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CHIBOW researchers take part in intensive course on disaster preparedness

This past spring, Kimberley Anderson and Sophie Roupetz of the European Union’s Marie Curie Innovative Training Network “Children Born of War”, have attended the prestigious course at Harvard University on Humanitarian Response.

The two-week intensive course is designed for those interested in disaster preparedness and humanitarian action, and teaches everything from water and sanitation to hostage negotiation. Seasoned experts travel from all over the globe to deliver skills training and conflict awareness in order to prepare anyone wishing to enter the challenging world of humanitarian aid.

Come rain or shine, the course culminates in a simulation exercise held in a forest in upstate Massachusetts. Attendees camp in a make-shift refugee settlement and must work alongside the UN to design the response, adequately addressing the needs of the local population. This of course means negotiating with rebels and the military, NGOs, as well as various other national and international partners; navigating landmines and civil unrest; and delivering medical care and food sources in a timely manner.

More than 60 participants are enrolled onto the course every year, from 30 different nations and as many professional backgrounds. Kimberley and Sophie both intend to use the skills gained in this esteemed training, when later working in the field with vulnerable populations.

“This training is not for the faint-hearted, but you will absolutely be prepared for anything a humanitarian disaster can throw at you!” – Kimberley

“We highly recommend our PhD colleagues to attend this Humanitarian Response Course, because it is quite challenging and exciting to think of working in a crisis region one day” – Sophie

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