1765 Seed safety and health when rushing to help

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Helping local populations develop economic independence is an important aspect of international development programming, and can be critical for longer-term resilience building after major natural disasters. When teaching new skills and methods, one needs to make sure that:


The principle to keep both, trainers and trainees safe and healthy during a training and later on is universal. However, many of these interventions happen in ill-controlled situations with many other concerns such as security and administrative challenges related to the exceptional situation. Furthermore, many well-intending teams perceive the situations as ‘emergency’. Combined with the hesitance to be ‘better treated’ than the locals, this can lead to them accepting and taking more risks than they would accept at home.


Trainers need to plan how to recognise and teach good safety and health practices in situations where they don’t have access to sophisticated or expensive measures. They can set an example to the local population by using WSH methods that are adapted to the specific risks of the solutions. They need to be simple and cheap so that they can later be applied by the locals. Trainers need to emphasise the importance of WSH to prevent the creation of long-term health problems.


Once development partners and emergency responders understand these WSH-challenges, they can plan for them. It is important to train all stakeholders in how to include WSH aspects. Also donors need to understand the importance of WSH so that they can accept, if not even demand that WSH is given importance also from a perspective of value for money.

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