Stichting International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO)

Policy Plan 2019-2021



1. Background

With at least one aid worker killed, injured or abducted every day[1], aid work has become increasingly dangerous, particularly in the most complex conflict environments.  Studies[2] show that high levels of insecurity directly correspond to a low presence of humanitarian actors and affect the ability of vulnerable people to access the aid and support they need.

To continue operating in such environments, inter-agency coordination and collaboration around security and risk management is vital, particularly at the field level where it is needed the most.

The International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO) was established in 2011 to address this problem with a mandate to develop a global safety coordination system for NGOs operating in high risk contexts.

Originally based in the United Kingdom, between 2011 and 2017 INSO established a network of field level projects providing direct support services to hundreds of NGOs working across some of the most volatile contexts including Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Republic, Syria and South Sudan.

INSO services help NGOs with their day-to-day risk management responsibilities and improve their overall situational awareness to support evidence-based humanitarian access decisions. 

In response to the UK’s Brexit and attracted by the forward-looking vision of the ‘international city of peace, justice and security’, INSO re-established itself as a Dutch Foundation to pursue its important mission from a new home here in The Hague.



2. Mission & Impact

The objects of the Foundation are:

a)        the relief and development of people in need anywhere in the world who are the victims of conflict, natural disaster, insecurity or crisis;

b)        the welfare and safety of people involved in the provision of humanitarian and development aid anywhere in the world.

The Foundation will achieve these objects by:

a)      providing dedicated safety & security services to organisations working to achieve the relief and development of people in need.

b)      promoting and facilitating a wider understanding of conflict and its impact on humanitarian and development safety.

Our work will directly facilitate the safe delivery of aid and support the welfare of the personnel on the ground while improving the wider understanding of the challenges faced in such delivery. 

While the impact of enabling agents like INSO can be notoriously difficult to measure, as they do not work in isolation from other factors such as an NGOs own security policy, an independent study[3] conducted in 2015 found that INSO services have an impact on:

¨  Improving safety awarenessthe report found ‘significant’ improvement on the reliability, scope and depth of information available to NGOs. It noted a particularly high impact in transitional contexts and for small NGOs who may lack internal security staff.

¨  Improving safety procedures & policy – the report found evidence that INSO is having a positive impact in improving policy and procedure base of its members. In the survey, more than 65% of NGOs said that they had changed their security procedures.

¨  Improving NGO to NGO information sharing and coordination – the report found that NGOs routinely share information with INSO that they would not share directly between themselves.

¨  Improving wider humanitarian safety coordination – the report found a generally ‘positive’ impact particularly where relations with the wider NGO Forum were good. It also found that INSO provides a ‘valuable interlocuter’ to the NGO community.

¨  Supporting humanitarian access – the report found that INSO often plays a ‘pivotal role’ in supporting evidenced based decision making and coordination. Helping NGOs understand why they might have been attacked is ‘greatly valued’ by NGOs.

¨  Changing donor perceptions of humanitarian safety – the report found that donors were increasingly seeing INSO as a replicable model for supporting NGOs in crisis areas. Many are drawing on INSO services to inform their own security decisions and strategic planning.

 

3. Specific Activities (2019-2021)

The main activity of the Foundation over the period will be to establish and operate field level support and coordination projects that provide registered NGOs with a comprehensive menu of interlocking services intended to support their presence and programme delivery.

These services include but are not limited to:

  • 24/7 country wide Alert Service to warn NGOs about current or emerging threats. These are delivered over email, SMS or VHF as available.
  • Detailed analytical reports to support awareness of the wider conflict trends at local, country and regional levels.
  •  Coordination meetings to facilitate face-to-face information sharing and cooperation.
  • Statistical data and mapping services to identify and report on trends with simple but powerful visualizations.
  • Direct crisis assistance/emergency support such as advice during a kidnapping, attack or medical emergency.
  • Site Security Reviews and Security Policy Reviews to help NGOs with preparedness and response.
  • Orientations for newly arrived staff help them understand their new environment and access information and assistance sources.
  • A wide variety of Training Modules including Security Management, Hostile Environment and Emergency First Aid.
  • Road & Area threat/risk assessments to facilitate humanitarian access and projects planning.

To date, platforms have been established in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, DRC, CAR, Cameroon, Nigeria and Mali.  New projects are established at the request of NGOs operating in the subject country and following an INSO scoping mission to confirm the value we can add in the context.

In addition to field services, the Foundation will pursue activities to inform and support a wider understanding of conflict and its impact on aid delivery among NGOs HQ staff and a wider audience of global stakeholders.

These activities include but are not limited to:

      World Alert – a daily digest of all Threat Alerts sent across all countries that day. World Alert allows busy global security staff to review all alerts in one email format.

      Key Data Dashboard – an online and interactive dashboard of key NGO safety data (incidents, deaths, injuries etc) for each country we cover. The dashboard provides reliable global data for advocacy, research and policy planning.

      Key Data Assessment – an analytical complement to the Key Data Dashboard, the bulletin provides a summary analysis and assessment of the cause and implications of NGO safety trends to inform global debate and policy considerations.

      Safety & Access Review (SAR)– A high level data and analysis report, summarizing key trends and conclusions from our country level quarterly reports. The SAR combines advanced mapping and data analysis with field led narrative to provide a compelling evidentiary base for humanitarian action.

The Foundation is also pursuing the development of the Conflict and Humanitarian Data Centre (CHDC), a cloud based central incident database linked to an advanced data and mapping application. The CHDC will allow users to search and manipulate INSO’s entire incident database to create bespoke maps, charts and graphics according to their needs.

The CHDC is the answer to a long recognized global problem; the lack of reliable centralized data on humanitarian safety trends and we expect it to become a common global reference point for NGOs, donors, UN, policy makers, researchers, journalists and the general public alike.

 

4. Beneficiaries, Participation & Accountability

The Foundation serves as one of the largest NGO networks in the world with more than 800 unique organisational partners[4] contributing information and receiving services daily.

Approximately 95% of our partners are NGOs - with 55% international and 40% national - with the remaining 2% being UN agencies, donors and the Red Cross. Our partners originate from more than 50 counties and work across all programming clusters including WASH, Education, Health, Food Security, Nutrition, Shelter and Protection.

To be eligible for INSO services, NGOs must be legally established as non-profits – both at home and in the country of application – and conduct humanitarian or development operations.  

Our NGO partners participate closely in country level project initiation and development, with each project started by Letter of Invitation and then overseen by a volunteer Project Advisory Board of 6-12 NGOs who provide structured feedback on performance.

The mechanism has been replicated at the global level with a new International Advisory Board (IAB) to advise on the development of global and regional services.

These simple accountability mechanisms ensure that INSO remains aware of, and responsive to, the needs of its beneficiaries at all times.

 

5. Fundraising & the Use of Funds

The financial resources of the Foundation shall primarily consist of public/charitable funds provided in the form of grants, awards and cooperative agreements by donor Government and/or international organisations like the UN.

Donors can contribute through individual country level grants, negotiated with the donors’ in-country representatives, or through aggregated project support grants awarded by the donor to INSO HQ with or without earmarks for specific countries or activities.

INSO will endeavor to engage existing and new donors in multi-year or repetitive commitments that provide stability. Where donors are not willing/available to fund project costs, or are unable to fund them entirely, projects will be wound-up or scalded back respectively.

Alternative, and less significant, sources of funds may include:

·      any amounts or goods raised or to be raised on the occasion of its formation for the realisation of its object;

·      any amounts or goods received from third parties, including (but not limited to) gifts, inheritance and subsidies;

·      the income and revenues that the Foundation receives from the activities it organises and the use of its assets;

·      other assets

The Foundation will use funding to covers the costs of its projects and activities, most notably:

aSaa)  Salaries and benefits of personnel
b)      Offices and accommodation costs
c)      Transport and communications
d)      Assets, supplies and services

The Foundation is non-profit and all of the resources will be applied exclusively towards the objects.

To verify this, the Foundation will maintain comprehensive electronic accounting records and supporting documents, to support and demonstrate its financial position at any time.

Financial data and records will be routinely reviewed and verified by a layered internal financial team - including in country finance managers, HQ level finance controller and an Internal Audit department – while all income and expenditure will be independently audited on an annual basis.

The results of the independent audit will be posted publicly on this site.



6. Overheads and Reserves

The Board of Directors is responsible for the careful and responsible management of the Foundations financial resources and assets.

This includes keeping its overhead costs fair and reasonable and limited to only those considered necessary for achievement of its objects and fulfillment of its obligations and duties.

The Board will establish an annual HQ operating budget each year to guide and limits its expenses in each functional area.

Additionally, the Foundation will establish an organisational Reserve based on specifically identified needs relevant to the Foundation over the coming year including grant prefinancing, foreign exchange losses and ineligible costs.

Reserves are an important part of careful financial management as they build organizational resilience to both known and unexpected shortfalls of funds and shocks.



7. Directors, Employees and Remuneration Policy

The Foundation consists of a Board of Directors and employees.

The Board of Directors (Board Members) will not receive any remuneration for the performance of their Board-related duties. They will however be entitled to reimbursement of the costs made by them in the performance of their duties and non-excessive attendance fees according to the guidelines established by the Foundation.

Commercial or professional supplies, activities or services performed by a Board Member for the benefit of the Foundation require the prior, unanimous, written consent of all other Board Members. The same shall apply if the Board Member has an indirect interest in these supplies, activities or services.

The Foundation will employ salaried Employees for the pursuit of its objects and the delivery of its activities. Employees will be employed under written contract of employment specifying their terms and conditions, work period, location, pay and eligible benefits.

Where necessary, a Board Member may also be an Employee on condition that they are only paid for the activities and functions set out in their contract of employment which cannot include their duties as a Board Member.


[1] INSO Key Data Dashboard; https://www.ngosafety.org/keydata-dashboard/

[2] Secure Access in Volatile Environments (SAVE): The effects of insecurity on humanitarian coverage, Humanitarian Outcomes, November 2016

[3] Building global capacity in humanitarian safety: How the International NGO Safety Organisation is impacting the humanitarian safety coordination sector, Jackson, A, June 2015

[4] Meaning each organisation is only counted once no matter how many countries they are registered in.