Korean Aid Workers Train to Improve Personal Security

Capacity Building

Seoul – Attacks on aid workers on humanitarian frontlines not only compromise their personal security, but also hamper humanitarian responses. According to a recently released Aid Worker Security Report, in 2018 some 405 aid workers worldwide fell victim to major attacks. Of these, 131 were killed, 144 were injured and 130 kidnapped. 

Over 900 Korean aid workers are now working abroad and in need of practical pre-departure security training. IOM in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is responding to a growing demand for this type of training and this week co-hosted a four-day Safe and Secure Approaches to Field Environments (SSAFE) programme.  

“Many Korean aid workers are dispatched abroad without formal security training,” said IOM Seoul Head of Office Mihyung Park. “To make this essential security training more accessible to Korean humanitarian actors, we have now been hosting the SSAFE for five consecutive years.”  

First introduced in 2007 by the UN Systems Staff College (UNSSC) and the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), SSAFE training has equipped UN and NGO workers around the world with the relevant knowledge and skills they need to respond to various security incidents and threats that they may encounter in the field.  

This year’s training in Incheon was facilitated by IOM’s Office of Staff Security (OSS) and jointly organized by the ROK International Peace Supporting Standby Force (IPSSF) – a unit of the ROK armed forces which provides training for peacekeeping missions. Some 22 participants from UN agencies, NGOs and ROK government departments took part. 

The training addressed a wide range of topics, ranging from first aid and basic lifesaving to incident management and hostage survival. It also offered scenario-based exercises where professional role players from the IPSSF simulated real-life security incidents. 

“The dynamic and multifaceted nature of security threats in the field necessitates a comprehensive range of instruction and practical approaches. Our scenario-based training offers hands-on learning experience by immersing trainees in real-life situations and providing them with constant feedback,” said IOM OSS Director William Wairoa-Harrison. 

IOM ROK implements various capacity building trainings and workshops for Korean humanitarian actors, including the SSAFE training. It receives funding from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). 

For more information please contact Jieun Kim at IOM Seoul, Tel: +82 70 4820 0291, Email: jikim@iom.int  

  • South Korean aid workers study first aid and basic lifesaving at a SSAFE training in Incheon. Photo: IOM