RedR recently spoke to Asim Jan, International Security Risk Management Specialist for Real Solutions, and one of our newest members, for a conversation about his experiences as an aid worker.
Asim began his humanitarian career while responding to the 2005 earthquake in his native Pakistan. As a frontline Red Cross volunteer, he was inspired by the international collaboration on site. It was the impressive humanitarian work and diversity, he says, and the opportunities to connect with different cultures that initially attracted him to the sector.
These days, he cites the engagement with local communities as what keeps his heart and ambition in aid. Local communities in most cases are best source of sharing security information with the aid-workers, “They usually know where the risk is in the area,” he says.
Over the past year, northern Pakistan faced severe landslides and Asim conducted risk assessments in some of the affected areas. Often communication channels were destroyed and the population out of reach. On one of those occasions, although outside his duties in security, he found himself coordinating with the local authorities to shift a child from the affected area to a hospital via helicopter.
From that and previous experiences he says it is the sharing of local and technical expertise that lies the best response. And in the best response – which in that case got a child and family safely to a hospital - the professional satisfaction that keeps him going.
As an expert in security, Asim expressed concern over the current increasing trend to directly target aid workers and organisations. He emphasises the importance of that continued learning, prevention, risk reduction and adequate training in facing this challenge. “Access to training and knowledge through RedR are very important,” he says, adding with pride, “most of these risks can be mitigated and managed. And that is what I do.”
Photo (c) Asim Jan