UN Library Talks Geneva, book launch: “People at the Core”- Humanitarian Work Psychology and the Global Development Agenda

On January 26th IIMA attended the book launch of “People at the Core” in
the UN Library. Mr. David Chikvaidze (Chef de Cabinet, Office of Director
General UNOG) introduced the main theme of the book by affirming that in time
of humanitarian crisis, while people are struggling against malaria and other
diseases, only the 52% of the world “feels safe” and
the 79% of those diseases comes from work situations.
The speakers emphasized the importance of guaranteeing the long-term
health of humanitarian workers who are facing critical situations worldwide,
causing stress and even burn out. Humanitarian Work Psychology (HWP) is the
emerging field created to fill a vacuum and tackle the issue of health in
humanitarian work.

When the Organizations deliver the humanitarian service they have to
know that there is a personal cost. Humanitarian staff deals with multiple
crisis situations as well as a multitude of actors, further complicating the
issue . In that instance the situation can influence both the ability to act
and the state of mind of the staff. So, how to help the helper? We have to
prepare the workers, accompanying them during their humanitarian experience and
then afterwards. We need to have people better prepared, providing training and
support to all workers, humanitarians and officers, even providing work from
home to release the stress.

The book “People at the Core” also studies practical cases of how
Humanitarian Work Psychology helped implement developmental goals in Ghana,
Sierra Leone, India, China, and Hong Kong. The challenge is to find a positive
way to manage new developmental goals and offer more disciplinary approaches to
problems of the World.