Duty of Care Tips In The Field
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5 Duty of Care Tips You Can Work With in The Field

Humanitarian work is essential to help those in need and to save lives. But since a lot of aid goes to countries facing conflicts or substandard quality of living, humanitarian work does come with a number of risks. As such, duty of care is essential to ensure the protection of aid workers.

 What is duty of care?

Duty of care is the responsibility of both organizations and individuals to ensure workers’ safety and security. It is not only a moral duty, but a legal requirement for organizations. When deploying humanitarians to international duty stations, this is particularly relevant.

It’s easy to keep an eye on someone back home. But when you are working in a conflict zone or a developing country, things in the field can be quite different. It’s important to ensure that your organizations takes all the necessary steps to protect your health and safety. But you can also take certain steps to implement duty of care from your side.

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Here are some tips on how you can do this.

Tip #1: Assess and mitigate risks

First of all, you have to assess the level of risk in the field. There are a number of resources you can use for risk assessment. Typically, organizations will have a specific process for this. If they do not, make sure that you encourage your organization to implement one.

Once you know what the risks are, take the appropriate measure to prevent foreseeable risks. This essentially constitutes one of the main steps when it comes to duty of care.

Tip #2: Follow the rules

Organizations develop rules and security protocols for all field work. Humanitarians who travel to duty stations are expected to familiarize themselves with these and follow them. The truth is that there is a reason why these rules are in place. And to contribute to duty of care, it is important to follow these.

Tip #3: Communicate and stay connected

One of the best ways to ensure that your organizations can provide duty of care is to keep them informed. Officers from headquarters may not be aware of everything happening on the ground. It is your responsibility to communicate any concerns. You should also communicate your itineraries and plans, especially in high-risk areas.

Tip #4: Research and get informed

When you are in the field, it is often upto you to make decisions and last-minute calls. In order to be prepared for this, do your research on the local situation. Make sure you know what is happening and why. Learn about the culture and customs of your destination. This way, you can avoid many unpleasant situations.

Tip #5: Ask for duty of care services

All organizations have the duty of care for their aid workers. However, some are more effective than others. It’s a good idea to review your organization’s process for duty of care and aid worker protection. If you feel that it is not sufficient, it’s important to take initiative and ask for more comprehensive duty of care services.

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