The State of Surge Capacity in the Humanitarian Sector report launches in London, April 2016

The Transforming Surge Capacity Project launched the seminal research report, “The State of Surge Capacity in the Humanitarian Sector”, at an event in London on 7 April. The project brings together 11 Start Network agencies with ActionAid leading and the CHS Alliance as technical partner.

The Transforming Surge Capacity Project launched the seminal research report, The State of Surge Capacity in the Humanitarian Sector”, at an event in London on 7 April. The project brings together 11 Start Network agencies with ActionAid leading and the CHS Alliance as technical partner.

The seminal report features recent developments, future trends and lessons learned around surge response within and beyond civil society.

After opening speeches by Alex Brans, Chair of the Transforming Surge Capacity Project Committee, Richard Miller of ActionAid led a panel discussion with experts from the humanitarian and private sector, including our own Executive Director Judith Greenwood, sharing their professional and personal surge experiences.  This was followed by engaging table discussions on the key issues raised in the report.

Panellists

  • Serena Brown, KPMG, spoke of the role of private sector in surge, highlighting the need to further develop the collaboration in this area.
  • Rebecca Perlman, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, described her experiences working with an Ebola taskforce in Sierra Leone, addressing the economic crisis that followed Ebola.
  • Judith Greenwood, CHS Alliance, spoke about the role of women in surge, highlighting that although 40% of deployments are made by women, there is no breakdown in which roles are done by women, or how women’s involvement has affected surge. She also highlighted the demands placed on women and the need to take these factors into account when planning surge in future.
  • Imran Madden, Islamic Relief, described how crises are changing, e.g. Mediterranean crisis, which means traditional needs and responses need to change too.
  • Glenn O’Neill, one of the report’s lead researchers, shared his key findings which were then further discussed in round tables.

Key issues in surge response

  • Coordination and collaboration in surge – there needs to be better coordination between organisations. This could be through joint trainings and programmes, pooled rosters etc
  • Role of women in surge – the added value women bring to situations was highlighted. There is also a need for organistaions to be more proactive in respondng to women’s needs.
  • Surge staffing and management – it is necessary to invest in staffing before crises, so the right people are available when needed.
  • Surge financing mechanisms – participants highlighted challenges in responding to surge when funding is uncertain, and the need to have new funding models to support this.
  • Localising surge – there is still a need to build capacity at local level, but Local actors have contextual knowledge and experience so it’s also necessary for international actors to work with existing local capacity
  • New and emerging surge models – NGOs are no longer the only actors involved in surge. The role of private sector and local volunteer networks is increasing, these actors are often more flexible in how they work, are digitally organised so we need to learn from and work with them.

Download The State of Surge Capacity in the Humanitarian Sector report here.