Activities

Capacity Development Programme

The Global Crisis Response Support Programme capacity development programme consists of 21 training courses aimed at building foundational and professional skills as well as expanding the participants’ knowledge in advanced analytic disciplines.  The identified training areas are based on preferences of the OAS and CARICOM agencies involved having a high relevance to the participants’ daily work. The courses are offered to selected staff members and are mainly implemented in the premises of CARICOM IMAPCS and its related agencies and for the OAS at the headquarters in Washington D.C.

When developing the training programme, the GCRSP has taken into account the relevance of core competencies - skills which are recognized as fundamental for effective crisis and early warning response – as well as cross-cutting or horizontal topics.

The capacity development programme is complemented by coaching activities, workshops and an end-of-programme exercise to assess the capacity building process.

The implementation period for the capacity development programme is scheduled from 1st June 2015 to 31st of January 2017

Phase I: Foundational Skills

Includes the provision of three training courses: Open source information; information, analysis and reporting and knowledge management.

This phase contributes to establishing a common understanding or baseline for the gathering, processing and use of information in areas including but not limited to the following:

  • The quality of the information being gathered.
  • The quality of the information being processed
  • The outreach of the processed information: What mechanisms are being used, how and when?
  • The level of influence of the information produced and distributed.
  • Standard reporting protocols.
  • The systems and processes used to exchange information.
  • Knowledge sharing, information management and collaboration systems.

Open Source Information Training Course

The course provided a detailed introduction to the discipline of Open Source Information (OSINF). The specific focus was on OSINF related to crime and security in the LCR region. Participants learned how to identify their information needs and leverage a broad range of tools and sources to improve data collection, analysis and decision-making in their organisation. Considerable emphasize was placed on the importance of automating information collection so that participants can spend more time on the essential disciplines of reading, sensemaking and data analysis.

In addition to standard OSINF tools, participants were shown how to leverage social media, multimedia and geospatial information resources for situational awareness and crisis monitoring. Further, they learned how to manage the entire collection process, from requirements and collection planning to data collation and management for subsequent analytical efforts. Thus, as well as essential web exploitation skills, participants learned how to structure and organise their results to better aid the early detection of threats, challenges and opportunities.





Information Analysis and Reporting Training Course

The Information Analysis and Reporting Training Course (IA&R) provided a detailed introduction to the disciplines of Information Analysis and Information Reporting. Participants learned how to apply descriptive, predictive and prescriptive models of analysis, as well as how to develop their own analytic models to support critical thinking and problem solving.

Further, they were shown how to communicate their findings efficiently and effectively through written reports and oral presentations. Emphasis was given to the critical, creative and conceptual thinking skills needed to tackle complex, rapidly changing security challenges. Instructions were also given in how to manage and mitigate the biases and other cognitive pathologies that can undermine the analyst’s work and the communication of risk and warning.


Knowledge Management Training Course

Knowledge is the primary enabler of organisational efficiency and effectiveness. This is particularly true in international organisations active in the field of crisis management and response. The discipline of knowledge management (KM) can play a significant role in this regard. Properly implemented, KM can improve organisational response times, enable organisational learning, and minimise costs. Hence, the KM training course addressed those challenges common to information and knowledge management in international organisations, and provided participants with guidance on the policies and processes that enable the effective collection, codification, management, sharing and re-use of an organisation know-what, know-whom and know-how.

During the last day of the training course a knowledge management café was organised where all participants were able to share their perspectives and ideas on how to improve the transfer and management of knowledge within the respective organisation. Due to the relevance of KM for the OAS, a KM coaching programme for the OAS was developed in the follow up of the KM training course.


 

Phase II: Advanced Analytic Disciplines

Includes the provision of five training courses on: scenario analysis, risk analysis, early warning, gender in early warning systems and conflict analysis. Each of the training courses promoted and fostered the idea of regional response mechanisms.


Scenario Analysis Training Course

Scenario analysis is one input into senior decision maker’s direction. Scenario analysis can be broadly either enquiry driven, which suits most closely a scientific method paradigm and strategic scenario analysis which suits a policy formulation paradigm.

The training course aimed at the enrichment of the participant’s ability to brief, up to cabinet level, decision makers clearly and effectively on all appropriate courses of action in crisis situations. It gave the participants the necessary analysis tools to be able to brief senior decision makers from their crisis rooms when they, the seniors, need best, good, emergent or stabilisation practices in real life situations.

Using the participants own professional experiences this course aimed at identifying those aspects of any situation that are tightly constrained and those which are not, and advise the participants how to present the implications of this to senior decision makers.

The emphasis throughout the course was to illuminate how their participants’ experiences can be interpreted and put to use in a more structured analysis. The structure for the analysis was provided by the Cynefin Framework.

 

 

 




Risk Analysis Training Course

The Risk Analysis program provided a comprehensive introduction to the discipline of risk management, including risk identification, risk analysis and evaluation, risk communication and cognitive challenges and the management of uncertainty

To begin, participants were given a brief introduction to the discipline of risk, as well as to its historical evolution. In doing so, the risk awareness of participants was cultivated and helped them understand the complex interplay of challenges that affect policy professionals.

Next, participants were shown how to identify and evaluate the assets they wish to protect, and the vulnerabilities they must guard against. In the following the process of risk analysis and risk management started by conducting quantitative and qualitative evaluations, determining risk control strategies, and defining the most suitable approaches to risk communication.

Early Warning Training Course

GCRSP provided participants with a comprehensive set of skills and abilities, each of which is directly relevant to the work of a situation / crisis room. The course provided a detailed introduction to the disciplines of Early Warning and Early Response. It opened with an introduction to weak signal identification and analysis. The objective was to demonstrate how early warning can be facilitated through a rigours study of global trends and outliers. Emphasis was given to the phenomenon of sensemaking, which encourages reflection and dialog among analysts. From there, participants were introduced to the disciple of early warning itself. They were shown how to construct an Early Warning System (EWS), which technologies to use, and how to embed the EWS in the organisation’s workflows and external relationships. They were also introduced to a number of operating models and analytic frameworks that can be used to guide their efforts. Emphasis here was given to the importance of developing and monitoring indicators, as well as the use of structured reporting templates.  The course closed with guidance on how to translate early warning into early action. Participants was shown how to plan, organise, communicate and deploy those activities that mitigate the worst effects of a conflict or crisis.



Gender in Early Warning Systems Training Course

The course aimed at presenting the rationale for integrating gender issues into early warning systems and processes for different types of crises. Participants were introduced to gender equality concepts, including a diversity approach and to the four different types of gender analysis techniques (life cycle analysis, vulnerabilities and capacities analysis, gender and decision-making, values and attitudes analysis)

Within the course participants reviewed relevant global, regional and international commitments related to both gender and EWS. The course worked mainly with mini case studies on gender and EWS issues related to: flooding, tsunamis, earthquake, droughts;  communicable diseases (HIV/AIDS, zika, dengue fever, etc.); cyber-crime; small arms and gang violence; electoral violence; trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Finally, individual and institutional action plans to integrate gender and diversity issues into EWS in the respective organizations/working environment were developed.

Conflict AnalysisTraining Course

The conflict analysis training provided an introduction to ‘conflict’ and ‘violence’, related trends in the Latin American and Caribbean region, and different implications for intervention (‘working in/on/around conflict’). It provided an overview of different conflict analysis tools and their different purposes, equipped participants with practical tools to conduct conflict analysis, provided an opportunity to practice those tools using a country case study (Venezuela case study for CARICOM agencies), and engaged participants on generating scenarios and options for engagement based on the analysis. The workshop was conducted in a highly inter-active and participatory manner, prompting participants to engage participants throughout the week from a ‘learning by doing’ perspective. The specific learning objectives for the conflict analysis training were to 1) obtain familiarity with select conflict analysis tools and approaches; 2) practice the application of these select conflict analysis tools and approaches using a country case study and 3) identify leverage points for change and strategic and programmatic options for engagement based on the analysis. The course included discussion on how conflict analysis can be integrated into the day-to-day realities of participants and their work related to situation/crisis rooms.

 


Cybersecurity Training Course

The Cyber Security Program of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) delivered course on cybersecurity in crisis response to the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM-IMPACS). The course was carried out in partnership with the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA) to join the in-house OAS expert in facilitating the course sessions.

The course aimed at enhancing skills in identifying and analyzing critical cybersecurity considerations in crisis response, particularly in a virtual-room situation. Participants were presented with key cybersecurity concepts, trends in cybercrimes, statistical data and tools that can be utilized and triaged with other information within a virtual crisis room. The expected learning outcomes were 1) enhanced skills in identifying and analyzing critical cybersecurity considerations in crisis response, particularly in a virtual-room situation; 2) increased knowledge in incident response and coordination of key stakeholders; 3) increased knowledge in key cybersecurity concepts, trends in cybercrimes, statistical data and tools that can be utilized and triaged with other information within a virtual crisis room; 4) application of knowledge and skills to a real crisis scenario in a simulation exercise.

Phase III: Professional Skills Development

Includes the implementation of three training courses on: information management, cybersecurity only (CARICOM) and leadership, and strategic planning. The output of these training courses will directly benefit and contribute to the development and implementation of the Joint Civil Protection Coordination Plans (JCPCP).

Information Management Training Course

This course provided a detailed introduction to the discipline of information management. It showed participants how to  The focus was on both the personal and organisational dimensions of IM, including management of one’s personal data; strategic and operational information management; development of new information systems; as well as legal and ethical norms. In doing so, the course aimed at “scaling” participants’ understanding and demonstrated how a common set of principles can be used to support a broad range of IM challenges. The course began at the individual level with guidance on how to manage the documents and resources commonly generated by international affairs professionals. The objective here was to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the individual analysts so that no time is lost during moments of crisis. From there, participants were invited to consider the strategic and operational dimensions of IM. Emphasis was given to those disciplines that organisation’s typically overlook, including data modelling, metadata management and data quality. The course continued considering the development of new or existing information services. Consideration here was given to the development of an information systems strategy and the delivery of value-added services to relevant stakeholders.




Leadership and Strategic Planning

Besides exchange of information and appropriate individual skills, coordination and planning are important elements to become a virtual crisis room. Therefore GCRSP offered the LSP training course. The course was two folded. The first part focused on developing participants’ abilities in strategic planning. Emphasis here was given to the application of structured analytic techniques to support a) the analysis of one’s internal and external environments; b) the identification and selection of strategic objectives; and c) the development of strategic implementation plans.

Part two focused on leadership skills. Here, participants were invited to undertake a series of self-evaluation exercises to gauge their current approach to leadership and to consider those habits or behaviours that need to be acquired or improved to strengthen their authority and ability to motivate. By most accounts, the program succeeded in imparting a body of knowledge that was both relevant and useful to those in attendance, and has proven a spur to the development of new projects initiatives.

Coaching on Knowledge Management


The KM coaching comes as a result of the training course on Knowledge Management (KM) given to OAS staff from 31 August to 4 September 2015.

Participants on the KM training course developed a number of project ideas that they felt would significantly enhance knowledge sharing at the OAS and additional “quick win” solutions were identified. Many of the ideas identified are integral to enhancing the research, analytic and crisis response capabilities of OAS staff. As such, the GCRSP is eager to support their implementation.

To further develop the OAS’ institutional and operational capabilities in the domain of crisis management and response, the coaching will (1) expand on the skills taught in the GCRSP’s foundational training courses; (2) support the development of the OAS’ information and knowledge management capabilities; (3) support the institutionalization of those workflows and processes that enable knowledge sharing, collaboration and organizational learning and (4) to introduce the concept and practice of coaching sessions to senior and middle management with the aim of developing an internal coaching capacity. The coaching will include the following components:

  1. To coach OAS staff in the principles of effective project management (PM) as a follow up to the KM training course by highlighting specific knowledge areas;
  1. To guide the implementation of the KM-related projects within the OAS;
  1. To support the development of an Enterprise Project Management (EPM) capability at the OAS. This capability should support the wider change management process currently underway in the Organisation. It could also form the nucleus of an internal consulting capability that the GCRSP coaching efforts are intended to spur. 




Some of the identified KM projects are already in development and tentative plans are already in place. Where this is the case, the GCRSP uses the coaching to test assumptions, examine the work done, and provide guidance on future implementation steps.

Besides any technical capabilities addressed in the capacity development programme, information management and exchange between the OAS and its stakeholders are crucial skills, needed to establish a virtual situation room at the OAS.