We organize core humanitarian standards (CHS) trainings to increase the capacities of persons and institutions working with refugees. These two-day trainings are given by our Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning Director Aslı Silahdaroğlu Bekmen. A dedicated humanitarian worker, Aslı talks about what core humanitarian standards mean for her and explains the significance and content of this two-day training.
As Support to Life, we have reached close to 100 persons with two-day long core humanitarian standards trainings (CHS) in the first quarter of 2021. Employees of different organizations and individual participants can apply for these trainings.
Let me start with my own story.
There are some interesting turns that shape a person’s life. My introduction to civil society was the earthquake that took place in 1999 in my hometown, İzmit, and affected many things in our lives. Following this destructive disaster, I voluntarily supported emergency aid efforts and those that were impacted by the disaster and claiming their rights. This is how I got introduced to humanitarian aid and civil society organizations. Until 2017, I focused my efforts on development, education, poverty, and women’s empowerment. Since 2017, I have been working as a professional humanitarian at Support to Life.
CONTINUOUSLY CHANGING NEEDS
Initially, it was quite difficult to accommodate myself to the fast pace and continuously changing needs in humanitarian aid. Rapid intervention is needed after disasters, and you always have to be ready and develop the most suitable solution in the shortest time. In time, I got quite used to this tempo at Support to Life. Since the end of 2017, I have been working as Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Director.
I learned about the history and ethics of humanitarian aid and I had to read a lot for this purpose. Perhaps that is why I like giving examples about history of humanitarian aid principles at CHS trainings.
FOUR INDISPENSABLE PRINCIPLES
Quality and accountability in humanitarian aid are based on core humanitarian principles. There are four internationally recognized principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. Humanity means that reducing human suffering is our priority purpose. The other three principles guide on how to do our work. In 1965, the lawyer Jean Pictet, who made significant contributions to the development of humanitarian law, put in writing four core humanitarian principles. All of these principles emerged as a result of experiences humanitarian organizations gained and lessons they learned while working to protect human dignity under difficult circumstances.
There are some other principles that humanitarian organizations follow. For instance, accountability is a humanitarian principle that Support to Life places great emphasis on. Accountability means using our power in a responsible manner, and is a commitment that ensures we turn around at every step to take a look at ourselves, carefully monitoring the results of our efforts.
STL improved its Quality and Accountability framework in 2017, updating its Code of Conduct, improving the Community Feedback and Complaint Mechanism, developing a Child Safeguarding Policy together with many other policies and procedures across departments and units in the organization. This framework guides us how we should continuously improve the way we work in line with the Core Humanitarian Standard.
WE LEARN AND PROSPER TOGETHER
In the scope of a project that we implement with the international humanitarian organization Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe thanks to funding from European Union Humanitarian Aid, we started giving trainings to develop the capacities of humanitarian workers. We designed a two-day CHS training module where we make interactive exercises with participants, supporting theoretical information with applications.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we started organizing two-day online trainings in which participants vibrantly discuss and share experiences during case studies and group exercises. We try to make these two days full of vibrant discussions interesting and useful for all by giving examples from our experiences and requesting opinions and suggestions of our participants.
Sharing experiences enables us to learn and prosper together. At every training, groups come up with suggestions on how to achieve quality and accountability standard in our efforts and post-disaster intervention and how we can empower each other for this purpose. At the conclusion of the training, I see a decisiveness and self-reliance at our participants to question suitability of our efforts to these standards.
We hope that core humanitarian standard would be embraced by many different institutions in Turkey in very near future. That’s why we will continue to train more trainers in Turkey, make free trainings available to everyone, and increase harmonization efforts of humanitarian organizations starting from Support to Life with CHS.
Aslı Silahdaroğlu Bekmen
Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability & Learning Director / İstanbul