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Setting up a Duty of Care program, where do you start?

Duty of Care was at the heart of the NGO Advisory Forum

The latest NGO Advisory Forum was all about the critical topic of Duty of Care. In this exclusive, invitation only, panel discussion in Washington DC, experts spoke about the issues that come about while setting up a Duty of Care program and raising awareness regarding insurance.

Sadly, not every NGO has set up a full Duty of Care program yet, even though it’s of the utmost importance to monitor travelers. Many smaller organizations feel they don’t have the means financially, or the knowledge to manage risk and implement a Duty of Care program. The thought can be quite overwhelming, so what should you do in a situation like that?

First of all, it’s vital to build incrementally. Be realistic about targets; you can’t do it all at once. Experts at the panel discussion advised that you should talk to colleagues and the existing network. Small organizations can start with implementing small things, such as track and trace and have a well-managed travel program. Spending a couple of days with a Duty of Care specialist can already point you in the right direction.

Setting up a tracking system might be a basic step to take, however, there is no such thing as a perfect tracking system. There is a lot of technology available, but it comes down to the data. How do you track travelers when they are away from the airport or a major city? There are tools, but the most challenging part is often to get the consent of personnel to allow them to track them. Tracking is a great way to improve safety, but don’t lose sight of the broader risk assessment. Don’t over-rely on tracking.

One example of starting small building up a Duty of Care program is to make sure the insurance is in order. Some NGO's send their travelers to a remote area on a tourist visa, which means their company travel insurance is now null and void.

The panel raised awareness that as an NGO, you need the right insurance based on the risk that you and your travelers encounter. There are many, many details to cover with insurance, but you can't get lost thinking about that. The main conversation should be about managing risk and the people you're helping. In a crisis, you don’t want to think about coverage, but moving forward instead.

The NGO Advisory Forum is an international panel discussing the important topics in the humanitarian community. We believe our world is a better place when your compassion can travel where it is needed most, and we are glad to help you with every step of the way. Follow our blog for more current topics.