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Operational Start-Up

Nov - Dec 2019 

Erbil, Iraq
How coordination and strategic partnership can improve humanitarian operations?

German-based humanitarian aid organization, focusing on developing WASH-projects combining the fields of water, sanitation, and hygiene.


Present in Kurdistan (Sulaymaniyah), Iraq since the outbreak of the fighting of “ISIS" in 2014, the client organization has seen the region unravel by conflict. In 2019, to assist crisis affected population in Al Raqqa, Syria, the organisation has decided to scale up their operations by setting up a new office in Erbil, through which they can effectively run their new humanitarian interventions in North-East Syria. In a supporting and advisory role, we have deployed a consultant to support the organization HQ emergency unit and in-country team in establishing and operationalizing humanitarian activites in Al Raqqa, and setting up a coordination office in Erbil, Iraq.

The Approach

Following successful experience in starting-up new humanitarian operations (Haiti, 2010, Yemen, 2016, Niger 2017), and working experience in conflict areas, we have addressed the mission challenges with a strong analytical, coordination and organisational approaches, especially through :

  • Pre-deployment discussions and workshops at HQ & field levels.

  • Extensive desk review and detailed field multi-sector assessment in the areas of security, logistics, supply, program etc.

  • Liaison with relevant coordination body, local authorities, aid actors to get the contextual elements, risk factors, challenges, and key requirements to setup a new humanitarian operations in the country.

  • Strategic business partnership and high-quality negotiation with 3rd party logistics, UN System and fellow INGO.

  • Establishment of the support infrastructure (Finance, Logistics, HR ).

The Results

  • Functioning and well-equipped office, including staff accommodation are effectively provided in Erbil

  • Organization support infrastructure (finance, logistics, HR etc.) including technical equipment are effectively established and operational.

  • Effective humanitarian assistance is being delivered in Al Raqqa in less than 2 months following the setup of the coordination in Erbil.

The Impact

Coordination, strategic partnership, analytical and organizational skills can be a key enabler for success, especially when operating in volatile and completely new context. High quality and detailed multi-sector assessment and relevant reports, provide organization strong contextual elements to achieve timely and effective programming decisions making, while strategic business partnership help maximizing operational efficiency.

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