World Food Program regional operation International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent regional operation

Our host humanitarian organizations were very generous with their time and the information that they shared about their relief operations. Our delegation examined the many facets of delivering aid along the Namibia corridor. We were particularly impressed by the unprecedented collaboration between International Federation of Red Cross and World Food Programme regional operations.

by the selfless commitment of the staff to be wherever they are needed, for as long as they are needed, and do heroic work to overcome endless external issues, as well as internal bureaucracies, to achieve their missions.

Those suffering from AIDS and starvation, as well as the humanitarian organizations and governments serving them, would all benefit from increased collaboration. More cooperation is needed from all parties, from ports to carriers to countries.

All aid providers could benefit from standardization of donor requirements. That would reduce the amount of paperwork for reporting and lead to common standards for performance. We have already engaged a Fritz Institute team that is developing software for the International Red Cross that will contribute to this need. Through that work, we are beginning to collaborate with relief logistics professionals to create benchmarks and metrics that would allow for an understanding of the supply chain performance capabilities and expectations across the different organizations.

Before this field visit, I thought that relief work was all very specialized. What I now see is that not all tasks in the humanitarian world require vast field experience. It is possible that logistics professionals from the commercial arena could be easily trained to be available for emergencies for stints of three weeks at a time.

With short-term staff and work contingent on funding, there is little historical knowledge of effective practices in the disaster theatre. The private sector could help relief organizations develop databases to keep track of best practices, identify available expertise and train field workers to employ these tools upon their assignments.

Looking into ways to assist with stabilizing funding, so that relief work is not held up pending securing funds either from world headquarters or donors, would be mission critical to facilitate the continuity and long term planning for optimal relief delivery.

We are all exhausted from jet lag and our full and fascinating first day. After a good nights rest, I will be eager to observe the next sequence of the aid delivery process in this continent of vast needs.

Lynn Fritz

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