Being ready for emergencies with UNHCR training
Forty aid workers gathered in Thies, Senegal, for 10 days of practical lectures and simulation exercises
A UNHCR emergency training just ended on Friday 3 March in Thies, 75 kilometers north of Dakar, Senegal’s capital. Forty participants from all over the world underwent ten intense days of teaching and simulation exercises, to better prepare them to operate in UNHCR emergencies with refugees and displaced people worldwide. The Workshop on Emergency Management (WEM) is one of UNHCR’s most well-known and highly regarded training landmarks. This is the third WEM to be held on African soil (also in Thies in 2015 and 2016).
“The participants always represented a wide variety of UNHCR staff from different countries, from different functional background, different experiences” says Peter Kessler, from UNHCR Global Learning Center (GLC) based in Budapest. “We also had participants from the US government through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrations (BPRM), from the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Danish refugee Council, and UNFPA”.
Some participants were coming from areas that are presently experiencing refugee crisis, such as Irak. Others have been refugees themselves, such as participants coming from Rwanda, or Kosovo: they have themselves lived the refugee experience. All continents were represented with participants from across Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Oceania. “I think the WEM is a great opportunity for people from a diversity of backgrounds to come together and learn how to work together, and how to resolve refugee crisis” adds Kessler. Participants will automatically join a roster following their WEM experience and will be ready to be deployed in the next coming weeks or months to refugee emergency operations.
Check out what the trainers and participants thought of this challenging and unique experience in our slide show and learn more about the field exercises – which included a refugee influx, a kidnapping and a car accident simulations – with the pictures below. All photos: © UNHCR / Helene Caux
The WEM is supported by the government of Senegal who provided the training facilities in Thies and in Mont Rolland military training camp as well as by a DFID-UK grant to UNHCR and the UNHCR Division of emergency, security and supply. It is also supported by UNHCR GLC in Budapest and by the UNHCR Regional Representation in Dakar who provided staff for training and was deeply involved in the organization and logistics of the various activities.