A humanitarian organization working with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afganistan among others.
Introduction to you
Before this project was developed, I happened to meet several staff members of the agency. Their distress was visable. I recommended that the agency consider the type of support it could offer to its staff.
Their need and your eval
A staff member was considering quiting due to burn out. Other staff was experiencing similar distress. Recognizing the needs of the staff, agency managers and I talked about the what may be impacting staff experience. Managers felt that they would benefit from a better understanding of the psychological distress that refugees face. I recommended that it may be helpful to also understand the impact that working with people who have expereinced trauma can have on staff.
The Danish Refugee Council and I also looked at how to ensure ongoing support, after the training. In partnership with the agency, learning objectives were defined and an initial 6 hour training on the impact of trauma on men, women and then on humanitarian workers. Skills introduced included: communication skills, empathy, building boundaries, de-escalation and identifying personal triggers. Along with the training the following services were provided for the next 3 months: Case consultation, group sessions and individual sessions followed by a follow up training.
The initial objectives of the project were met and the need for ongoing support was identified. This project was extended for 6 additional months with an additional goal of building internal capacity through the creation of a new position who will continue to focus on the self-care needs of the agency’s staff.
“When I first went to your training I didn’t think that what you were teaching us would help. But now I find I reflect on it multiple times a day, and it really helps. For example I was able to help an 8 year old girl to calm down when she was panicing using the breathing techniques you taught us.” -Training Participant