Selected member testimonials

PHAP is a resource, a point of reference with regard to important aspects to consider in assessing current humanitarian issues and discourses and while operating in the field of humanitarian assistance. PHAP helps us to conceptualize issues and challenges that we often encounter in our everyday work, and gives us the opportunity to compare our views with those of other practitioners in the field of humanitarian work. PHAP is thus a platform that provides us with the opportunity to contribute increasing our own knowledge and expertise, to state problems that we face and discuss them with other professionals. As the issues that are subject to humanitarian work are in constant evolution, a constant exchange and debate about them is very important. In one sentence: PHAP is a community of practice and learning.

- Elisabetta Brumat, Senior Protection Officer, Protection Cluster Coordinator, UNHCR, Pakistan. PHAP member since January 2011.

For me PHAP is a great opportunity to meet likeminded people with a diverse range of field experience and theoretical backgrounds. PHAP to me is about expanding knowledge.

- Candace Rondeaux, Analyst, International Crisis Group, Afghanistan. PHAP member since December 2011.

PHAP gives practitioners, policy makers, legal professionals and academics the opportunity to meet up with each other throughout the year. It provides a forum for them to join and discuss, to then go back to their work, re-appraise the situation they face, and then to come back and reflect again on what they encounter. PHAP is thus a platform where experiences from different parts of the world become exchanged. It also facilitates an acquisition of information and knowledge, and provides members directly with the most critical information.

- Helene Kadi, Chief, Emergency Coordination and Field Operations, UNICEF, Yemen. PHAP member since February 2011.

PHAP opens up contact with people of different organizations and professions.

- Katrin Kisswani, Emergency Unit Member, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). PHAP member since February 2012.

I find the work of PHAP relevant to an important part of my professional activities. As we see it in a number of countries, it is important to know the legal background of our work. I am very interested in the links between IHL and human-rights law and how they relate to the work of UNICEF in regard to national legislations.

- Laurent Chapuis, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office, Jordan. PHAP member since January 2012.

PHAP has the potential to play an important role in helping identify the challenging factors that make humanitarian work difficult and that put humanitarian workers at risk and then consult with the humanitarian community to find strategies to address such factors.

- Dragan Markovic, Emergency Specialist, UNICEF Georgia. PHAP member since November 2011.

PHAP can play an important coordinating role, providing a mechanism for sharing opinions and best practices among humanitarian professionals.

- Pedro Medrano, Director NY Office, World Food Programme. PHAP member since December 2011.

I think PHAP can play an important role in reaching out, building connections between professionals in different sectors and organizations so that they can discuss and share all the expertise that is present in the association. PHAP provides a great opportunity to share the things that we have learned, to take steps towards new solutions.

- Frederick Ogwal-Oyee, Head of Field Office, UNICEF Kenya. PHAP member since March 2013.

The diversity of the network that PHAP has developed – the diversity of the members who all gravitate towards the same idea – is something quite unique. Interacting and networking with other humanitarian professionals who are engaged in work across a variety of different fields is an important priority for me. With members from the sector as a whole, we have a great opportunity – in terms of understanding other peoples operations and in terms of becoming better in our own operations.

- Mario Stephan, Coordinator of Operations, MENA region, MSF. PHAP member since July 2011.

I find the events directly relevant and beneficial for addressing critical issues I face in the field. I also appreciate how the events are organized to ensure that participants can interact. Participants are not just lectured to, which is not what we need as practitioners. It is also a great opportunity to exchange experiences and learn as much as possible from other participants. I am delighted that PHAP exists. There has obviously been a growing professionalization of the humanitarian sector and I personally feel that an association like this helps me in building my identity as a professional in the humanitarian sector and to have that recognized.

- Isabella Castrogiovanni, Protection Specialist. PHAP member since January 2012.

Selected participant testimonials

I was really pleased by the quality of the Core Training. The individual benefits attending this training are remarkable, since it provides a substantial set of paths that one can follow with further studies. For NGOs/UN practitioners this course helps in contributing to the overall definition of strategies thanks to a better understanding of legal frameworks distinctive of crisis contexts. In my experience, there is plenty of room and opportunity for a very open participation and so for true learning, also thanks to simulations, examples, and opinion/fact sharing among participants. As in previous experiences, PHAP staff as well as lecturers were professional, and at the same time friendly and extremely careful in making sure that everyone was comfortably benefitting by the course. I recommend this training.

- Marco Rotelli, Secretary General, Intersos. Participant in Amman, February 2013, and in New York, July 2013.

I took the basic course in NYC over the summer. I have also taken a similar course - on IHL - though ICRC in the past. The PHAP class is different because it makes an effort to combine "real world" experiences with the basic substantive learning of the Geneva Conventions and other elements of IHL. Our course had a good mix of presentations from academics and practitioners. It was a good refresher for me, and I would recommend the course to others.

- Kazumi Ogawa, Deputy Chief, Peacekeeping Situation Center, United Nations. Participant in New York, July 2013.

In my opinion, it is a very useful training and it is an excellent chance to have reflections on various topics from the different parts of the world round one table. The discussions are very rich and we will learn a lot as they always bring in excellent experts that you might resort to in any future cooperation. Regarding the thematic workshop, it is really interactive and creates room for innovation and better interpretation of what is available in the law.

- Malvina Elkhoury, Deputy Project Manager, Norwegian Refugee Council. Participant in Amman, February 2013.

I really enjoyed the training. I found it a very well organized course giving you the tools to go into more depth in IHL but also a vast source of information and access to resources. It was a great opportunity for me to interact with people working in this area, to exchange views and understand their work in this field. I really enjoyed the several case studies which were part of the course. In general it was quite an interactive course with excellent speakers.

- Marcia Kammitsi. European Commission. Participant in Barcelona, March 2012.

The training I joined in Jordan in Feb, 2012 was important because topics were related to current challenges and emerging trends in field. Moreover participants from conflict related countries contributed their experience and lesson learned how to work with parties to the conflict for improving civilians’ protection. The training in real sense equipped me to carry on successfully my service as a Human Rights officer for protection of civilians in current NIAC conflict of Afghanistan.

- Inayatullah Zia, Human Rights Officer, UNAMA. Participant in Amman, February 2012.

PHAP's training courses in IHL and the thematic workshops are excellent. My experience in Bangkok in May 2011 was that the course was by far the most professional, in-depth, informative and relevant of all the workshops in which I've participated over the last fifteen or twenty years. I would also add that it was a lot of fun, socially as well as academically. One element that makes a course successful is that the other participants are also interesting people as well as experienced professionals. It's this aspect too that makes PHAP stand out.

- Mark Simmons, International Director, FAR Sudan. Participant in Bangkok, May 2011.

My very positive experience is that these trainings and workshops are not ‘just another conference’, but that they actually manage to bridge the gap between theory of humanitarian action and the operational experience.

- Pooja Ahluwalia, Legal Advisor, ICRC, India. Participant in Geneva, December 2011.

I realize that, just like me, many of my colleagues would need the kind of training PHAP offers. Therefore, I am certain that PHAP will play an important role for my organisation in the future.

- Ahmed Wali, Humanitarian Values and Organizational Development Officer, IFRC, Afghanistan. Participant in Amman, February 2012.

I found the core training and the thematic training on occupation law in March 2012 very informative and interesting. The trainings are organised very well, those leading the sessions were clearly experts in their fields, and the combination of presentations/ discussions/ simulation exercises helps bridge between the theoretic principles and practical application. I would definitely recommend the training, and would suggest taking the thematic training that follows the core training.

- Antonio Galli, Access Analyst, UN Access Coordination Unit. Participant in Jericho, March 2012.

Having the sort of theoretical knowledge that PHAP trainings contribute to is important for humanitarian professionals, in order for them to reflect upon their role and how it interacts with those of others and to find new and better ways to serve the populations we work with.

- Tirana Hassan, Emergencies Researcher, Human Rights Watch. Participant in Brussels, August 2012

I found it extremely relevant, particularly in terms of external communication where we have to make sure that our terminology is accurate.

- Participant, Amman, February 2013

I really liked the case studies and discussion of specific contexts - this works.

- Participant, Nairobi, April 2013.

The online trainings were a fantastic background for the training and workshop. Good quality and excellent idea. Proved to be very useful to better understand the training.

- Participant, Brussels, September 2012.

It was an eye opener to the reality on the ground especially during emergencies. Decisions that are timely can be very useful and avoid a crisis situation.

- Participant, Nairobi, April 2012.

Fantastic training session. Will be useful for almost any future assignment. Great mix of theory and practical discussion.

- Participant, Ottawa, March 2011.

Very refreshing and orienting; while on the legal side much of the curriculum was not novel to me as I am a military lawyer, the perspectives that I was exposed to are critically important and different from the way I normally view these issues.

- Participant, Cambridge, July 2011.

Overall it has been a great balance of information, grounded in practical examples from facilitators and the group. Great energetic and engaging facilitation.

- Participant, Nairobi, October 2010.

Selected speaker testimonials

I found it truly enriching to explore with such an enthusiastic and professionally dedicated group some of the most pressing challenges international humanitarian law is facing today.

- Anton Camen, Head Legal Department, Delegation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Getting to know the stories that brought individual members to work in the humanitarian field really is foundational for the shared learning that is the essence of an organization like PHAP.

- Kateri Carmola, Middlebury College, Visiting Research Scholar.

Even if I contribute as a trainer on one course, I will still benefit from being a participant on another – there are always fields where there are new challenges or where a colleague has discovered a new approach, and PHAP manages to hit the right balance between discussing theory and sharing practical experience between peers. On top of the knowledge-based content, I have access to a community of practitioners for feedback, discussions, and sharing experiences – and this often provides great ideas for new course content in a way that follows recent developments very closely!

- Cynthia Petrigh, Founder and consultant, Beyond (Peace).