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Case Studies

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Taliban Abduction: A Resilient Response

 

During our consultancy with an INGO in Afghanistan, tasked with developing their crisis management plans and training senior management, we faced a critical test. Three INGO staff members were abducted, leading PMO to guide and advise the Crisis Management Team effectively. The result: a more efficient crisis management approach, securing the safe release of all three. A vital element in this success was our emphasis on maintaining focus and structure during CMT meetings.

 

This case underscores PMO's unwavering commitment to addressing complex challenges and safeguarding those we serve. It also highlights the importance of preparedness and a realistic risk assessment for organizations operating in specific contexts.

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Attack on Taverna Du Liban: Navigating Crisis

 

On 17 January 2014, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the gate of the Taverna du Liban. Afterwards two gunmen then entered the building and began shooting indiscriminately. This attack claimed the lives of 21 staff from prominent organizations, including the UN, World Bank, and EU. As the Country Security Advisor for a major INGO, we faced an immense challenge.

 

Our mission was to coordinate a complex operation, tracking staff members from various INGOs amid the chaos and tragedy. Subsequently, we swiftly assessed how to continue operations in a significantly less secure Kabul.

 

This case underscores our adaptability and readiness to confront complex challenges head-on, ensuring the continuity of operations and humanitarian efforts.

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Aden Arrests: Ensuring Duty of Care

 

When an INGO faced the arrest of two of its staff members in Aden, they sought our guidance. We joined the Crisis Management Team and prioritized key actions. Our focus: the well-being of those detained, legal advice, and assessing whether there was a political motive behind the arrest or if the charges (made over 10 days post-arrest) were valid.

 

The charges of corruption and theft of humanitarian goods were at the centre of scrutiny. Regardless of their validity, the INGO fulfilled its duty of care. We ensured that the detained staff received proper legal counsel and actively monitored their well-being during their time in detention.

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Kabul Evacuation: A Tale of Innovation

 

In August 2021, while being an interim GSA for an INGO, we faced the rapid advance of the Taliban, ultimately leading to the fall of Kabul. Amidst extreme adversity, our foremost concern was the safe evacuation of our staff, including national team members who faced potential prosecution or worse if they stayed.

 

Evacuating from an airport under threat, amid a sea of desperate individuals all seeking escape, presented unparalleled challenges. Lack of coordination among coalition forces compounded the difficulties, making it difficult for those with permission to reach and gain access to the airport.

 

In response, the PMO team devised a brilliantly simple yet effective solution—a recognizable sign, as shown in the attached picture. This humble innovation became a beacon of hope, helping many to stand out amidst the chaos, gain recognition from coalition forces, and secure their safe entry.

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Nigeria Security Assessment: Navigating Challenges

 

PMO was tasked with assessing the swiftly deteriorating security situation in Nigeria, particularly concerning road travel near Maiduguri. Our objective: provide guidance for the continuation of operations and transparently explain to donors the need for temporary cessation of activities, which resulted in project implementation delays.

 

PMO conducted a thorough assessment and formulated an array of mitigation measures. These measures not only ensured the resumption of operations but also paved the way for innovative alternatives to project implementation.

 

This case underscores our commitment to proactive risk management and our ability to adapt to challenging circumstances. By prioritizing safety and effective communication with donors, PMO continues to demonstrate its unwavering dedication to ensure organisations can continue to deliver impactful humanitarian work, even in the face of adversity.

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Tigray Assessment: Navigating Crisis

 

In December 2020, PMO was a member of a fact-finding team entering Tigray, Ethiopia, following the devastating conflict that claimed the lives of numerous people and many humanitarian workers. Our mission encompassed not only assessing access but also maintaining contact with stranded staff members in Tigray, guiding them to safety amid resource shortages.

 

Subsequent to the fact-finding mission and access assessment, PMO took a forward-thinking approach. We developed various scenarios envisioning the region's future and how the INGO could prepare to provide humanitarian aid while minimizing risks to its dedicated staff, who had endured the harrowing events of November 2020.

 

This case exemplifies our commitment to proactive crisis response and risk mitigation.

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