Travelling to Africa
News & community - Update

Centre for Safety helps NGOs to navigate dangerous situations

An interview with founder Ebe Brons

Centre for Safety helps prepare NGOs, humanitarian aid organizations and their staff for their invaluable work across the world. Through intense training courses, Centre for Safety gives compassionate humanitarians ways and means to operate appropriately under the often dangerous conditions that they work in.

Centre for Safety, helping NGOs since 2004

“When we started thirteen years ago, we were calling up NGOs to suggest they should practice safety,” Ebe Brons tells Raptim Humanitarian Travel. He co-founded Centre for Safety back in 2004, and he is its current CEO. “Back then, NGOs thought it was a ridiculous idea to learn how to deal with dangerous situations. It was not integrated into their systems at all.”

Nowadays, Ebe notices that the landscape has made a 180 degrees turn.” There is practically no NGO left that does not work on safety. Every humanitarian worker going abroad is educated.” Aside from duty of care, Ebe has another theory why safety is being taken much more seriously these days.

“Personally, I think it’s because families at home used to believe that being a humanitarian was simply a great adventure. However, through the years, more and more family members read news stories about terrible things that happen in those remote locations. So now, with NGOs taking safety very seriously, it transcends trust to humanitarian’s families.”

Centre for Safety is a Netherlands-based foundation specialized in providing aid worker training, NGO training and field security management training, as well as advice and inform the aid workers. The Foundation gives over a hundred training sessions a year to more than 1,300 aid workers and managers from all around the world.

Ebe would say that the three-days Basic Safety & Security Course HEAT, is the most important one that Centre for Safety organizes. "It is our flagship. We teach basic skills to travel and work overseas safely. The focus is on the practical training. Usually, highly educated people participate in our course. We could give them a book on safety to read."

"However, I can tell you, when they're abroad and being robbed or they face some other danger, that book’s knowledge is worth nothing," Ebe says. "That is why we teach practical skills in situations, as close to reality as possible. So when something does happen, they know exactly what they need to do, because they recognize the situation."

The world is getting more and more dangerous for humanitarian aid workers. To deal with the increasingly difficult circumstances, Centre for Safety developed the Advanced Safety & Security Course, or HEAT+. This course will start in July. "We are starting a new, four-day course which is much more intense than the basic course. Participants will go to a training ground and face even more simulations."

It's possible to participate in this course without having done the necessary safety training. "The underlying thought behind the advanced course is that humanitarian aid workers are traveling to increasingly dangerous areas. NGOs are in Syria, South Sudan or the Central African Republic, these are incredibly hazardous locations

Photo by Annelien Nijland

As an all-serving travel management company, we contribute by helping humanitarian organizations get to locations where their help is most needed. If you want to learn more about our inspirations, vision, and goals as a travel management company, then browse through our daily updated News & Community section.