Humanitarian Aid Activities

Nurettin Hafızoğlu
Turkish Red Crescent, Director General for Support Services

According to the United Nations Global Humanitarian Overview, while the number of people who need humanitarian aid and protection was 235 million in 2021, this number will reach 274 million by the end of 2022. According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report by the United Nations, 690 million people do not have sufficient access to food during the day, and it is estimated that more than 840 million people will face hunger by 2030.

Due to the wars, disasters, poverty, refugee crises, crises and outbreaks caused by climate change, and international terrorism in recent years, the world needs humanitarian organizations and humanitarian workers more and more every day.

Today, the demand for calls for aid is increasing exponentially, and tens of thousands of international aid workers are assigned by many humanitarian organizations each year in these crises and disasters occurring in various parts of the world.

Humanitarian workers assigned within the scope of humanitarian aid activities generally work in harsh conditions and dangerous environments. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 460 humanitarian workers were attacked in 2021, 140 of them lost their lives, 230 were injured, and 117 were abducted.

The humanitarian aid environments and the harsh working conditions cause aid workers to face traumatic events and violence, affecting them both physically and psychologically due to the risky environment in which they work, making them vulnerable to negative consequences.

Therefore, it is essential to develop preventive measures and strategies to protect the well-being of the increasing workforce, especially the safety, health, and working conditions, and to increase their motivation.

As the Turkish Red Crescent, we carry out all our activities based on the innovative business model we have developed in line with the 2021-2030 Strategic Plan by adopting a sustainability approach with consideration for our employees and social and environmental responsibilities.

In line with this vision for the future, we have been operating successfully in many countries that adopt different business models, and we have been expanding our sphere of influence day by day. Based on the idea of creating shared value while implementing our works and projects, we cooperate with our stakeholders all around the world to meet the needs of society and achieve global sustainable development goals.

As a humanitarian organization, we are one of the most important humanitarian and development actors on an international scale, providing emergency aid to people in need in cases of human-related crises, natural disasters, armed conflicts, and other emergencies, as well as social welfare activities at home and abroad.

As the Turkish Red Crescent, we develop human resources practices that support our employees to achieve a high quality of life in addition to making their high performance and continuous development sustainable by offering them a happy, safe, and motivating work environment at the office and in the field.

The relevant structures of the organization take necessary action before, during, and after the task to protect the safety, health, physical and psychological well-being of humanitarian workers, especially the ones in the field, and to increase their motivation to ensure that they do not face any preventable risk and can work in a healthy and safe environment.

Personnel to be assigned in the field are primarily selected among those who are suitable for the task in terms of competence and qualifications. Before the assignment, humanitarian workers, who will work under difficult and dangerous conditions, undergo medical screening, and their suitability for the task is assessed. Employees deemed fit for the job are vaccinated against epidemics and pandemics and followed up.

In terms of ensuring safety, the personnel are informed about the possible dangers and risks, as well as the things worth noting regarding the task and the field where they will be located. They are provided with security training by professional organizations as well.

The aid workers in the field develop certain skills and competencies as a result of working together in many countries with the employees of long-established and leading organizations such as the IFRC. These skills include gaining and transferring experience, gaining a visionary perspective, seeing and applying current practices on the spot, agility, multiple leadership, self-expression and self-actualization.

Moreover, aid workers in the field provide mentorship to spread their experiences throughout the organization, which is taken into consideration in terms of career development due to its contribution to the development of field workers and affects future actions within the scope of “Career and Talent Management.”. Furthermore, the “Appreciation and Recognition Program” is carried out to increase motivation.

In conclusion, calls for aid have increased globally due to wars, conflicts, disasters, famine, and other disasters and will continue to increase exponentially. As a result, the need for humanitarian organizations and workers will rise. Therefore, organizations need to develop new business models regarding systematic, technological, and structural aspects. Since the first day, the Turkish Red Crescent has been attaching importance to continuous development and introducing new business models.

We wish to continue to work with a workforce that embraces the organizational culture and values that contribute to the future of the Turkish Red Crescent, is open to change and development, focused on progress, which exhibits a strong and effective leadership in every field, uses its resources and time effectively and efficiently, has a high social responsibility awareness and reflects the spirit of a Turkish Red Crescent advocate. 

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