ESB’s Surge Capacity Section (SCS) conducted a review of OCHA’s premier surge training — the Field Response Surge Training (FIRST) — from 22 to 23 May 2017. The objective of the Review was to ensure that material delivered during the FIRST reflects developments in the humanitarian sphere and maintains its relevance for OCHA staff who may deploy in support of OCHA operations globally.

To reinforce organisational ownership of the FIRST, representatives from OCHA’s Branches and Divisions participated in the two-day Review.  Staff from the Protection and Gender Capacity Unit (located in SCS) also attended to support efforts to better integrate protection and gender elements across the training modules, including in the Desktop Exercises and Field Exercise.

In addition, other thematic experts on the Private Sector, Cash Programming and CERF/Pooled Funds were engaged to ascertain how to best reflect these important areas of OCHA’s work into the course. OCHA’s Security Focal Points in the Coordination and Response Division (CRD) will now be consulted to strengthen the security element of the course to make sure OCHA staff who deploy understand their place in the UN’s security architecture as well as  to place emphasis on the importance of situational awareness and individual responsibility in high-risk duty stations.

The revised package will be finalized over the next month to be ready for implementation for the next FIRST course, that will take place in Austria from 6 to 13 September 2017. The aim of the revised FIRST is to make sure content is instructional and based on the most recent developments, initiatives and norms, deployment expectations are reinforced and that the experience is enjoyable for OCHA staff who are selected to attend.