Institute Focuses on Families
Family life plays a critical role in a humanitarian worker’s support system. More than any other group, family is instrumental in helping a humanitarian worker stay balanced and connected. An issue that is frequently neglected, however, is the impact of humanitarian work on the family, itself.
It is not just the individual aid worker who is affected by the pressures of humanitarian work—families are, too. Consider the impact of stress related to frequent travel. In one recent study, almost 70% of aid workers reported moderate to extreme stress due to separation from family. This had consequences on their health. In a recent study by the World Bank, the more the staff member traveled, the more likely they were to submit medical claims for physical and/or psychological illness.
More surprising was evidence that there was a similar increase in claims by family members of frequent travelers. Separation also affected their health. As the former medical director for the World Bank said; “This phenomenon does not only affect the traveler, it affects the household.”
In general, few support services are offered to the families of humanitarian workers. As a result, families can become isolated and overwhelmed. Relationships can flounder, individuals may be damaged, and the quality of the staffer’s work may be compromised.
In the coming months, the Institute aims to help fill a gap in this area. We have begun to offer counseling sessions to humanitarian worker’s partners and deliver workshops for families. A number of free resources are already online in the Families and Children section of our website, and a future online training module will focus specifically on their needs.
Let us know if you are aware of good resources on this topic. For so many reasons, our families are too important to neglect.
Also in the News ...
Our second online training module on Trauma and critical incident care is now available for free on our website.
Headington Institute staff will be in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, in October to deliver workshops for Church World Services and UNICEF.
Headington Institute staff will be presenting at a conference in London sponsored by People in Aid in October, and at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) conference in Hollywood in November.
So Far in 2006 ...
Headington Institute staff have:
Facilitated a retreat in Australia for humanitarian workers responding to the Pakistan earthquake.
Facilitated a retreat in New York for relief workers involved in hurricane relief efforts
Provided over 300 hours of assessment, counseling, and debriefing to humanitarian staff working in crisis situations.
Provided over 50 hours of consultation to humanitarian organizations on staff care issues.
Provided counseling support to relief workers in Lebanon.
Presented at an international conference on staff care.
Conducted 8 training workshops on traumatic stress and humanitarian work.
Published two free online training modules, and other resources.
From the Executive Director
“How can I help?” I love that question – it comes up often when I tell people about the work of the Headington Institute. The humanitarian emergencies of the past year have been unprecedented in scope and impact. Perhaps you’re looking for a way to help. There are a number of things you can do to further our efforts to provide psychological and spiritual support to relief and development workers worldwide.
First, share our website with friends and family. Help us educate others about the challenges facing today’s humanitarian aid professionals and our efforts to assist them. Next, consider donating your time and talent. We are grateful for those who have generously provided services and advice, including mental health professionals, computer programmers, media specialists, fundraisers, graphic artists, attorneys, publicists, researchers, and various consultants. Finally, please consider sending a monetary gift and encourage others to do so. You can make a difference in the lives of the caring, courageous people who respond to disasters on our behalf. Join us in supporting them. And thanks for your help.
Jim Guy, President
Online Training Module Adapted for E-Learning
The Headington Institute’s introductory online training module will soon be ultra-high-tech — the result of a recent collaboration with CARE and LINGOS (Learning for International NGOs).
LINGOS (www.lingos.org) exists to promote the sharing of learning resources and initiatives among their member agencies (consisting of many of the world’s largest NGOs, including CARE, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, and Habitat for Humanity).
LINGOS staff and volunteers have been working with us to create an interactive e-learning course based on our first online module. CARE will translate the final product into four different languages, and it will be available for free online.
Online training modules available now...
Farewell Laura Depp, Welcome Jeanne Paik
Laura Depp will be leaving the Institute at the end of September to take up a new position as an adjunct lecturer at Azusa Pacific University. Laura has been with the Institute for two years and made a significant contribution to our mission during her time with us. We wish you well, Laura!
While we’re sad to announce Laura’s departure, we’re pleased to announce that Jeanne Paik has agreed to join our team in the position of administrative assistant.
Jeanne is in the process of obtaining her Masters degree in Marital and Family Therapy. She also holds a double degree in International Studies and French, and has worked with non-profit organizations in the US and England. She is well suited to contribute to the Headington Institute’s international mission. Welcome, Jeanne. We’re glad you’re here!
Dr. Laurie Pearlman Honored
Dr. Laurie Pearlman, Director of the Headington Institute’s Clinical Associates Program, has been chosen as recipient of the 2006 Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Studies from the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS).
Dr Pearlman is being jointly honored with Professor Ervin Staub. The committee was particularly impressed with their work on the Rwanda Reconciliation Communications Project. This project was designed in conjunction with national and local leaders, and the Dutch NGO, La Benevolencija. Information on trauma and peace-building research was used to design an ongoing radio program to promote individual and communal healing and prevent further violence.
In the past year, the program has grown to include the Democratic Republic of Congo. For more information, please visit www.heal-reconcile.Rwanda.org or www.labenevolencija.org.
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The Headington Institute ...
caring for caregivers worldwide
by providing training, counseling and consulting
The Headington Institute is a federally recognized nonprofit corporation with 501.C.3 status. All contributions are fully tax deductible. Please contact us for more information on how to become a partner in this important work.