Nines Lima: “Emergency situations require fast decisions”
One of this year’s EADA International Week 2018 seminar is Managing Humanitarian Emergencies, which will introduce participants to the main components required to respond to humanitarian emergencies. At the end of the training, participants will be able to plan a comprehensive response to a refugee population, by designing, planning and deploying key activities in a refugee camp. This course will be conducted by Nines Lima, who has 15 years working experience in humanitarian aid in different positions from Field Doctor to Mission Responsible & Emergency Coordinator.
What are the main focus points you will touch upon in class?
We will talk about emergencies and humanitarian crisis. Things get more and more complex as the training evolves. Participants will need to define the objectives of the intervention by knowing how to prioritize activities at different levels: optimizing human and financial resources for the planning of the projects. A key learning objective is that they need to understand the importance of monitoring and evaluating these activities through key indicators that show the impact of the interventions in a logic frame.
What is the most important component required to respond to a humanitarian action?
The most essential element is to look at the population suffering. We need to prioritize humanitarian and medical needs according to the context to restore their dignity and alleviate their suffering as a community identifying the most vulnerable populations. This is about taking important decisions and coordinate with other actors in the humanitarian arena.
How do you best manage teams in crisis situations?
We need to have multidisciplinary teams so to assess and coordinate various aspects when there is a humanitarian crisis. The teams need to have enough expertise to be agile and flexible enough to take fast decisions and be the most effective as possible in emergency situations since the ultimate goal is to save as many lives as possible!
What can our participants learn from managing humanitarian emergencies to managing enterprises?
This can all be extrapolated to managing enterprises looking at the parallelisms between the market gaps and decision making, innovation etc, that can also complement the humanitarian gaps. Sensitizing, raising awareness to managers can be a good step forward for a good collaboration between the two realities.
Why is it so important that our participants build up a refugee camp? What skills can they improve?
The building of the refugee camp is a very practical exercise that links all the case studies seen in the theoretical section and working groups of the previous days. Participants can then associate all elements together in a very visual way. They will work as a team designing the camp with the patients’ flow and then they will build it together, distributing tasks between them, and we can identify team dynamics, like leadership and analytical thinking. The idea is that they understand the situation of the people suffering from humanitarian crisis and that by managing and coordinating properly different interventions, this will have an impact on life-saving and people´s recovery.
To what extent does the field experience you have gained help you in your understanding of humanitarian action?
It was essential to work in the field in different geographical areas, with different profiles, I started as a field doctor in Somalia and ended up in my last mission as Head of Mission in a Humanitarian Nutritional Crisis in Niger, managing the projects and teams as emergency coordinator. Then I switched to support all those missions from Headquarters but kept my feet in the projects, constantly visiting the first line field workers to understand better their challenges, barriers and team dynamics…if not, you risk losing the perspective of the humanitarian action. Being at HQ also gave me the opportunity to have a wider perspective, working with different international actors all over the world to try to better advice the field teams for a better quality of care.
Is there a big difference in Humanitarian action between the African and Latin American countries?
There are big differences in terms of contexts and medical humanitarian needs. Humanitarian action looks into the suffering of people due to a specific context (armed conflict, outbreaks, nutritional crisis, natural disasters or other situations of violence). Latin America today has very many contexts where specifically you can find natural disasters and several violence situations. In general, there are a lot of people who are victims of the context of their country and are suffering from violence and become refugees or internally displaced people with the same vulnerability criteria as the Siryans in Europe, the Central African Republic or Nigerian people in Africa. In any case they are all in need of mental and psychosocial support due to the magnitude and traumatic situations these populations are suffering.