recruitment process. By embedding a comprehensive recruitment guideline in its HR Policy manual, ActionAid Uganda has reduced staff attrition from 13% in 2013 to 10% in 2014.

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Read the full story  (20 May 2015)

New case study: TPO Uganda's staff reward programme improves performance and builds relationships

In 2013, TPO Uganda introduced a new staff reward programme, made up of gifts in kind, to reward outstanding quality of work throughout the year. The HR department also organised a skills-building activity programme that enabled staff to reduce stress through structured exercises, including effective team building, zumba dance and relay exercises.

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Read the full story  (1 May 2015)

New case study: GOAL reviews its HR policies and practices to ensure they are in line with international good practice

With a mission to ensure the world's most vulnerable people have access to fundamental human rights, GOAL works in 16 countries and has a workforce of 3800. In this case study, GOAL shares the process it undertook to review its HR policies and practices to meet international good practice standards.

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Read the full story  (29 April 2015)

Is performance management killing our business?

Ann Start, People In Aid consultant and former board member, discusses how to improve personal and organisational achievement by transforming the performance management process.

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Read the full story  (28 April 2015)

New case study: ActionAid Denmark shares its measures to address stress in the workplace

This case study describes how ActionAid Denmark reduced cases of stress-related workplace absence by introducing a stress management programme based on a Job Satisfaction policy.

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Read the full story  (27 April 2015)

New case study: Community World Service Asia - Capacity building strengthens quality and accountability in the Philippines

This case study highlights the capacity building that Community World Service (CWS) Asia undertook in the Philippines following typhoon Yolanda in 2013. It details how to maintain focus on HR during a disaster, particularly regarding the skills, knowledge, and attitude required and expected of an aid worker to deliver high quality services to communities.

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Read the full story  (17 April 2015)

New case study: Staff association leads to improved staff wellbeing at CAFOD's Kenya office

This case study highlights the positive impact that CAFOD Kenya's staff association has had on motivating and engaging the local workforce, and provides an example of good practice for staff consultation and participation.

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Read the full story  (15 April 2015)

Gender and women in leadership series

Beginning on UN International Women's Day, March 8, we created a month-long series of resources highlighting gender issues and women in leadership.

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Read the full story  (10 April 2015)

New case study: Female mine deactivating teams in Laos provide a different perspective on women in the workplace

This is the final article in our month-long series highlighting gender issues and women in leadership that began on International Women's Day, March 8. In this case study, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) illustrates the context and conditions in which female mine deactivation teams work, and the challenges they face in the most bombed country in the world, Laos.

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Read the full story  (8 April 2015)

How to unleash the human potential of your people to drive organisational effectiveness

We are currently in The Human Age, a volatile and fast-changing new era that puts unprecedented value on human potential as the driver of business success. This is the view shared by ManpowerGroup, guest author in our research report, The State of HR 2014: A Question of Impact. Human talent is now the catalyst for economic, political and social change, as well as the source of inspiration, transformation, innovation and new developments according to ManpowerGroup. The Human Age also poses great challenges to businesses and leaders. The following is a short summary of the article, which can be accessed in full from the State of HR report.

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Read the full story  (7 April 2015)

Agency preparation for staff working in insecure environments

How a 'Personal Safety for Humanitarians' course effectively provided the building blocks to develop security skills.

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Read the full story  (28 March 2015)

Why gender matters - but not just gender - in aid work

In the third in our series of articles looking at gender and leadership, Dr Silke Roth, Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Southampton, shares her insight into how gender matters within aid organisations.

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Read the full story  (27 March 2015)

Women's Leadership Learning

On UN International Women's Day, March 8th we shared the first in our series of interviews, articles and other resources highlighting gender issues and are keen to share more resources that will enable NGO managers to better "uphold women's achievements, recognise challenges, and focus greater attention on women's rights and gender equality to mobilise all people to do their part".

This second piece in the series examines important strategies for women's leadership learning.

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Read the full story  (24 March 2015)

Collaboration: What do featherless chickens and cranberry farmers have to teach us?

It is critical for NGOs to understand how to improve processes and skills, increasing the innovation necessary to build collaboration internally, with partners and with other external stakeholders. A Future of Work Masterclass, 'The Collaboration Imperative', took place in London this week and brought together HR, OD and other senior executives from some of the world's largest and most successful private sector companies. The NGO sector was represented by participants from the British Red Cross, Save the Children, and People In Aid. Together, we were all invited to learn how managing complex collaboration is a trainable organisational capability.

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Read the full story  (6 February 2015)

Dealing with challenging relationships: vital skills for international managers

How vital is it for international managers to have the appropriate people skills to deal with challenging relationships in their teams? People in Aid recently highlighted the research carried out by Dr Scott Breslin, a humanitarian worker and leader with almost 30 years' experience, looking at key aptitudes for INGO leaders working in an international context. In this second article, he briefly explains how his research data led him to a series of conclusions about the appropriate skills to deal with challenging relationships, and what this might mean for HR specialists in the international aid sector.


Read the full story  (6 February 2015)

Research: aid worker retention

Research shows that 40% of MSF-Holland's (MSF-H) aid workers between 2003 and 2008 re-enlisted for a second mission. There is some great material, both quantitative and qualitative, which offers useful insights into retention and turnover. Previous data used for retention and turnover studies have been smaller and more generic so the results, the reasons for turnover, from this MSF-H data set, as compiled and analysed by a team of researchers of the department of Sociology at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), are of interest to many agencies.

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Read the full story  (5 February 2015)

New case study: learning review of organisational change

This case study is a summary of a recent external learning review undertaken by Jon Hailey, Professor of NGO Management at CASS Business School. Professor Hailey reviewed the transformation of EveryChild from an international NGO to a network of national NGOs, and its journey of change between 2008 and 2014. The issues highlighted include clarity of strategy and vision, transition planning, the perceived distortions of partnerships between North and South, staffing, resource allocation, leadership and commitment. This case study extracts, for People In Aid readers, some of the lessons related to staff which our members may value

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Read the full story  (14 January 2015)

The professionalisation agenda - where next?

In our recently published research report, The State of HR 2014: A Question of Impact, Executive Director Jonathan Potter writes about the professionalisation agenda in our sector, highlights some of the initiatives helping to drive it forward, and raises some of the issues that need to be addressed collectively in order for it to be successful. The following is an edited extract from the article, which can be accessed in full from the State of HR report.

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Read the full story  (7 January 2015)

New actors and new systems bring new risks: updated Handbook of Good Practices for Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations available

Last week, Transparency International released an updated version of its Handbook of Good Practices for Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations. First published in 2010, the handbook is the culmination of a multi-year project designed to identify potential corruption risks in humanitarian operations, and develop tools for addressing those risks. Developed together with others in the sector, it covers policies and procedures for transparency, integrity and accountability, and shows how to tackle corruption risks from procurement and transport to human resource management and accounting. The 2014 update to the handbook reflects expanded and new content to ensure it remains relevant, useful, and supports our collective efforts in this area. People In Aid members can also now download copies of HR and people management related tools extracted from the updated handbook directly from our Resource Centre.

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Read the full story  (17 December 2014)

New case study: leadership coaching and international development at ActionAid International

This case study looks at a programme of coaching initiated at ActionAid International in support of leadership development interventions. In 2003 ActionAid International embarked on an internationalisation strategy, effectively shifting the locus of power from north to south, with a vision of developing shared leadership. The cultural shift meant, among other things, that countries became independent and had more responsibility in crafting their own destiny. This put pressure on country directors who were now accountable for general management with a significant governance change management agenda. In many cases there was a capability gap where the leadership, often from formidable activist backgrounds, needed to shift from leading self and functions, to leading the organisation in the context of a changing global federation.

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Read the full story  (13 November 2014)

Survey: INGO Management Agenda 2015

People in Aid has teamed up with Roffey Park Institute again this year to survey the views of managers and HR professionals working in the INGO sector. The People in Aid/Roffey Park Management Agenda will identify the issues and challenges faced by managers, both from HR and the wider business, in the INGO sector. This year's survey covers topics including ethics, values, diversity, leadership and culture. Take part, and in addition to providing valuable insight into the challenges faced in the INGO sector, you could win an iPad!

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Read the full story  (16 October 2014)

Supporting the supporters: post-earthquake research from New Zealand

The present Ebola crisis is likely to redefine attitudes to non-conflict-related disaster recovery. A country affected, not a community; an epidemic the cause, not people or nature; never-ending potential for increased response; prime need for a single skillset, healthcare workers, who need careful physical and psychosocial support. Yet constantly, all around the world, there are floods, fires - and disasters like the earthquake in Canterbury, New Zealand (2011) which prompted Jolie Willis of the NZ Red Cross to research and write 'Supporting the Supporters'.

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Read the full story  (15 October 2014)

Survey results highlight barriers to health insurance coverage for national and local NGO staff

Earlier this summer People In Aid asked our members and website visitors to complete a survey about current and planned health insurance coverage for their organisations. The survey was run along with our global partner Vanbreda International, a company of Cigna, and aimed to identify how NGOs address some of the challenges of offering insurance in our sector. What are the most important benefits that are currently offered? Who makes insurance purchasing decisions for staff, and where are they located? What are some of the barriers to offering insurance to different types of staff?

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Read the full story  (2 September 2014)

Event: NGO Local Pay and Reward Network Meeting

At Humanitarian HR Europe 2014 we talked about reward from the perspective of global mobility. Earlier this year, we talked about reward from the perspective of fair pay and the idea of 'what is fair'. In September, we'll be hearing the results of the NGO Local Pay salary survey carried out by The Birches Group in partnership with People In Aid and InsideNGO, focusing on the latest salary benchmarking data from 85 countries. What are the latest trends, and what are the implications for reward specialists?

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Read the full story  (12 August 2014)

Deadline extended: survey to help improve international health care coverage

We have extended the deadline for our survey with Vanbreda International on international health care coverage. Take part, and support free resources for southern-based NGOs. The survey will remain open until Monday 11 August.

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Read the full story  (8 August 2014)

Rethinking operational leadership: new research from ALNAP challenges perceptions

By Fiona Sinclair

On Wednesday this week, ALNAP launched its latest report at a panel-lead event in London, challenging assumptions around what successful operational leadership looks like. The report 'Between chaos and control: Rethinking operational leadership' was presented by Paul Knox-Clarke, Head of Research and Communications at ALNAP, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Jane Cocking, Humanitarian Director at Oxfam GB, with participants Chris Kaye from WFP and Steve Goudswaard from World Vision

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Read the full story  (1 August 2014)

How to evaluate HR?

By Jonathan Potter

Evaluating HR is not a priority in most organisations - and this leaves the HR function, and good practice in people management, low-profile and vulnerable. This was one of the messages from Willem van Eekelen, an experienced evaluator speaking at Humanitarian HR Europe 2014 in Budapest earlier this month.

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Read the full story  (30 June 2014)

Improving the effectiveness of the HR Function in Third Sector organisations - benchmarking study

People In Aid is delighted to be partnering with Agenda Consulting again in 2014 to support the People Count Third Sector benchmarking study, which examines how workforce and human resources practices compare across the UK charity sector. The study can help participants to gain new insights on good practice, determine priorities for action and provide evidence to support change.

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Read the full story  (15 May 2014)

Employee Engagement in the 3rd Sector - A Time Bomb Waiting to Explode?

Recent research carried out by Cerus Consulting has revealed that the surveys and associated approaches used by many charities to measure employee engagement all too often provide an over-optimistic picture of the true state of engagement.

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Read the full story  (18 March 2014)

Staff Care workshop: Managing Kidnap and Ransom Situations

Following the success of this event in September we will be running the workshop again in Antwerp, Belgium on 3 April 2014.

A staff member has just been abducted, what is the first thing you do?

You have just been abducted, what is the first thing you do?

This Kidnap and Ransom workshop will explore answers to the above, both from the perspective of aid workers as well advice on what HR and management staff should do in the immediate aftermath of an incident and from then on.

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Read the full story  (17 February 2014)

New Case Study: NRC - Working Towards a Holistic Approach to Debriefing

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) share in depth their experience of exactly why debriefing is so important, and why we should all work towards a holistic approach to debriefing.

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Read the full story  (5 February 2014)

Impact evaluation priorities

Our colleagues at Evidence Aid are currently undertaking a project which aims to identify areas that most need evidence to inform policy and practice for humanitarian assistance. On their behalf, we are pleased to share the information and encourage you to take part in their research.

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Read the full story  (13 January 2014)

EU Aid Volunteers - join the discussion

The EU Aid Volunteer Programme has been established by DG ECHO "to express the EU's humanitarian values and solidarity with people in need through support to volunteering in the humanitarian sector". Through this the intention is to strengthen the EU's capacity to respond to crises and build the capacity of vulnerable or disaster-affected countries in third countries.

If you are involved in volunteering, have your voice heard in discussions about the EU Aid Volunteer process by joining the online consultation.

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Read the full story  (17 December 2013)

New ELRHA report: Evidence review of research on health interventions in humanitarian crises

A new report confirms the need for further research to strengthen the evidence base on public health interventions in humanitarian crises. The evidence review, commissioned by ELRHA and funded by DFID and the Wellcome Trust, was led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with The Harvard School of Public Health and the Overseas Development Institute.

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Read the full story  (3 December 2013)

Equality In Aid: Addressing Caste Discrimination in Humanitarian Response

In his foreword to this new report published by the International Dalit Solidarity Network, Claus Sørensen, Director-General of the EU Humanitarian Office (ECHO), notes that "more remains to be done to ensure that equality in humanitarian response overall is achieved". He adds that the report identifies "clear recommendations for how to achieve this in the context of caste discrimination."

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Read the full story  (30 October 2013)

Aid Worker Security Report 2013: The New Normal: Coping with the kidnapping threat

This fourth edition of the Aid Worker Security Report provides the latest verified statistics on global violence against aid workers, and takes an in-depth look at kidnapping, which in 2012 affected more aid workers than any other form of major violent attack. Although kidnapping outcomes are less lethal than other means of violence (over 80 per cent of aid worker kidnap victims survive) the growing prevalence of kidnapping and its unique potential to disrupt operations warrant special consideration.

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Read the full story  (29 October 2013)

How to Get Your Job Advertising Right

People In Aid and Peninsula Business Services are partnering to bring you "How to" guides aimed at assisting HR and People Management practitioners across our global network.

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Read the full story  (8 October 2013)

Harmonizing Work, Family and Personal Life.. from policy to practice

Ruth O'Donohoe, HR Manager for Ire & UK for Concern Worldwide, has kindly summarised the above book, written by Steven A.Y. Poelmans and Paula Caligiuri, pulling out key learning points.

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Read the full story  (21 September 2013)

How to make yourself the best candidate for the job

What do NGO human resources staff look for when sifting through hundreds of resumes? Put simply by People In Aid HR Services Manager Emmanuelle Lacroix: "somebody with the right fit who can do the job". Most NGO recruiters have literally piles of CVs on their desks. So as an applicant, you need to remember the following key things when pulling together your application.

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Read the full story  (18 September 2013)

Irish Aid Guidelines for NGO Professional Safety & Security Risk Management

People In Aid donor, Irish Aid, has published the following guidelines which are, in its own words, "designed to help our NGO partners to fulfil their duty of care responsibilities towards their own staff, most especially through an enhanced implementation of their own existing governance processes and in view of their legal obligations as employers."

You can download the full guidelines on our website now.

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Read the full story  (28 August 2013)

The 2013 Aid Worker Security Report

The 2013 Aid Worker Security Report will be out in October and key findings indicate that despite an increase in attacks, fewer aid workers were affected (272 victims, down from 308 in 2011).

Despite this decrease kidnapping remains the most prevalent threat to aid workers with 91 aid workers kidnapped in 2012, and many more that go unreported.

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Read the full story  (22 August 2013)

Simulations and their use in the humanitarian sector

Simulations and drills are used in all walks of life to test and prepare specific skills and competencies - whether it is for the emergency services, health professionals, military or airline pilots - and the humanitarian sector is no different. Simulations provide an excellent opportunity to build relationships, test individual competencies and provide a safe learning space for participants to try out new behaviours or approaches.

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Read the full story  (20 May 2013)

Return on Investment as a critical measure of HR management success

The new People In Aid newsletter, themed around Return on Investment (ROI), will arrive on people's desks next week. In the lead-up to its release, Islamic Relief Worldwide recently shared their experience and systems in measuring HR management success.

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Read the full story  (1 May 2013)

UK HR and Workforce Benchmarking in the Third Sector - your chance to take part

People in Aid is delighted to continue to support People Count Third Sector 2013, the UK's leading HR and Workforce Benchmarking Study for the sector, which provides you with a management tool to contribute to performance improvement and cost savings across your organisation.

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Read the full story  (16 April 2013)

How-To Guide: How to Minimise Conflict in the Workplace

Global employee assistance programme CiC has kindly provided this new How To Guide to our already popular set of guides.

"Conflict is a certainty in every workplace, yours included. Conflict comes in many different forms, from everyday disagreements to full-scale verbal and physical fighting. The impact of conflict within your team or organisation depends on your ability to manage it."

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Read the full story  (12 March 2013)

Reward staff for their relationship with aid recipients, stresses new book.

By Adam Bentham

On 15 January 2013 I attended the ALNAP book launch of 'Time to listen: hearing people on the receiving end of international aid'. The book was presented at the event by one of the authors, Director of the Listening Project, Dayna Brown.

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Read the full story  (17 January 2013)

The Context Project: training materials available to help develop national staff capacity

Leading and responding effectively to a looming or full-scale humanitarian emergency requires a special combination of skills: stress management, understanding needs and communicating with different stakeholders; prioritising tasks under pressure, and the application of accepted humanitarian norms and standards. Now, thanks to a unique partnership between 15 NGOs*, humanitarian organisations can freely access a fully comprehensive training program designed to support the development of key behavioural skills set out in the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework.

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Read the full story  (28 September 2012)

Roffey Park's INGO Management Report 2012

We are pleased to announce the launch of Roffey Park's INGO Management Agenda 2012. Offering a snapshot of how organisations are really operating in the current climate, this yearly research is widely accredited as one of the most important and reliable indicators of emerging workplace trends in the UK.

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Read the full story  (10 September 2012)

Case Study: The Value of Human Resources in Church Word Service Pakistan/Afghanistan

Our new case study from Church World Service Pakistan/Afghanistan explains how the organisation's performance was enhanced by an increased focus on staff care, recruitment and retention.

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Read the full story  (16 August 2012)

Building Resilient Managers in Humanitarian Organisations Research - Now free to download

In times of increasing economic pressure and a culture of 'doing more with less', the topic of staff resilience is more relevant than ever. It often seems that our understanding of resilience in relation to humanitarian workers lacks the depth and nuance it deserves, and is increasingly becoming divorced from an organisational context. We are pleased to now be able to offer this downloadable research on the topic free of charge.

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Read the full story  (20 July 2012)

Meeting the Urban Challenge

ALNAP (Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action) recently launched the paper 'Meeting the Urban Challenge: Adapting humanitarian efforts to an urban world'. The urban challenge is one which People In Aid recognises our members are increasingly facing and we looked in this paper for some insights into the staff-related impact.

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Read the full story  (19 July 2012)

Humanitarian Education and Training Conference report

Recent decades have seen significant international change and a growth in the demand for humanitarian action. This has prompted the sector to grow and transform the way it responds to humanitarian need. Responding efficiently and effectively to today's crises requires a significant human resource. But where do, or should, these resources come from? How should humanitarian professionals be trained and how should humanitarian organisations and training institutions interact?

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Read the full story  (25 January 2012)

New Study by Dr Amanda Comoretto - Resilience in Humanitarian Aid Workers: Understanding Processes of Development

Resilience describes factors that promote wellbeing in individuals undergoing stressful life conditions. Only recently has attention towards workplace adversity in humanitarian aidworkers become the focus of attention. While some aidworkers leave their organisations because of issues associated with workplace adversity, many are likely to remain. This raises the issue of why some people are able to thrive despite challenging career choices, while others do not.

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Read the full story  (4 December 2011)

New Research: The Importance of HR Management in Supporting Staff Working in Hazardous Environments

With statistics showing that nearly one third of deaths of humanitarian aid workers occur in the first three months of duty, it is vital that organisations place the utmost importance on ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of staff before, during and on completion of their assignment.

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Read the full story  (5 October 2011)

World Humanitarian Day 2011 - The resilience of aid workers

There is never a year without a disaster. World Humanitarian Day is, put briefly, a 'celebration of people helping people'. It is a chance to recognise the heroic work aid workers do around the world. To mark the day (19 August 2011), we have discounted downloads of some new key research into the resilience of aid workers.

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Read the full story  (17 August 2011)

Humanitarian Professionalisation - Global Survey

ELRHA are aiming to reach over 2,000 respondents to get their views and suggestions relating to professional development within the humanitarian sector.

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Read the full story  (2 August 2011)

ALNAP's Leadership in Action report

By Jonathan Potter

When ALNAP launched their report on leadership, the conversation turned to risk. I'll add some details of specific interest to senior manager and HR professionals, but want to mention first the agreed next step: for ALNAP to convene meetings with donors and CEOs to see what can be done about two factors which mitigate against leadership (or 'stifles leaders' space' as one speaker put it): risk aversion and compliance.

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Read the full story  (29 June 2011)

Building Resilient Managers in Humanitarian Organisations: new research

Through this report, People In Aid undertakes an initial exploration of the personal skills and strengths and organisational structures and practices which can promote resilience in managers working for international humanitarian organisations.

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Read the full story  (3 March 2011)