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Promoting Minimum Economic Recovery Standards in the Horn of Africa

by on Aug 30, 2013  |  posted in Post-Disaster  |  0 Comments

MERS training in Nairobi, Kenya

The SEEP Network hosted a training session on the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS) at the REDR UK-Kenya Program’s Training Center in Nairobi, August 12-15, 2013. The training session included a two day general practitioner training followed by a two day training of trainers (TOT) course. The training session brought together a group of committed humanitarian practitioners whose active participation and varied experiences confirmed the effectiveness and strength of the participatory course design and methodology. The group included participants from Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), the European Commission for Humanitarian Affairs (ECHO), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Oxfam GB, Concern Worldwide, Goal Kenya, Tear Fund, Child Fund, Lutheran World Federation, Mercy Corps Ethiopia, The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and REDR UK. Participants shared experiences from a wide range of humanitarian emergencies in the Horn of Africa, including the conflict in Darfur, experiences with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) fleeing from violence in Northern Uganda, economic recovery with pastoralists in Ethiopia, and enterprise development and livelihood programs in the world’s largest refugee camp Dadaab in the North Eastern province of Kenya. The two day general practitioner training is a guided study of the MERS handbook and helps to familiarize participants with the handbook using a variety of training methods, including role playing, group work, simulation and class discussion. Participants are invited to put themselves in the position of a poor, rural, small farmer after a natural disaster with the challenge of determining the resources needed from humanitarian agencies.                 By utilizing a series of hands-on exercises, the training course allows trainees to immerse themselves into the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS), walking them through the different sections of the Handbook and placing them in situations that require them to practice using the standards.  Participants in Nairobi highlighted the validity and relevance of the standards, which include core standards, assessment standards and four technical standards (financial services, productive assets, employment standards and enterprise development).                 The training of trainers (TOT) program provides trainees with diverse training tips, including how to manage challenging behavior. Participants have the opportunity to engage in practice training sessions and are assigned a section of the Trainer’s Manual. Each TOT participant then receives peer feedback on how to improve delivery. After the practice sessions in Nairobi, participants said they felt prepared to train others on MERS. Nine TOT participants became accredited MERS trainers after completing the four day training course. All participants demonstrated a high commitment to becoming promoters of Minimum Economic Recovery Standards in the Horn of Africa region. A total of thirteen Nairobi participants received the certificate of General Practitioner, and nine participants became accredited MERS Trainers. Based on course evaluations, twelve out of fourteen the General Practitioners rated the course as Very Good, and two rated it as Good. All nine TOT participants rated the course as Very Good.

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