Essential Elements of Public Health for Humanitarian Negotiators Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic

By June 17, 2020Partner News

In response to the precarious global health situation, poor health infrastructure, and political tensions surrounding restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline humanitarian negotiators are confronted with specific challenges and dilemmas. In a CCHN survey conducted in March 2020, members of the CCHN Community of Practice requested a briefing on the essential elements of public health to support their engagement with local state and non-state authorities. To fulfil the demands, the CCHN has organized a series of Online Briefing Sessions focused on public health approaches and provided by specialists and researchers.

Learn More about the CCHN Community of Practice

Online Briefing Session: How Public Health Can Inform Humanitarian Negotiation in Times of a Pandemic uses a case inspired by current challenges in addressing the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable to provide specific negotiation tools applicable to health crises. The first session was held on 5 May 2020, attended by 50 professionals from CCHN Strategic Partners, other humanitarian organizations, and academic institutions.
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Providing Advisory Support for Humanitarian Negotiators in Cameroon

One of the CCHN’s main activities is to provide advisory support to frontline negotiators by advising field teams on certain thematic issues. Based on discussions during the recent Digital Office Hours, Regional Peer Circles in Africa, and the Monthly Forum in May, there was clearly an opportunity for additional collaboration with the community related to how to negotiate and operate with the additional challenges presented by a public health emergency such as during COVID-19 pandemic.

CCHN Mission and Works

With COVID-19 measures having made onsite CCHN workshops impossible, Will Harper, CCHN Negotiation Support Specialist – Africa used a different approach to strengthen the community engagement in Cameroon.
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On 2 June 2020, we organized an Online Briefing Session on Public Health Approaches for humanitarian negotiators in Cameroon.  The presentation on Essential Elements of Public Health Approaches for Humanitarian Negotiators was delivered by Claude Bruderlein, CCHN Director and can be watched below.

Exchanging Current Challenges and Dilemmas in Cameroon Due to COVID-19

As a safe space for humanitarians to exchange their experiences, challenges, and dilemmas during this Online Briefing Session, CCHN allowed time and space for peer exchange among the participants. This helped us to understand and analyze the contexts that they faced and what kind of further support the CCHN could provide in the future for planning negotiations. Two community members who attended the online briefing session explained the need for specific practical training to tackle the current problems in the field as the results of the current situation in Cameroon.
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Considering the interests of having a similar online session in the other CCHN operational regions, we have organized a series of Summer Online Briefing Sessions on the Response to COVID-19 in the Middle East for CCHN Community Members and open to the public who have experience in the related topics below.

How Public Health Can Inform Humanitarian Negotiation in Times of a Pandemic I 24 June
How to Develop the Required Negotiation Techniques and Skills in Crisis I 8 July
How to Prevent and Mitigate Risks in a Negotiation I 22 July

Photo Credit: An internally displaced woman washes her hand during a WFP distribution site in Mora, Far North region, Cameroon. (Photo: Glory Ndaka/WFP)