Q&A: Networking, Vulnerability & Capacity Assessment, Sex Workers & HIV/AIDS, IDPs, Training Needs, Prison Work

Submitted by Aid Workers Network on September 24, 2003 - 5:31pm.

Topics included:

  • Networking a group of local NGOs
  • Vulnerability and capacity assessments
  • Sex workers and HIV/AIDS
  • Institutional frameworks for IDPs
  • Training needs assessment
  • Prison work
  • The Livelihoods Approach

Can you offer any insights or pointers to useful information/contacts on these topics? Thank you.

Responses to the previous questions are summarised below. Please continue the discussions online at Aid Workers Forum or e-mail exchange@aidworkers.net.

New Questions


Ahlam needs some practical advice on how to establish a network for a group of local NGOs. Does anyone have experiences to share? Join the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


Julia would like our advice and practical know-how on conducting a Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment. Join the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


In his work to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on children in sub-Saharan Zambia, Evaristo has become aware of the risk faced by workers in the sex trade. "Many are willing to get out of it. But what are the alternatives? There are not enough organisations to support former sex workers. What can I do?" Join the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


Aid Workers Network is supporting colleagues in Liberia with a dedicated help desk run in partnership with UN OCHA and the Humanitarian Information Center (HIC) in Monrovia. For more information visit http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/liberia or email liberia@aidworkers.net.



Rather than creating separate agencies for IDPs, Duncan suggests sharing responsibilities among existing organisations. ICRC and UNHCR have probably done the most, and others have been encouraged to integrate operational responses, he writes. Charles offers 2 documents that contain the UN's guiding principles on internal displacement. Several people mention that "Growing the Sheltering Tree: Protecting Rights Through Humanitarian Action" is a useful reference from IASC. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


Terry advises selecting staff who have the skills necessary to meet the goals in the organization's strategic plan. Training should build on existing skill sets. Phil emphatically agrees. Decide "what you want to achieve, THEN figure out what staffing you need to do it." According to Syed, if an adequate performance management system is in place, a performance appraisal results in a needs assessment. Absent such a system, Syed recommends administering questionnaires or interviews to determine training needs. Cindy has found it useful to identify the gaps between a job's requirements and a person's skills. Jos details the steps for a training needs assessment, which could address individual or collective staff needs. Some suggest asking new staff members what training they need, others disagree. Timothy points out that new staff may be a better solution when training can't bridge the gap between a job's changed requirements and the current incumbent's skills. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


To gain access, team up with the Red Cross for credibility and build trust with the prison service. Organise a group to visit prisoners. Sebastion warns, "Be careful of what the prisoners tell you. They are very convincing! I recommend that you take a basic course in psychology." James notes that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty are likely to have information. Other possible information sources are the ICRC--they often support detainees in conflicts--and MSF. The challenge is finding a "relevant engagement that doesn't create tension amongst the needy in the general population." Bryan believes meditation "could lead to a feeling of liberation, and a reduction in frustration, for a prison inmate." Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) contributes to integrated programming, helping to address overlapping, concurrent, and conflicting priorities that change over time. SLA considers all elements contributing to a problem (often poverty and the conflicts caused by it). Aid workers' challenge when designing an SLA program is to integrate and augment what local people already do well and the assets to which they have access. Livelihoods programs must have flexible budgets that can handle program revisions, it is thus difficult to set indicators or budget lines that make both the organization and the donor happy. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.

Aid Workers Exchange 24-SEP-03 ISSN 1478-5137

Newsletter Articles: AWX Q&A
Submitted by mikese on June 11, 2009 - 2:14am.

My school just did a whole week on sex and being safe as well as whats going on in other parts of the world and how we can help. We had a few people come and speak about what they were doing and how they decided to go from the time they were young as us.

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