For Immediate Release|
April 9, 2007
Fritz Institute' s Unique "Certification in Humanitarian Logistics" Program
Establishes a Standard of Expertise for Relief Workers Worldwide
More Than 250 People from 30 Countries Currently Enrolled in
Ground-Breaking Certification Program
SAN FRANCISCO - Lynn Fritz, founder of the non-profit Fritz Institute, a world leader in efforts to improve disaster relief management and logistics, announced today that more than 385 students representing 90 organizations in 35 countries are currently registered in Fritz Institute' s ground-breaking Certification in Humanitarian Logistics (CHL) program. Developed in cooperation with the world' s foremost humanitarian relief agencies and launched in September 2006, the program brings the best practices of supply chain management to humanitarian organizations, with the goal of significantly improving field logistics and the delivery of donated goods and medical supplies after a disaster.
Equally important, the program establishes a set of professional standards for an international force of largely unaffiliated relief workers, empowers relief workers with training vital to the success of their efforts, and creates a community of logisticians speaking a common language and working from common protocols. The program also represents a significant step forward in efforts to establish a career path in disaster relief logistics with the ultimate goal of creating a worldwide cadre of professional disaster relief specialists.
"This program is a critical element in improving disaster recovery around the world," said Lynn Fritz, director general of the internationally-renowned, non-profit Fritz Institute, headquartered in San Francisco. "Our studies indicate that logistics is by far the single most significant element in determining the speed and effectiveness of delivering the food, medicines and supplies that are critical to alleviate suffering."
Fritz Institute works in partnership with governments, non-profit organizations, corporations and academia around the world to professionalize humanitarian relief logistics, bringing to bear the best practices in global supply chain management that Fritz developed as founder and CEO of Fritz Companies, a Fortune 1000 world-wide freight transporter. After the sale of his company to UPS in 2001, Fritz founded Fritz Institute to provide technology, training, resources and tools to humanitarian relief workers, empowering those working on the front lines of disaster relief to deliver food, shelter, medicine and supplies more efficiently and effectively to communities in need.
The Certification in Humanitarian Logistics program has been designed specifically to address the real-world training needs of people who direct field logistics for non-profit organizations, often faced with near-impossible tasks under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. The program is also meant to promote collaboration among organizations. As field logisticians from various organizations complete the program, they will all learn the same standardized practices. Among the students currently enrolled in the program -- more than half of whom are based in Africa -- are workers for Oxfam, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.
"During the 2004 South Asia tsunami, breakdowns in the supply chain were particularly glaring," noted Fritz. "There were serious complications in sending supplies to 12 different countries. We want field logisticians to be able to operate efficiently in chaos and across international borders. A standardized skill set is one of the essential elements necessary for that efficiency to exist."
Developed in collaboration with Britain's Chartered Institute for Logistics and Transport (CILT), which counts Her Royal Highness Princess Anne as its royal patron, the course is constructed as a "distance learning" program, making it accessible to relief workers and agencies throughout the world. Students are provided a CD and assigned a coach. Lesson topics -- each covered by a series of in-depth learn-by-doing modules -- include Humanitarian Supply Chains, Procurement, Warehouse & Inventory Management, Transport, Fleet Management, Import/Export & International Commerce Practices, and Managing a Humanitarian Supply Chain Response.
The course can be completed in 18 months with a commitment of five hours per week, but is flexible enough to accommodate logisticians who are frequently sent on emergency missions. While required to master written materials, Certification in Humanitarian Logistics program students' progress is principally measured by their ability to accomplish real-world tasks -- such as how to inventory and distribute a warehouse of donated supplies when all the buildings in the area have been destroyed.
Research for Fritz Institute' s Certification in Humanitarian Logistics program was funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DFID).
The program was developed with the active involvement of the heads of logistics from a wide spectrum of the humanitarian community, including: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); International Rescue Committee; Oxfam GB; Medecins Sans Fronteres, Holland (Doctors Without Borders); Save the Children, USA; and the UN agencies Unicef, World Food Program, and UNHCR, which devoted more than 800 man hours to help create the certification program.
The Certification for Humanitarian Logistics program has also received very positive response from The World Food Programme, which has committed to sponsor 30 candidates per year while UNICEF has budgeted for at least 20 participants.
"The CHL is so important, not only for preparing the new generation of humanitarian logistics managers, but also for bringing a unified approach to those already in the field," said John Rickard, director of logistics for the International Rescue Committee. "Some of our staff members are currently working through the CHL, and there is already a marked increase in the confidence with which they approach their jobs."
Further information, including procedures for acquiring the course, is available at www.fritzinstitute.org.
About Fritz Institute
Fritz Institute is a not-for-profit, San Francisco-based organization dedicated to enabling effective humanitarian relief assistance throughout the world. The Certification on Humanitarian Logistics Program is one of several programs developed by Fritz Institute in its mission to bring the efficiencies of private-sector operations to international disaster relief efforts. Others include Fritz Institute' s HELIOS supply chain management software platform; the Capacity Networks Initiative to establish regional standards of excellence for local aid organizations; the New Partnership of African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (NEPARC), a partnership of 17 Africa-based relief organizations to systematically build capacity for excellence in disaster relief delivery; the Preparedness and Impact Program to evaluate the effectiveness of aid delivery from the recipients' perspective and link those findings to the delivery process; the Bay Area Initiative, a comprehensive, in-depth evaluation of disaster preparedness in earthquake-prone Northern California; Corporations for Humanity, providing a framework for private-sector corporations to leverage their core competencies for long-term improvement in humanitarian relief delivery; and the Humanitarian Logistics Association, an international gathering that provides an unprecedented opportunity for international relief organizations to share common problems and explore solutions.
According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), technology developed and provided by Fritz Institute has made the IFRC' s delivery of humanitarian aid much quicker and far less expensive. It took 18 days for the IFRC to set up its supply chain after the 2004 South Asia tsunami, but after the 2006 Jakarta earthquake and tsunami, the supply chain was established in only three days. Similarly, the IFRC spent $800/family to deliver aid after the 2004 South Asia tsunami -- a cost that was significantly reduced to $142/family after the 2006 Jakarta earthquake and tsunami.