Working in Conflict
Nepal's current civil conflict poses special challenges
to the Nepal Safer Motherhood Project (NSMP). The security
situation varies from district to district. As such, assuring
the safety of project and partner staff requires that each
situation is monitored and evaluated individually, using
a common assessment
This assessment highlights issues about NSMP's work.
If, for example, people will not gather at night to discuss
safer motherhood issues because of fear of attack, the
project must find other means of disseminating information.
Evaluating the Security Situation
staff in each district or cluster of districts report all
security incidents and rumours to a central Coordinator
in the project's Kathmandu office who monitors the situation
and evaluates it against a standard set of security
indicators . These include:
- Psychological, physical or financial threats against
- Inappropriate requests about project assets or equipment.
- Evidence of negative impact on the project's activities.
- Increases in the number of security-related incidents.
- Decreases in the ability of partners to implement
their planned activities.
Re-evaluating Programme Efficacy
continuously re-evaluates its programme. This is particularly
the case when activities have to be cancelled, partner groups are
unable to implement activities, there are increased vacancies among
sanctioned health posts, staff refuse to work outside the district
centres or routine services are disrupted.
Through discussions with
partner groups and local stakeholders, alternative solutions
are explored, such as the re-allocation of resources to print and
radio media in order to continue the promotion of safe motherhood
messages and avoid exposing partners and communities to increased
Assuring Staff Safety
All NSMP field staff have received
training in security management, risk management and negotiating
skills, following the principles of 'Do
No Harm'. Understanding that locally employed staff may
be more acceptable to local stakeholders than 'outsiders'
from other districts, and may benefit from greater levels of security,
the project has stepped up its efforts to recruit qualified local
staff, especially in areas heavily affected by the conflict.
to Day Security Measures
- Staff carrying a letter issued by NSMP that identifies them and clearly
states the project's
health related purpose.
- Staff carrying an NSMP identification card.
- Security guidelines that are regularly
updated and disseminated to each project office.
- A crisis management
plan for each district.
- Satellite telephone systems for the most
remote districts where communications may be difficult in
A code of conduct advises all staff in areas such as communication,
use of familiar language, dress, punctuality, transparency in
working relations and personal behaviour, gossip or talk about
politics and misuse of authority.
NSMP's Working Principles
and equipment are used solely to benefit the community. The project
never willingly donates or contributes money to political parties
or military groups or reimburses staff for such payments. NSMP is
fully transparent in its operations and accountable to the communities
it supports. It recognises the fundamental rights and freedoms
of all individuals and the need to resolve conflict in non-violent