Pairing up for capacity at the global level

Tonje Hisdal Johannessen|Published 28. May 2018
We aim to ensure that our experts are able to respond to complex emergencies and the evolving demands of the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding sectors.

To this end, we send our deployees on training courses with partner agencies, and host annual seminars, training workshops and online learning programmes. One approach to develop the right capacity within NORCAP has been twinning deployments.

These deployments facilitate on-the-job training of deployees by leveraging the experience of more senior experts, who function as mentors during the deployment.

How do twinning deployments evolve?

Twinning deployments take personnel requests from our partner agencies as a starting point. They are considered when funding is available for a second deployee and the senior expert has the capacity and qualities needed to take on a mentoring role. The assignment, context and working environment also need to be appropriate. The mentee may be a thematic expert with only limited field experience or an experienced humanitarian looking to specialise in a new thematic area.

The mentee establishes a work plan with their mentor before deployment to set goals, activities, timelines and deliverables. During the assignment, they obtain vital knowledge about a new technical field, and experience the challenges of humanitarian coordination, the cluster system and of working with local and national authorities and organisations.

In response to the increasing demand, we prioritised twinning deployments in cash and markets programming in 2017. In addition, twinning deployments were also used in areas of food security, urban planning, gender-based violence and education. The experts said the arrangement brought mutual benefits for professional growth and person - al resilience, providing a space for reflections on challenging situations and work dilemmas.

 

Tailor-made solutions

To increase technical cash and markets expertise, NORCAP and CashCap collaborated with the Cash Learning Partnership to develop a pilot capacity-building scheme.

Designed for mid-level to senior humanitarians across a range of organisations and sectors including WASH, shelter and logistics, it involved training seminars, one-to-one-mentoring and on-the-job training.

The participants said on-the-job training was key to increasing their knowledge and skills, and that the learning environment their host organisations provided was vital. The project provided NORCAP and the broader cash community with important learning opportunities. For initiatives such as twinning missions and capacity-building schemes to work, all of those involved need to engage before, during and after the event to establish commitment and mutually agreed goals.

Read caption Twinning for capacity - David Flores Reyes and Emile Ntampera Photo: Eirin Ulleberg/NORCAP

Improving education response 

“My mentor has been very supportive and takes his role seriously, respecting my previous experience and assigning me tasks that are contributing to the development of my professional skills,” says David Reyes Florez who is on a twinning deployment together with Emile Ntampera to UNHCR in Arua, Uganda. 

They are working to improve access to and quality of education for the refugee population. 64% of the refugees are under the age of 18.

“I can say that we are working as real “twins”. As his mentor, I sometimes challenge him. We communicate honestly and frankly and talk about how to improve the education response. We are collaborating in a way that allows us to benefit from each other’s expertise,” says Emile Ntampera.