#014: Better and safer work environments in the aid sector | Christine Williamson

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By One Step Forward and Ian D. Quick. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Christine Williamson runs a consultancy firm called Duty of Care International, and has spent twenty years in human resources management in the aid world. It’s well-known that this is a very difficult area. The sector puts large numbers of people into tough operating environments, with a tiny fraction of the support that’s available for diplomatic or military personnel. It’s built on short-term funding contracts which interfere with efforts to professionalise and plan the workforce. Perhaps most difficult of all, there are a range of equity and oversight issues that come with shipping expatriate staff into places with weak regulatory systems. Show notes: [2:20] Christine's early days in the aid sector, and latter days starting her own company. The common thread of working for justice and fairness in human resources management. [09:30] Key challenges for human resources management in the aid sector. Distinctions between expatriate and “national” staff, and the bad practices that tend to follow. [13:00] Professional development in the aid sector (or lack thereof). The need to think at a system level about the labour market, rather than organisations blindly competing with each other. [20:20] The current trend for tighter “safeguarding” to prevent abuses, in the wake of the Oxfam Haiti scandal. The role of proactive HR management and the true costs of cutting corners. [30:35] Developing a healthier overall work environment for people in the aid sector. Individual and organisational responsibilities to sustain mental health. [39:40] Whether a lifelong career in the aid sector is sustainable, or even a good idea. What individuals and organisations can do to improve both longevity, and the quality of the experience at any given time. [48:30] Takeaways from a few decades in the aid sector and elsewhere. Embracing the “wacky” ideas.

28 episodes