Saudi Red Crescent Authority and IFRC join efforts to enhance disaster management

Published: 28 February 2014 14:52 CET

By Raefah Makki, IFRC

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority took a major step in order to increase the technical knowledge and skills in topics related to Disast er Management and Emergencies. All through 2014, 250 staff and volunteers will be trained on Sphere Technical Sectors Minimum Standards.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) facilitated the first two trainings out of the ten planned in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Staff and volunteers from different branches in Saudi Arabia, and from different departments such as administration, emergency medical services, management, and emergency committees participated. In order to enhance capacity building further and for the National Society to become autonomous, a Training of Trainers will also be conducted at the end of 2014 for selected candidates and provide them with critical training skills to deliver a powerful training.

Commenting on the importance of this training Dr Saif Abuzaid, director manager of training and human resources of Saudi Red Crescent Authority said: “A disaster team member is a coin of 2 sides. He either can be a relief for the disaster or can be the cause of it upon his own team! By good training i.e. "Sphere course" and the outstanding experience he can acquire, we as a team  can decrease the disaster risk on the team and increase the survival and relief on others."

Over four days, the participants were introduced to the Sphere handbook and went into the details of the different sectors. Starting from the Humanitarian Charter and Protection principles, the participants also navigated through the core principles upon which the humanitarian interventions are built. Then, a deeper look into the technical sectors was undertaken and covered the problems that might be faced in each sector, as well as a detailed view on the minimum standards through which Sphere handbook can provide solutions.

“This Sphere training is a kick off of cooperation and many opportunities between the IFRC and the Saudi Red Crescent Authority on staff and volunteers capacity building and skills development” said Mohamed Babiker, IFRC Gulf Regional Representative.

The sectors covered are: Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion, Food Security and Nutrition, Shelter, Settlement and Non-Food Items, and Health Action. All the participants showed a high level of interest and interaction during the workshop with many expressing the need for follow-up trainings and field exercises. The biggest added value was noted on the personal level where the participants stated increased and improvements on the technical knowledge of the Sphere handbook and Disaster Management and Response more broadly, on the importance of coordination, roles and responsibilities in the field, on cooperation, and on training methods.