Monday, December 03, 2012

Threat and Vulnerability Assessments in Seven Questions

Harm – Loss – Disruption* (to an organization, its staff, its assets)

1. Who might want to cause it?
2. Why might they want to cause it?
3. What type could they cause?
4. How much impact could it have?
5. How likely is it?
6. What can be done to decrease the chances?
7. What can be done if it occurs?

Humanitarian safety and security is not rocket science! And assessments don't need to be overly complex or time consuming (most of them don't even need to be conducted by a full-time safety and security practitioner; and that's coming from someone who makes a living in the profession).

Anyone can ask the above seven questions. Just be sure to involve other people (preferably field staff) who can help with answers you don't know or aren't fully clear on. Keep the process uncomplicated and concise and treat it as a conversation that's meant to deepen understanding. After you've finished answering the questions, write up a plan (again, concise) based on your findings. Then implement it.

When it came to building design, the famous architect Mies van der Rohe once said, "less is more." The same holds true for practicing NGO safety and security...

*Harm = Injury or death (people) or damage (property) Loss = Losing possession (property)Disruption = Interruption of normal operations



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