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Continuing to Build the Community of Humanitarians During COVID-19

By 04/05/2020 No Comments

In response to the COVID-19 measures, since mid-March 2020 CCHN has offered different online webinars and peer-learning activities on humanitarian negotiations for the Community of Practice members and the public. (Photo Credit: CCHN)

Since mid-March 2020, CCHN operations have been affected by the measures taken by authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team has adapted to the changing situation to continue to support capacity building on humanitarian negotiations through various webinars. We have also organized online monthly forums where field practitioners could discuss their current challenges and dilemmas of the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic with policymakers, experts, government representatives and donors. As a community-driven organization, the design and organization of these activities involved extensive contributions from members of the CCHN Community of Practice.

About the CCHN Community of Practice

Some of the CCHN’s online activities are open not only to its community of practice who have already participated in CCHN workshops but also to other humanitarian professionals. In this way, we continue expanding our network while strengthening community engagement.

Members of the CCHN Community operating on the frontlines of conflict situations are most exposed to the challenges and dilemmas of negotiating access and protection in times of the Covid-19 pandemic. They must look for the right balance between the maintenance of essential humanitarian assistance and the respect of equally important public health restrictions. The CCHN is committed to open dedicated safe spaces both online and onsite for the sharing of negotiation practices in Covid-19 environments, as well as organize briefing sessions on public health and other critical domains of support to the work of humanitarian negotiators.

Claude Bruderlein,

Claude Bruderlein,

Director, CCHN website
More info about CCHN Online Activities

Discussing the Humanitarian Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

To support regional information exchange related to the humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CCHN launched the first Monthly Forum on 15 April. Prior to the forum, we had organized peer circles and online discussions with members of the CCHN Community of Practice in four different regions to compile the information regarding the current situation, measures, and deployment processes of humanitarian responses.

The summary from these regional discussions was presented in this public virtual space where humanitarian practitioners could engage with policy-makers of humanitarian organizations, experts, governmental representatives, and donors. The forum also enabled us to identify which policy and training tools are needed to enhance the capacity of frontline humanitarian negotiators during the current pandemic.

The first online forum was opened by Peter Maurer, President of the ICRC, followed by Dr. Ibrahima Socé Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergencies Response, World Health Organisation, and Graine O’hara, Director of Division of International Protection, UNHCR.

The CCHN Monthly Forum provides an opportunity to draw a baseline of information on the humanitarian response to COVID-19 through the network of community members of the CCHN. This forum is organized with the view of supporting as much as we can the efforts of field practitioners in engaging with local and national authorities in favor of the most vulnerable groups.

Peter Maurer

Peter Maurer

President of the ICRC website
Read the story about the first CCHN Monthly Forum

Induction for New Community Members

On 27-30 April, 27 humanitarian workers completed the first CCHN Online Peer Workshop. The workshop was done in 5 different 2-hour sessions focusing on selected CCHN negotiation tools. Prior to the workshop, the participants were given access to a virtual meeting room on CCHN Connect where they could access learning materials and assignments, as well as get to know the other participants and facilitators. This online platform facilitated knowledge transfer and networking among the participants and facilitators.

This first online Induction Peer Workshop was a successful pilot to learn how the CCHN can continue to build the capacity of frontline humanitarian negotiators while using digital platforms to facilitate peer exchanges. By using simple technologies and interactive facilitation methods, participants were able to share their negotiation experience with humanitarian negotiators across agencies and regions. Until the CCHN is able to be back in the field, we will continue to offer on a monthly basis global and regional online induction workshops to welcome new frontline negotiators into the Community of Practice.

Joëlle Germanier

Joëlle Germanier

Head of Operations, CCHN website

Update Knowledge on the CCHN tools

The CCHN Community of Practice has been active through peer-to-peer learning since 2016. Every year, we updated our tools and methods, as well as our workshop curriculum. In order to bridge the gap between the old and the new contents, we organized eight Refresher Sessions on CCHN negotiation Tools in March and April this year, including a Storytelling Session which has been included in the new curriculum of CCHN’s Training of Facilitator Program.

Learn more about the CCHN Negotiation Tools

This sharing and networking tool is really good. The chance to connect with more people than the one we actually met in the previous event is really attractive. I'm looking forward to keeping this activity in my schedule.

Jesus Manuel Saenz Terrazas

Jesus Manuel Saenz Terrazas

Senior Surgeon, ICRC

Many thanks for organizing this important and fruitful webinar. I believe that context analysis is a very important tool to have a better understanding and define where we are starting from and what’s the focus of our negotiations to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts of interventions.

Haider Al-Ithawi

Haider Al-Ithawi

Emergency Officer, UNICEF

Moving Peer Support Online

Adjusting to the social-distancing measure, we offer the Community of Practice peer support online during Digital Office Hours. The members can book a slot to provide us their inputs and ideas on how to strengthen this Community of Practice or to exchange on recurrent negotiation challenges and dilemmas during the pandemic with the CCHN Negotiation Support Specialists. We also make sure to allow privacy and confidentiality throughout the peer discussions.

Implementing Online Course with An Academic Institution

Apart from focusing on providing supports to the field practitioners within the Community of Practice, we also organized an online course together with Ruhr-Universität Bochum and ATHA Harvard on 25 – 27 March 2020. During this online course, we introduced humanitarian negotiations and selected CCHN practical tools and methods to master’s students aspiring to work in the humanitarian sector. This project was another milestone for the CCHN to strengthen implement scientific collaborations with academic institutions and experts.