Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Primary Readings

If you’re new to NGO security and want to come up to speed on fundamentals and accepted practices, here are three primary sources to get you started. They’re all free, but you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.

Operational Security Management in Violent Environments, Koenraad Van Brabant. The roots of NGO security can be traced back to a U.S. Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance initiative to develop security training for the humanitarian community. Grant money funded working groups and the development of training material. Koenraad Van Brabant, who was a member of the original NGO Security Working Group, wrote this seminal book on humanitarian security. (The book is also known as GPR 8, for number 8 in the series of Good Practice Reviews published by the Humanitarian Practice Network.)

Mainstreaming the Organisational Management of Safety and Security, Koenraad Van Brabant. In 2001, Van Brabant’s follow-up to GPR 8 was published. Where GPR 8 is primarily field-oriented, “Mainstreaming” focuses on security management practices and philosophies. The two volumes form the foundations of contemporary NGO security, and many of the community’s training sessions are based on Van Brabant’s works.

Generic Security Guide for Humanitarian Organisations. Most of the big NGOs have their own security manuals, but this one, produced by ECHO (the Humanitarian Aid Department of the European Commission) is by far the most comprehensive and easiest to use. Download it, read it, print it. It’s very good. Versions are available in English, French and Arabic.

CARE International Safety & Security Handbook. A concise and comprehensive reference designed for CARE staff throughout the world. The 2004, 2nd edition has lots of checklists and covers a variety of topics. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic versions available. (Thanks to Bob Macpherson, CARE Security Unit director, for these files.)

Staying alive: safety and security guidelines for humanitarian volunteers in conflict areas. ICRC released an updated version of this classic field guide in January 2006, and we immediately added it to our primary reading list. The best and most usable guide to safety and security issues in conflict zones.

RedR Training Resources. A link to a collection of security papers on various topics. Good content, used as resources for RedR trainers.


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