Haiti - A Case Example


Following the devastating earthquake of January 2010 international humanitarian aid organisations responded with massive deployments of staff. The earthquake affected everyone in Haiti and those in Port-au-Prince significantly. Aid organisations with staff in Haiti understood that their own staff would be negatively impacted by the catastrophe, and that international Emergency Responders coming into the country would likely experience stress, tiredness and possibly psychological harm.

Well-prepared organisations immediately implemented comprehensive Staff Support programs for both staff employed locally and those coming in from overseas. 

In order to provide appropriate and focussed support teams of local Staff Support specialists needed to be employed, trained and deployed.

Together with a colleague, Amber Gray, I travelled to Haiti to implement a Staff Support program for a major international Humanitarian Organisation.

The Staff Support Program required the following elements to be successful;

  • An accurate hiring process with clear Job Descriptions and Position Profiles
  • A clear and pragmatic action strategy to deliver support services across the country
  • A capacity development program for members of the Staff Support Team
  • Development of Team Leadership and Team Culture
  • Incorporation into existing agency organisational structure, processes and policies
  • Development of measurable outcome indicators for the activities of the Staff Support Team
  • Ongoing specialist coaching and mentoring for the Staff Support Team
  • Sustainable funding to meet the costs of the Staff Support Team
The ability to deliver this program was dependant on my experience in major humanitarian disaster contexts

The capacity building strategy was built on;

  • Local cultural understandings of resilience, health and harm
  • Local cultural practices for managing crises
  • Local cultural wisdom
  • Reliable scientific evidence of what works and what does not work
  • Incorporation of knowledge and wisdom gained from other contexts and verified academic research
  • Enhancing local leadership of the process
  • Creating a program that fitted comfortably within the Policies and Practices of the employing agency

The success of multi-cultural resilience enhancement processes is dependent on the fusion of local and global wisdom and knowledge plus a strong dose of mutual respect


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You can (and should!) contact Amber Gray at; restorativeresources@gmail.com

Check out her website at www.restorativeresources.net

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