Tell us a little about yourself.
Jean-Paulin has worked with INSO across three country platforms over close to a decade, before arriving in his current role as Safety Advisor in Mali.
What has your experience been like progressing through roles with INSO up to Safety Advisor in Mali?
I started working with INSO as Deputy Safety Advisor in 2014 in Bangui, CAR, and became a Safety Advisor in 2017. After two more years, I moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as Mobile Safety Advisor in Goma and then Safety Advisor Tanganyika. I joined the Mali team in 2023.
Across these three countries, there are similarities but many differences. But while it is certainly difficult to adapt to different contexts, it is not impossible. I was able to adapt each time by first accepting the change in my work environment and striving to understand the context while being open-minded. It is, therefore, necessary to be very flexible but, at the same time, curious.
Along the way, I’ve learnt that working at INSO is a great way to serve others. At the same time, I’ve realised that working as a Safety Advisor is a demanding responsibility and that the information and advice provided should really serve the partners. It is also a source of pride and an exceptional opportunity. In the end, it requires personal discipline and team spirit to meet partners’ expectations.
How did you hear about INSO and why did you apply?
When I first saw the job with INSO, I worked as a protection monitoring supervisor with an international NGO. Before that I was already in the humanitarian sector, working as a protection officer with a national NGO. These experiences had already given me the taste for collecting and verifying information and developing analysis. Well before joining the humanitarian sector, I worked as an intern in the civil service, the national social security fund and the Drug Transfer Unit as a lawyer and graduate in law and management. I also have a Master’s in Management and Business Law.
I discovered INSO through the posters at the Central African Agency for Vocational Training and Employment (ACFPE), a recruiting agency in my home country, Central African Republic. I was looking for somewhere to showcase my know-how and experiences at the time. I applied to INSO to share my experience collecting incidents and producing security analysis.
If you had to explain what you do as an INSO Safety Advisor to a stranger, how would you put it in simple words?
I contribute to humanitarian access by providing analysis, advice and recommendations to humanitarians working in the field.
Complete this sentence: “When I’m not working, you’ll find me…”
playing basketball, listening to music, or having fun with my family while I am back home on leave. I also used to read security policies and other security books!
Can you share your most memorable moment with INSO so far?
I proposed to the Area Security Management Team the plan to secure NGO bases in Bambari (CAR) in November 2018 and January 2019 during clashes between UPC combatants and the defence and security forces, supported by the Portuguese MINUSCA special forces. The plan was inspired by the previous experience in the same city between 2017 and 2018. During these two clashes, I directed my team to join their family safely, and we were able to avoid further incidents.
Take me through an average day as a Safety Advisor. If I was with you, what would we do, who would I meet, what challenges would we face?
The daily life of a Safety Advisor being about monitoring, briefing and orientation, I would start with a safety briefing on the city where we are working. Next, we will discuss the main threats to the city and mitigation measures. We would share our experiences related to security and relate these to the current context.
Later that morning, we will meet with humanitarian partners working in the area to get their impressions of the working environment and their different challenges.
We’d also expect different opinions and issues because not all NGOs work in the same areas. Thus, they do not have the same opinion and the same impression. We would necessarily have to face the unexpected to which we will have to adapt or adjust.
What motivates you in your work?
What motivates me is INSO’s place within the humanitarian community as an organization providing analysis and advice, which makes it unique. I am also motivated by the feeling of being useful to the humanitarian community when I do analyses, send alerts or advise partners on access in their area of intervention. The team’s professionalism, the rigor in the mode of operation, and the challenge of doing better and improving day by day, are also part of my motivations.
What is your top tip for someone who wants to work as an INSO Safety Advisor?
From the first, it is important to know that INSO is a different organization from other NGOs because of its mandate and mission, which are specific. It is therefore important that as a new Safety Advisor, you must adapt to how INSO operates and its various products. Flexibility is required to better integrate with INSO and meet the challenges.
INSO is an organization that opens its doors to all. Everyone can find their place at INSO when they love safety analysis, field research and surpassing themselves. I strongly encourage all those who would like to try the adventure within INSO not to self-censor.
Tell us a little about yourself
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