Home > Blog > Are you an NGO with security concerns?

Are you an NGO with security concerns?

by Chris Abbott


High-profile attacks against humanitarians in 2016 included the rape and assault of foreign aid workers in Juba by South Sudanese troops in July and the killing of a Syrian aid worker and around 20 civilians in an airstrike on an aid convoy in Aleppo in September. The previous year, over 500 aid workers were killed, injured or kidnapped.

The nature of their work means that the large international humanitarian aid agencies take their security very seriously. These organisations usually have a dedicated security manager as well as security focal points in each local office and put their field staff through hostile environment awareness training (HEAT) before deployment.

However, smaller relief organisations and NGOs in other fields, such as human rights, independent media, peacebuilding, policy research and campaigning, often do not have the resources available to institutionalise security risk management in the same way. Frequently, responsibility for security in these organisations falls to a senior staff member or board member alongside their other full-time duties.

Such organisations may have overseas offices or projects in higher-risk locations or occasionally send staff to potentially dangerous countries for field visits. With few resources and little time, security quickly becomes a major source of concern for smaller NGOs and those without fully-institutionalised security risk management procedures.

Too often responsibility for security in NGOs falls to a staff or board member alongside their other full-time dutiesClick To Tweet

How do we keep our staff safe? What do we do if the worst happens?  

Are these questions that you ask yourself?

Open Briefing can assist all NGOs – large and small – with security risk management. Smaller NGOs may even be able to take advantage of the grants and subsidies that are available to help some organisations access our services.

The process usually begins with a risk assessment, through which we can help you identify and assess the threats your organisation faces. From that we can suggest a series of cost-effective security risk mitigation measures, which may include various intelligence, security, training and equipment recommendations.

Open Briefing can then support your organisation with, for example, medical and crisis response travel insurance, hostile environment awareness training (HEAT) and GPS tracking and SOS devices.

Alternatively, your concerns may centre around information security or surveillance; in which case, Open Briefing can support your organisation with cyber security audits, cyber security training and counter- and anti-surveillance training, for example.

So whatever the size of your organisation, Open Briefing can help you implement simple and effective ways to keep your staff safe and give you the tools to respond effectively should the worst happen.

Please contact us to discuss how we can support your organisation.

“Open Briefing’s risk assessment process was rigorous, but not onerous; its report was realistic, but not alarmist. It greatly informed our deliberations about our next steps. We were impressed with Open Briefing’s critical, cost effective and bespoke service.”
Adrian Arena, Director, International Human Rights Programme, Oak Foundation

Open Briefing is a unique non-profit organisation that provides intelligence, security, training and equipment services to organisations and individuals striving for social and environmental justice, particularly those working in or on fragile and conflict-affected states or under repressive regimes.