In order to improve administrative support during the first weeks of an UNDAC deployment in a sudden onset disaster, a special course was organized to introduce 28 staff working in administration to the different UNDAC/OCHA emergency response mechanisms and tools. Administrative staff from country offices and OCHA HQ were trained to deploy at short notice to perform administrative, logistics and basic information management functions during emergencies in support of UNDAC missions. The participants were provided with the skills, knowledge and attitude to successfully perform in a very stressful and difficult living and working environment.
As first responders, the UNDAC team sometimes faces challenges such as the need to find and set up office space and suitable accommodation, with limited internet and communication support, find and hire suitable local vehicles, or creating initial contractual arrangements with local suppliers. Having dedicated staff for administration is important to ensure the team works efficiently immediately after its arrival in country. Upon completion of the course the participants are now part of the UNDAC roster and ready for future deployments.