NORCAP Information Management specialist
After working at a primary school in South Sudan, Fred joined Hold the Child as a Child Protection and Education in Emergency Coordinator in Jonglei State, South Sudan. He has a background in Adult and Community Education, but his tasks in this position sparked an interest in information management, which he pursued in his next role at the national Education Cluster in Juba.
In November 2016, Fred joined NORCAP and was immediately deployed to Iraq to support the education cluster during the Mosul offensive. Since then, he’s represented NORCAP all over the world in Afghanistan, Mozambique, Whole of Syria, the occupied Palestinian territory, Ethiopia and in Buea, Cameroon.
He is currently on a two-year deployment with the Global Education Cluster based in Geneva. There, he serves as a member of the Rapid Response Team — ready to deploy anywhere in sudden onset emergency.
“It’s been three years since my first mission as an NORCAP expert. While I’ve had the opportunity to deploy to multiple countries since then, I believe I had a truly unique contribution this year to the Education Cluster’s response to Cyclone Idai in Mozambique.
As Information Management Officers, we play a critical role in developing or adapting tools and methodologies for monitoring humanitarian response. This analysis makes it possible to share information about the operational presence and capacities of organisations involved to ensure the coordination system runs efficiently. A well-coordinated response with effective information management practices avoids duplication of services, supports identification of gaps and guides decisions on course correction to address and improve the response,” explains Fred.
“When I arrived in Mozambique almost four weeks into the response, there was a total lack of information management capacity for the Education Cluster. There was no common response plan, nor any good monitoring tools to track the response. There was also no proper contact list to ease communication, consultations or coordination in general.
As immediate action, I revamped the cluster’s web page and populated it with key contacts. In a consultation with the cluster members, a standardised list of cluster response activities was agreed upon and added to the response monitoring tool. This was followed by training for the partners to improve the quality of data being reported. With improved reporting, analysis also improved, and I was able to produce operational presence maps, dashboards and advise on gaps in the response.
Before I left, there was a plan to recruit a long-term Information management officer and I participated in the selection and later induction of the appointed staff,” says Fred.
Supported before, during and after his missions
“NORCAP has a wonderful team at headquarters that takes good care of the experts in the field and the deployment advisors often reach out to the field to check on experts. Experts are also provided with equipment such as rain-jackets, a power bank, t-shirts and backpacks, which are good for use and visibility.
Regarding safety, added to the trust of host organisations to ensure the security of experts, HEAT training provides us with a comprehensive set of skills relevant across all the possible threats in the field,” says Fred.
“After missions, NORCAP organises debriefs for the experts. These provide opportunities to meet with psychologists and allow interaction among peers,” he says.
Continuous professional development
“Each deployment mission has unique needs and demands that require adaption and flexibility. The adaption may range from reading materials, taking online courses or seeking out expert guidance from peers. This provides an opportunity to improve technical and strategic skills.
In addition, there are a lot of training opportunities both online and face to face that NORCAP can provide. I have personally participated twice in training-related workshops and these have enhanced my skills and practices in coordinated assessments and information management.
There are also opportunities to attend twining missions with senior experts, which is important for junior experts,” says Fred.
P.S. Any advice for candidates?
“To any potential applicants, I can only give them the assurance that NORCAP is the best employer for any Information Management officer eager to contribute to the welfare of the affected population, but also grow their career. There are many needs for information management and with hard and professional work, one will not run out of opportunities. The remote support from the Headquarter is immense to the extent that even when deployed thousand miles away, the team will ensure your safety and wellbeing are guaranteed.
Take up the challenge and hit the ground running if the opportunity avails itself,” urges Fred.