Iraq relief workers trained

The Salvation Army Emergency Services Department (International Headquarters) is training nearly 1,000 individuals to deliver effective relief response in Iraq.

A grant from the Civil Society Fund through the British Council is funding the training.

Three five-day trainings, conducted in Kuwait, are scheduled this year for Iraqi personnel from both government and non-government agencies. The participants will be instructed to train their agency personnel and community partners in international humanitarian standards and nongovernmental (NGO) structure and practices.

Salvation Army trainers and program coordinators from Iraq met in Kuwait earlier this year to discuss program implementation. The first training session, hosted by the Women’s Cultural Social Society of Kuwait, was conducted last month. Twenty-three participants and six program staff who also serve as interpreters joined Captain Elizabeth Hayward, international field operations & training officer (IHQ), and John Berglund, territorial disaster training coordinator (Western THQ), for the training.

Participants, equally divided between men and women, represented a variety of governmental ministries and newly formed NGOs from mostly Shiite communities in Southern Iraq. Collectively, their efforts to establish social justice under a newly formed government involve addressing a multitude of social concerns, such as community health issues, child welfare, women’s issues, assistance for the disabled, cultural heritage, and the environment, among others. Once trained, the participants work in teams of two and are required to conduct a subsequent training for 25 participants in their respective communities. Following the 3 five-day trainings in Kuwait, the 75 Iraqi trainers will instruct an additional 900 participants in Iraq, supporting the growth and development of the country’s nonprofit (NGO) sector.

The success of the program centers on the participants’ ability to transfer knowledge. The Kuwait trainings demonstrate how to instruct adult learners while conducting a Sphere Project workshop, sharing basic NGO organizational information, and encouraging community collaborations.

Launched in 1997, the Sphere Project was created by a group of international humanitarian NGOs to improve the quality of assistance provided to people affected by disaster and to enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response. It is based on two core beliefs: (1) all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising out of calamity and conflict, and (2) those affected by disaster have a right to life with dignity, and therefore, a right to assistance.

A key tool of the Sphere Project is the Sphere Handbook. Its new 2004 edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, taking into account recent developments in humanitarian practice in water, sanitation, food, shelter and health, together with feedback from practitioners in the field, research institutes and cross-cutting experts in protection, gender, children, older people, disabled people, HIV/AIDS and the environment. Information on the Sphere Project can be found on its website at

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