Safe and Secure Approach in Field Environments: Training for Korean Humanitarian Workers

Capacity Building

Republic of Korea - According to the Aid Worker Security Database, over the last 10 years, more than 3,000 humanitarian workers worldwide were victims of major attacks. In 2015 alone, 287 humanitarian workers were attacked with 109 deaths logged. 

“As South Korea’s role in international development sector has been strengthened in recent decades, the number of Korean humanitarian workers deployed to unstable environments has been rising as well,” said Head of IOM Seoul, Miah Park, speaking at an IOM Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE) training in Seoul this week.

SSAFE is a training developed by the United Nations for humanitarian workers travelling to, living in and operating in hostile or hazardous environments.

“There was no standard security training to equip our humanitarians for deployment to hostile environments in South Korea until last year. That is why IOM Seoul began to provide such training to meet those unmet needs,” said Park.

Subjects covered in SSAFE consist of an introduction to personal security awareness, active shooter incidents, radio and communications equipment, weapon awareness, first aid and basic life support, vehicle and convoy security, hostage survival. The training also provided two days of field exercises with different scenarios and a debriefing for each.

The four-day training was led by three IOM security experts and gathered 30 South Korean humanitarian workers from the government, UN agencies and NGOs.

"Humanitarian workers need to understand factors that can threaten their personal security to stay safe,” said William Wairoa-Harrison, IOM’s global head of staff security, who attended the Seoul event.

“SSAFE training will help South Korean humanitarian workers to increase their personal security awareness and understand measures that can be taken to mitigate risks in hostile environment,” he noted.

For further information, please contact Miah Park at IOM Seoul, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email:

IOM security officers simulate a kidnapping at the SSAFE training for humanitarian workers in Seoul. Photo: IOM