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RedR-IHE's aid revolution

EU accession, RedR reorganises - Engineering charity RedR-IHE is undergoing a major review of its activities.

When engineering charity RedR was created in 1979, the world of disaster relief and humanitarian support was very different.

The recent departure of chief executive Bobby Lambert from disaster relief support charity RedR-IHE has prompted a major review of its operations.

It is arguably long overdue.

Changes in the humanitarian relief sector and in the way support is provided on the ground, have radically altered the demands on the charity.

While engineering and engineers remain at the heart of its activities, its role has had to alter drastically.

According to RedR-IHE chair Helen Caulfield, the organisation is in a 'transitional phase' with the staff and Board of Trustees 'actively engaged in addressing the issues it faces' as a result of these changes.

'This includes implementing a business plan that will secure the future direction of the organisation and the services that we offer to the humanitarian sector, ' explains Caulfield.

She says that it will also mean shoring up the charity's financial position and reviewing the current strategy.

As it seeks a new long term leader, the organisation's interim chief executive Neil Casey and his team face a tough time. Yet despite the problems, RedR-IHE has achieved some fantastic results in the face of unprecedented humanitarian need over the past few years.

Its activities in post-tsunami Sri Lanka, in Pakistan and in Darfur, Sudan ? one of the world's most troubled regions ? have helped humanitarian organisations radically improve people's lives.

But the organisation has had to expand and change to meet new needs. Merging with the International Health Exchange three years ago brought new opportunities but also new challenges.

Caulfield adds: 'We are now more committed to talking to our supporters about how their vision for the need for an engineering focused organisation fits with the needs of the humanitarian sector.

'This is an energising process and we will continue to engage with the engineering and humanitarian world to ensure that we have an organisation that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.' Antony Oliver, NCE editor and RedR-IHE trustee

RedR-IHE in action RedR-IHE Sri Lanka Learning support and capacity building programme since February 2005 to provide training in transitional shelter construction and emergency preparedness. The worsening security situation prompted the recent addition of security training for the humanitarian community.

RedR-IHE in Darfur, Sudan Programme to equip aid workers with skills to respond to and manage safety and security around its office in Khartoum since 2005. The UN recently reported a 400% rise in the number of security incidents affecting humanitarian workers since June 2004. In July 2006 alone, nine aid workers were killed in Darfur.

RedR-IHE's Security Training Programme As a result of securing grant funding of almost $600,000 funding from OFDA (part of USAID), RedR-IHE will be building upon its established security training programme.

RedR-IHE's General Training Programme RedR-IHE continues to run a range of courses for existing and potential humanitarian workers such as the one day 'So You Want to be Relief Worker' aid sector introduction course.

RedR-IHE's Recruitment and Membership Service RedR-IHE continues to handle vacancies for a large number of humanitarian agencies and has vacancies for construction engineers, infrastructure managers and water and sanitation coordinators.

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