For months, Haiti has been in the midst of a social crisis marked by violent protests in many cities. In Mali, entire regions, particularly in the north, have been living under the threat of extremist groups for years. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ebola virus got dangerously close to densely populated urban centres. In Ecuador, Indigenous groups stormed major cities to protest the rise in the price of gasoline. The people of Bolivia rose up and brought down the government following the October elections, which were marred by suspected irregularities.
How are these five crises connected? They are all unfolding in countries where TSF operates.
In situations like these, an international cooperation organization with close to 200 local and expatriate employees in the field that periodically visits these locations to follow up on programs and assigns dozens of volunteers must automatically react in keeping with its capacity to manage risk and, if necessary, adequately respond to crises.
For these reasons, in the past year, TSF embarked on a major project involving reflection, consultation, writing and training, culminating in an integrated risk management policy.
To ensure its approach was sound and rigorous, TSF teamed up with the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crises and Aid (OCCAH), affiliated with UQAM’s School of Management, and drew inspiration from recognized best practices in risk management and security worldwide, in particular ISO 31000:2018.i.
“Our employees and volunteers are the driving force of this organization. The success of our interventions depends on them, as do our beneficiaries,” said Jean Fortin, TSF’s CEO. “Developing this policy required a significant investment, but we believed in it and felt it was important to carry out our responsibilities. Our goal was neither to look good nor to ease our conscience.”