News from the EISF’s Director’s trip to the United States

Published: July 2, 2019

Last month, EISF’s Director, Lisa Reilly, travelled to Washington to co-facilitate a session at the InterAction Forum on Addressing Sexual Harassment & Discrimination through Effective Risk Management alongside the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. The session brought real examples of challenges and good practices and encouraged an important discussion among American organisations.

Whilst there, following a number of requests from North American NGOs, Lisa conducted a meeting with interested NGOs to introduce EISF and the work that we do. This meeting followed a change in our membership criteria earlier this year, which means that prospective member organisations are no longer required to have their headquarters based in Europe. See here for more information about becoming a member of EISF.

Additionally, Lisa facilitated two workshops for US- and Canadian-based NGOs and representatives from UNDSS; the first of which focused on managing sexual violence against aid workers. Building upon this year’s EISF guide of the same title, the workshop explored prevention, preparedness, response and aftercare. Notably, participants discussed the role that everyone in an organisation – rather than just potential victims – has to play in the prevention of sexual violence. This included a discussion of safe bystander intervention and the importance of organisational and workplace cultures for the prevention of all types of sexual harassment and violence.

The second of these workshops focused on developing an inclusive approach to personal security. This event brought together lessons from last year’s EISF/WFP/UNHCR workshop introducing the UN’s women security awareness training (WSAT) and EISF’s 2018 paper Managing the Security of Aid Workers with Diverse Profiles. The workshop centred on the importance of creating an enabling security environment for all aid workers, whatever their profile. A key take-home from the event was the role of security risk managers in supporting staff to understand their individual risk profile, including both the visible and hidden aspects of their identity.