Staff Reintegration Following High-Risk Missions

Police mentor and members of the Canadians Forces work with trainees outside the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team's training centre. © CIDA/ACDI: Lucas Robinson

International development activities are operating in a context of increasing complexity, and this context exposes humanitarian workers to high levels of risk. In addition to physical risks, prolonged exposure of aid workers to human suffering and violence can have a severe psychological impact. Many stressors manifest most clearly at the end of a worker's term as they prepare to return to their home country. Despite this, many aid workers say that they do not feel adequately supported by their employers throughout their time overseas, and most especially during reintegration. This lack of support (actual or perceived) can compound a worker's anxiety and increase his or her risk of serious psychosocial difficulties.

This paper examines current practices among international development and humanitarian aid agencies for supporting their workers during post-mission reintegration, and addresses particular stresses on workers posted in conflict areas.

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