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Tips on Personal Preparation
The best advice is likely to come from someone doing a similar job to the one that you will be doing. If you can find such a person, even if only via a long conversation on the telephone, do so. It will greatly repay the effort and the cost.
While preparing, you may wish to consider the following:
Obtain briefing on the country you will be going to; its culture and customs; the work you will be doing; the security situation; and the history of your organisation's work in that area.
What training do you need before you depart? Take experienced and qualified advice on this if necessary. You may need training related to safety or security, and training in aspects of the job you'll be doing.
Travel plans: have they been thoroughly prepared? Who will meet you on arrival? What will you do if they do not show up?
Medical advice, particularly on malaria prophylaxis and other health precautions.
Clothing: appropriate to where you will be and what you will be doing.
- Putting your personal, family and property affairs in order before you leave.
- What manuals or handbooks will you find useful? The Oxfam Handbook of Development and Relief is a useful general handbook, available from Oxfam Publishing (http://publications.oxfam.org.uk/). "Engineering in Emergencies" by Robert Lambert and Jan Davis has excellent general guidance for non-engineers, in addition to its main content (available on www.amazon.com). There are many others.
- Security-related equipment: see the ECHO Generic Security Guide for Humanitarian Organisations, at http://ec.europa.eu/echo/evaluation/security_review_en.htm.
- Mail forwarding arrangements.
You may also want to post a message on the Aid Worker Network Forum, asking if anyone has contacts in the area or any advice.