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Duty of Care: Appropriate Measures to Prevent Foreseeable Risks

Humanitarian work is one of the most incredible professions in the world. Volunteers and staff dedicate their lives to saving those of others. It shows the positive traits of humanity—compassion and caring. To carry out their mission, humanitarians deploy internationally to help those most in need.

This means going to remote areas, zones that face conflict or the aftermath of disasters. As such, humanitarians are exposed to a number of risks while in the field. However, many of these are foreseeable risks and can be easily prevented. So, how can we take appropriate measures and keep humanitarians safe while traveling?

What is a foreseeable risk?

The law defines a foreseeable risk as the likelihood of injury or damage that a reasonable person should be able to anticipate under a specific set of circumstances.

In practice, this can mean a number of different situations and types of risk. For example, a volunteer is deploying to the tropics with high rates of malaria. His or her chance of contracting the disease is high. In this case, the organization and the individual should take precaution and practice malaria prevention. Precautionary travel immunizations should be an essential step in your humanitarian travel planning.

In another case, a staff member might deploy to a conflict zone. This involves a much more complex set of risk analysis and mitigation. For example, the organization must provide identifying emblems to protect any convoys just as the ICRC does with their employees. The organization should also organize only the necessary tours and follow security protocols. We made a list of travel warnings and alerts for you.

Alternatively, when there is deployment to a post-disaster area, organizations must evaluate current conditions. If there was an earthquake, is there a possibility aftershocks or a tsunami? Are there any sanitation issues related to flooding after a hurricane? What kind of infrastructure is currently available?

Implementing Duty of Care

Mitigating and assessing these foreseeable risks is the practice of Duty of Care. Because each situation is so different, Duty of Care must be an ongoing practice. Additionally, Duty of Care is the responsibility of everyone involved. The deploying organization carries the legal Duty of Care, while the individuals and others also have a moral Duty of Care.

This means that all parties have to do everything possible to prevent security and health incidents. It’s a mutual understanding between the organization and the individual. Both parties hold a level of responsibility. Of course, the organization has a legal responsibility, while the individual only has a moral one.

It might seem like a natural course to care for your staff and volunteers. But situations on the ground may be extremely complex. So, formal structures must be in place to set up a proper Duty of Care program.

Travel where you are needed most

Risk assessment and mitigation

In order to prevent these foreseeable risks, there must be risk assessment and mitigation tools in place. Most organization will have a special protocol to follow. This will depend on the size of the organization and where staff and volunteers deploy to.

Some features might include evaluating the current situation through local contacts, news, and agency reports. Next, there must be a clear understanding of the types of potential risks on the ground. From there, the organizations will run data reports and statistics to understand the potential for exposure.

To mitigate risks, the organization might take measures such as security briefings and reports. They may provide medical guidelines, packing guidelines, security escorts, etc. In severe cases, organizations might cancel activities or evacuate their staff and volunteers.

Raptim Duty of Care

At Raptim, we actively put our Duty of Care in practice. We support our travelers throughout their journey—before departure, while in the field and upon return. Our main focus is on communication and information sharing.

This means that we provide travelers with updates and push notifications to keep them informed. We also ensure communication between the organization and their field staff at all times. When necessary, we send out alerts and warnings. Plus, we support future assessments by streamlining travel reports.

We Help You to Travel Where it is Needed Most

We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. Our experienced staff can be reached at any given time. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions. You can also follow our blog for more stories and travel information.

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