The humanitarian sector has held deliberations to enhance the technical competences of the individual staff members due to the increasing complexities of this occupation (Korff et al., 2015). For a productive humanitarian workforce, skills, behaviors, and experiences are essential. This discussion focus on the hiring requirements and the job descriptions of the humanitarian staff.
The aid workers operate in very precarious conditions to facilitate efficient provision and delivery of humanitarian help to the victims of natural and human disasters. Tasks involved in this occupation include working directly with communities and provide hands-on support in areas such as healthcare, housing, food, sanitation and education (WHO, 2012). It also involves organization, management and implementation of the proposed projects.
Disaster occurrences differ by nature, severity, and location. Therefore, every intervention for aid workers varies depending on the project involved. According to (Carbonnier, 2015) the responsibilities may include; emergence response, project management, general management and people management. Response for emergency consists in evaluating the situations through working in collaboration with the domestic staff from that locality and other department or organizations. Also controlling the activities involved in the effective implementation of the emergencies response activities, ensuring the safety of the staff involved is guaranteed especially in the unstable and volatile areas or conflict zones, generation of reports on the response, the recommendations and advocacy for emergency involvement. Other duties include the project management include; conducting surveys and identifying the critical requirements of the project such as equipment, machinery, food, shelter, medicine, and sanitation. Conduct the project within the set standards taking care of the national and international procedures and law. Seek collaboration with other humanitarian agencies such as the United Nations (UN), government and friends (Salem et al., 2017). Third, ensuring general management which involves updating the head office about the advancement reached, allocation and management of resources, generating and overseeing objectives together with producing financial proposals. Fourth is people management which involves offering support, training, and coordination to the volunteers while ensuring the safety precautions are observed.
The working conditions in the humanitarian service could have very long working hours; traveling could be local and international. The services are normally on voluntary basis only that the expenses such as accommodation, transport and maintenance are usually covered by the hosting country and/or the local community. Occasionally, the volunteers are expected to look for funds through contributions though salaries could be provided after four years of experience.
The qualifications required for humanitarian service is Bachelors’ degree in any discipline, but it varies according to different countries. However, skills and training in courses like health care, engineering, counseling and psychology first aid and management, logistics, public health workers, accountants, and drivers are given priority. Comprehensive induction training programs for the workforce is usually organized. Volunteers with courses in postgraduate studies have vast knowledge but they are required to have technical skills. Obtaining a work permit in the country where the services are to be offered is of importance.
According to (Bealt et al., 2016) skills and qualities being looked out for include being zealous, energetic and have high resilience capacity. People who are weak and sick aren’t encouraged to engage since they can burn out easily and a project can last one or two years in a very far place away from home. The candidates are required to be hardworking and flexible. They should adapt easily to the ever-changing working conditions and express a positive attitude. Since the service involves interacting with a lot of different people from different cultures, religion, races, and nationalities, the candidate is required to have good interpersonal skills.
Bealt, J., Fernández Barrera, J. C., & Mansouri, S. A. (2016). Collaborative relationships between logistics service providers and humanitarian organizations during disaster relief operations. Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 6(2), 118-144.
Carbonnier, G. (2015). Reason, emotion, compassion: can altruism survive professionalization in the humanitarian sector?. Disasters, 39(2), 189-207.
Korff, V. P., Balbo, N., Mills, M., Heyse, L., & Wittek, R. (2015). The impact of humanitarian context conditions and individual characteristics on aid worker retention. Disasters, 39(3), 522-545.
Salem, M., Van Quaquebeke, N., & Besiou, M. (2017). How field office leaders drive learning and creativity in humanitarian aid: Exploring the role of boundary‐spanning leadership for expatriate and local aid worker collaboration. Journal of Organizational Behavior.
World Health Organization. (2012). World Health Day 2012: aging and health: the toolkit for event organizers.
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