Having a gun to one’s head for no reason other than being, ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ is not a pleasant experience.

A comprehensive Risk Assessment, quality training, sound management and leadership are all key to safe and successful programme implementation in complex environments, and avoiding guns to one’s head. Country Directors, Desk Officers, Programme Managers, Heads of Unit, security focal points (where they exist) all have safety and security responsibilities however are usually over worked, time poor and under-resourced. THIS is where RM4HD can help. It has taken a long time to get this far; with over 10 years experience in the sector RM4HD is valuable to organisations large and small in complex environments.

RM4HD = Risk Management for Humanitarian and Development

The long and the short of it. [SPLA soldiers, South Sudan, 2007]

A life time ago I joined the Australian army with a view to travel and adventure. Growing up, as one does, I soon realised it was not travel and adventure for the sake of it I was seeking, but purpose. And the purpose I was not finding in the Australian army I soon found within the curriculum of a Masters of International Development, completed at Deakin University (Australia) in 2004. Excited by discussions of Marxist theory, gender theory, SE Asian politics and development, the history and evolution of NGOs and much much more, I launched myself into the next phase of my life.

Leaving 15 years of Australian army behind me (left as an Artillery Major, for those interested in that kind of detail) I bought a one way ticket to Dili to move in with my girlfriend back in those days, and throw myself at any development organisation that would take me.

None did. At least not initially. Of course I was not aware at the time, but I was still walking, talking, gesturing, swearing army …. and it put people off. Eventually I ended up volunteering briefly for the IFRC and then got a short contract with the UN Mission in country at the time (as a Political Affairs Officer – interesting work, if you can get it).

Soon however, (early 2005), after gaining experience in the emergency du jour in Darfur and later in South Sudan, I had smoothed off a few of the rougher edges, and evolved into a competent Security Manager. Staff and consultancy roles over the next 10 years in a variety of contexts – mixed with some sanity breaks back in Australia – lead inevitably to the creation of this blog. So many boozy, and not so many boozy conversations about how things are in the sector, how Risk could managed better, whose fault it all is (of course), and then back again was going no where. It is now time to share the benefits of my reading, life lessons and experience and to initiate a few online discussions for the greater good.

And so here we are.

The Visitor will find a variety of posts grouped thematically (Indonesia and SE Asia, Training, Updates from the Field etc) in which is grouped a selection of the reading I have done on those topics, plus my two cents worth as a summary at the top. Feel free to visit that page anytime you wish, or simply sign up for the semi-regular summary of my musings distributed by email. Of course, if you think I am completely off the mark, please feel free to comment at the end of the post and let me – and others – share your experience.

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