A day in the life of…
Working at IHQ is varied, fast paced and, above all, enjoyable! Don’t just take our word for it – see what our staff have to say about their roles at IHQ.
Director of International Emergency Services
How long have you worked at IHQ?
I started working for International Emergency Services (IES) in IHQ in 2006, first as an IES field officer (basically being deployed to disaster response operations for most of the time). Over the years my role changed and I took on more responsibilities. In July 2021 I became the IES director and am now managing a team of dedicated and experienced people. Together we oversee the Salvation Army’s global disaster related activities and operations and provide assistance and support to Salvation Army territories before, during and after disaster events.
What does a typical day look like in your role?
If you are dealing with disasters, ‘typical’ is quite relative. Our team assists territories in developing their disaster management strategies and we provide training and guidance to prepare for potential disasters. Training courses can be facilitated as in-classroom trainings or online and can cover a range of topics from the essentials of humanitarian standards, principles and guidelines, how to coordinate and network with other organisations or how to conduct a rapid needs assessment. Part of my responsibility is to develop and facilitate these training courses and curriculums.
The IES team also constantly monitors world situations, we keep an eye on cyclones or hurricanes, drought situations that might lead to food insecurity, rapid onset disaster events such as earthquakes or flash floods but also on conflict situations, war and displacement.
In case of a disaster event, we get in touch with the territorial leadership of the affected country and offer support. The support we offer can range from technical guidance and advice, making finances available through project proposals or assistance with the administrative tasks of writing such proposals. My team and I also coordinate the requirements and interests of supporting/donor offices who might want to offer finances, technical expertise or other support. IES can also offer additional personnel support if needed. Sending additional people can mean that I or someone else from the IES team travels to the disaster affected location for an immediate and short time period to assist the territory with the initial needs assessment, with the strategic planning and setting up of the relief operation or with coordination and networking with other stakeholder such as Governments, the UN and other NGOs. If needed, teams can also be deployed for longer-time periods to work alongside the affected territory and assist them in managing the operation and response. All deployments of international personnel following a disaster event are coordinated through IES in order to ensure that the right kind of people with the right level of experience and skills are on the ground. Training, selecting and equipping disaster response personnel and managing these international relief teams are also part of my responsibilities.
What do you enjoy most about working at IHQ?
I feel privileged to be able to use my skills and experience in an organisation that is committed to fight global injustice, poverty and inequalities. I enjoy working with many amazing colleagues at IHQ and around the world as well as with disaster and conflict affected communities themselves to address immediate and longer-term needs after a disaster event. It is great to also work alongside our colleagues from the development team on community-based disaster preparedness and mitigation activities and programmes. Together we look at the root causes of disasters and explore ways how these could be tackled. and work towards a world where everyone can live a life with dignity.
I love the diverse and varied tasks that come with my role and the opportunities offered by IHQ as well as the internationality of the IHQ family and the friendly, fun and supportive work atmosphere. I also enjoy the location of the office in central London.
What are you most proud of achieving in your role?
I believe that in a disaster situation you see the Salvation Army at its best. It makes me proud to work alongside officers, employees and volunteers providing relief and assisting communities in the recovery after a disaster. It makes me happy to see when training and capacity building is paying off and territories and individuals work in a professional, coordinated, ethical and effective manner. The Salvation Army can and should play an important role in the wider humanitarian setting and I feel honoured to be part of this journey.