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Open Briefing to begin offering security, training and equipment to non-profits

by Chris Abbott

Open Briefing’s recent fundraising successes mean that we can implement our plans to expand beyond the provision of intelligence to also provide training, security and equipment to our non-profit clients.

There are thousands of ordinary people risking their lives every day to protect people and the planet. We want to help those working in overseas aid, search and rescue, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, human rights, research expeditions and the media operate safely and effectively on the ground in complex, hostile or remote areas, such as war zones, disaster areas or under repressive regimes. We are in the process of launching three new units to do just this:

Training unit. Our new training unit will deliver training packages tailored to the needs of civil society clients, such as aid workers and journalists. In the first instance, this will include a range of Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) modules, including first aid, survival and navigation, and kidnap and hostage awareness. We will also provide capacity-building courses designed to help NGO researchers use intelligence effectively, including training in collecting and analysing open source intelligence (OSINT), or designed to help them operate and communicate securely, including training in cyber and information security.

Security unit. Our new security unit will address the serious lack of market provision of security services suitable for people working for NGOs. Working with trusted partners, Open Briefing is developing a range of defensive security services and protection measures appropriate for civil society workers operating in high-risk or remote environments. Such services will include GPS locators with 24/7 monitoring and SOS functionality, protective presence teams, evacuation and crisis management plans, and emergency response.

Equipment unit. To further support our clients, our new equipment unit will provide them with expert advice on the kit they will need in order to undertake their work safely and effectively. This will include outdoor clothing and equipment, first aid kits and medical supplies, MREs and ration packs, survival equipment, water purification, GPS tracking units, ballistic protection and satellite communications. Our relationships with leading manufacturers and suppliers mean we are able to provide our civil society clients substantial discounts on the equipment we supply them (up to 35% off RRP), some of which is normally only available to the military or emergency services.

These new units will join our existing respected intelligence unit, which has been running since 2011:

Intelligence unit. Open Briefing’s pioneering intelligence unit provides in-depth intelligence briefings to think tanks and other civil society organisations. This includes responding to the specific intelligence requirements of an international network of over 100 well-known aid agencies, humanitarian organisations and other charities. We also publish several monthly briefings designed to raise the level of public and political debate on defence and foreign affairs. The unit also includes our think tank, which undertakes research and develops policy recommendations.

These are a unique range of services that will be invaluable for aid agencies and humanitarian workers, disaster relief organisations, search and rescue teams, journalists human rights defenders, activists, think tanks, charitable trusts and foundations, research expeditions and others striving to make the world a better place. It means that these people will be able to deliver their programmes confidently and safely and ensure the protection of civilians on the ground. For example, we can provide disaster relief organisations with country risk briefings, evacuation and crisis management plans, advanced first aid training, water purification equipment and food aid packs. Or we can provide a threatened human rights lawyer or independent journalist with a risk assessment, self-protection training and GPS tracking with SOS response. All from a single organisation and all supported by the very best expert knowledge and experience.

More details of these new services will be released over the next few months; however, many of them are ready now, so if you would like more information please contact our executive director, Chris Abbott, at [email protected] or on +44 (0)20 7193 9805.