By Jan Passion
Training, training, training.
A key cornerstone for effective unarmed civilian protection (UCP) is our emphasis on training. Recruiting capable and talented staff and then providing them with the training and support needed to work in volatile, vulnerable and violent conflict regions.
GUNFIRE! GUNFIRE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE!
Midway through the training, sometime after the generator was shut down, the trainers woke the 23 participants to the sound of live gun fire, as well as the makeshift imitation cracking of a machine gun. The staff also started two large fires near the participant’s tents. We then shouted “GUNFIRE! GUNFIRE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE! RUN TO SAFE ZONE ONE!!!” Some participants, dazed after being torn from sleep, knew exactly where to run and what to bring with them... and some did not. There were simulated injuries, and the slowest two participants were detained and ‘interrogated’ by a ‘local militia.’
A trained nurse (who happens to work for NP in our field staff) was compelled to provide simulated emergency medical care – first to one of the ‘soldiers’ and then to a participant who had a simulated injury, while the rest of the participants were sheltering in Safe Zone 1 and trying to sort out what to do regarding the situation, and regarding their missing (detained) colleagues.