FAQ

Q: What kind of organisation is INSO?

A: INSO is an independent NGO (non-profit) registered in the United Kingdom.


Q: Do NGOs have to pay for INSO's services?

A: No. All INSO services are 100% free of charge and are only available to eligible NGOs. INSO is a non-profit making organisation.


Q: Who can join INSO?

A: INSO  is only available to other non-profit, non governmental organisations conducting humanitarian operations in accordance with the Red Cross Red Crescent Code of Conduct.

 

Q: Can National/Local NGOs join INSO?

A: Yes, INSO is available to all humanitarian organisations, national or international. We welcome and encourage national NGOs to join and have special services such as training specifically dedicated to your needs.

 

Q: Can I join INSO as an individual?

A: No, INSO is only available to organisations who determine the employees they want to register for our services.


Q: How many members does INSO have?

A: INSO currently has more than 1,040 organisational members worldwide.


Q: How does INSO decide where to work?

A: INSO only establishes safety platforms at the request of the NGOs operating in the country.


Q: Will INSO work in any country?

A: We primarily work in areas designated as severe humanitarian crisis with some degree of active conflict/insecurity and a large humanitarian community. If you think there could be a need for INSO in the country where you are working please get in touch with us.  


Q: How do NGOs request INSO's support?

A: INSO just needs to receive a written letter of invitation from 6 - 10 NGOs operational in the country.


Q: What are the benefits of an INSO platform?

A: There are many but in the main INSO improves inter-NGO information sharing and coordination which enhances situational awareness and enables humanitarian access.


Q: Does INSO suport humanitarian principles?

A: Yes. INSO is a recognised signatory to the Red Cross Code of Conduct for NGOs in Disaster Relief and is deeply committed to its principles.


Q: Does INSO provide information to the media, government or armed groups?

A: No, never. INSO provides services exclusively to NGOs and these are strictly confidential.  

 

Q: Who funds INSO?

A: INSO is funded by humanitarian donors like ECHO, SDC & DFID. See our Funding page for more.  

 

Q: Who started INSO and why?

A: INSO was started by the former Director of the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) which was the worlds first NGO safety platform. INSO was started to make sure that NGOs in other conflict-affected contexts could benefit from having a safety platform.


Q: Does INSO provide physical safety services?

A: No, INSO does not provide any kind of physical protection services. INSO only provides information, analysis and advice for NGOs. INSO applies a strict no weapons policy.


Q: I heard that INSO cannot operate without a host. Is that true?

A: No. INSO is an independent NGO that operates on its own. We do not need a host. Sometimes we partner with other NGO at the donors request.


Q: Is there any other organisation like INSO?

A: No. INSO is the only NGO in the world that is focused exclusively on the establishment and operation of field level NGO safety platforms.


Q: I want to work for INSO. Do I need to have a military or security background?

A: No. INSO employees come from a variety of backgrounds. Above all we value your ability to understand and report on a context and work in small close knit teams under tight deadlines.


Q: Does INSO co-ordinate with the United Nations (UN)?

A: Yes. INSO co-ordinates with the the United Nations under the Saving Lives Together framework with the aim of ensuring that NGOs have access to as much information and assistance as they can get.


Q: Do NGOs have any say in what INSO does?

A: Yes. Each platform is overseen by a volunteer Advisory Board that works closely with INSO to decide on what services are needed in the context and then to monitor our performance.


Q: How long does it take for INSO to start a platform?

A: Timelines vary significantly country to country depending on local registration requirements. The quickest so far has been 3 weeks the longest has been 6 months.


Q: What is the difference between INSO and other field safety platforms?

A: INSO is an independent NGO that specialises in operating safety platforms. Other platforms are projects (with no legal personality) hosted by another operational NGO (hosted model) or embedded inside a coordination platform (embedded model).


Q: How many NGO safety platforms are there in the world?

A: As of June 2016, there are 13 safety platforms in the world eleven (11) of which are operated by INSO and two (2) embedded inside coordination forums.


Q: Does INSO cover emergencies?

A: Yes. INSO has mobile teams that are available for rapid deployment however building a humanitarian safety network takes time.


Q: Does INSO ever experience difficulty in registering in a country because of its mandate?

A: Nothing that is specifically related to our work. We only face the same issues as other NGOs trying to operate in the same context. We uphold very high levels of transparency in our work and relationships and have been able to legally register in every country we operate.


Q: Why doesn't INSO ask NGOs to pay for its services (cost recovery)?

A: NGOs do not charge beneficiaries for their services. We also believe that cost recovery efforts would unfairly penalise smaller, often local, NGO that need our services the most.


Q: Don't INSO platforms undermine NGO own capacity and create dependencies?

A: No. INSO platforms support NGO's to plan and operate more strategically by improving the evidence base for decision making.