Male Male, inclusive risk management

Just a few weeks ago I was interviewing a Nuer NGO worker about his opinion about the security protocols of his organization as they were applicable in the area he was working.

It quickly became clear, he had never read it.  Simply because it was a lengthy document and written in a level of English beyond his understanding. So, during the conversation I asked him about his approach of the travel SOPs. A couple were pretty standard, but when we arrived at Checkpoint procedures he explained that the local armed forces needed to be greeted in a different way then the rest of the country: ”Male, Male”. It means something as, peace be with you, or I come in peace.

This, so he said, was the best rule, because it softens their heart and it shows respect for their tradition, language, values and interests.
It reminded me of three things.


  1. I can never respect all local NGO workers enough for their daily courage and efforts to reach out for the displaced and vulnerable humans in their region. They face the most risks. They are the true heroes.
  2. The best approach for designing security protocols is in close consultation with the end-user, which is not the visitor from headquarters. They should recognize themselves, their situation and their inputs, which totally changes the level of compliance.
  3. Nothing beats the human bridge. No matter what protocols there are, if you are able to connect in context with the other, instead of reject him as opponent, you go beyond all protocols.


#GlobalRiskAdvice #NGOsafety  #NGOsecurity #inclusive #de-escalate


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