News from Niger - humanitarian training & recognition in a post-Covid world
There are 28 organisations currently using HPass to recognise humanitarian skills and experience, and locally-based learning providers are increasingly among their number.
One such organisation is AACCES, based in Niger. We interviewed Jean Michel Clair, Head of Operations at AACCES, to find out how they adapted their training programmes to meet the challenges of Covid-19.
What does AACCES do, and who are your audiences?
AACCES is a regional training centre with its headquarters located in Niamey, Niger. AACCES works closely with its clients and partners (International organizations, NGOs, diplomatic representations, etc.) to provide them with tailored trainings and consultancy services, enabling them to deploy their staff and assets in remote, complex and hostile environments. Most of AACCES clients and partners are either working in the humanitarian or development aid sectors, with a focus on the most vulnerable local populations (migrants, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and refugees fleeing terrorism and the impact of climate change).
How did the delivery and content of your training change over the past year and a half as a result of the pandemic, and what additional challenges did you and your learners face?
AACCES trainings have changed a lot in the past year due to the pandemic. Since we are always tailoring our trainings in partnership with our client’s security and/or training managers, we had to adapt our content and format to their internal Covid-related policies. Accordingly, we have hired an emergency physician and equipped our own clinic with all pertaining medical supplies to support prevention of the spread of Covid, and Covid testing. We also had to decrease the number of trainees we could take at once (no more than 15 trainees per training) and respect social distancing measures requested by Niger authorities. Trainees and instructors have their temperature and oxygen levels tested everyday and our classrooms are disinfected twice daily. We also provide all our trainees with PCR tests by the end of the training. We had only one positive case amongst the hundreds of trainees and provided him and his organization with guidance, and medical and logistical support throughout his whole quarantine. Thankfully, he was ok and went back to his country in perfect health.
Do you think there will be any lasting changes to the way that learning is delivered and skills are recognised?
Yes of course, the way we train people was already evolving and the global pandemic has hastened the process! We have an increasing demand for online and webinar-based trainings as more organizations shift toward remote-work environments. But even if we consider it as an added value in terms of learning and capacity-building, we still deem essential for our trainees to go through field trainings and operational scenarios so they can acquire practical skills which can’t be learnt online (especially for medical courses). We are therefore offering a blended programme, with e-learning programmes available prior to the field trainings. This has resulted in increased commitment and preparedness of our trainees.
In terms of certification and how skills are recognized, we consider now more than ever the need to display different layers of recognition of the skills acquired by the trainees throughout their trainings, which is why we decided to enhance our programme by processing HPass online certifications. It’s essential for our trainees to receive evidence of their newly acquired skills and capacities, for them, their current employers and even future ones!
Why is it important that humanitarians are able to provide evidence of their skills in HEAT, Security Risk Management and other courses you offer before being deployed?
In a complex and ever-changing world, where insecurity is omnipresent (whatever the country of expatriation or humanitarian projection), it is dangerous and irresponsible to project oneself into an unknown country without having been previously trained and prepared to face the dangers one might encounter. Today, most international organisations and cooperation agencies, diplomatic representations and NGOs have a duty to train their staff, both international and local. No one can be engaged in a complex area without showing specific qualifications in the field of security and international mobility.
SAFETY-T AACCES training courses are internationally recognised and accredited, especially in the medical field (T.E.C.C & StopTheBleed). The training courses are comprehensive, covering the constraints and hazards to which the deployed personnel may be subjected and how to deal with them.
All trainees trained at the AACCES Training Centre must be able to prove their level of training to their organisation. The library of HPass badges offered by AACCES to the trainees allows them to present and promote their acquired experience with a simple click and thus quickly apply for a position of responsibility, mostly in the field. These badges reassure their employers as they allow for more detailed record of acquired skills and provide them with guarantees that their staff are up to their organization’s standards and prepared to face the challenges of the field.
“The library of HPass badges offered by AACCES to the trainees allows them to present and promote their acquired experience with a simple click and thus quickly apply for a position of responsibility.”
Jean Michel Clair, AACCES Head of Operations