International NGO Safety Organisation



Function: Safety Advisor
Location: Somaliland
Nationality: Somali

Mubarik has worked for INSO for ten years and has two decades of experience in the humanitarian sector. He says people joining INSO can expect a fast pace and fulfilling work.

What is your professional background?

For 20 years, I’ve been working with and for NGOs, and half of that time has been in the field of security and safety management. I have held a variety of positions with other NGOs such as Base Manager, Administrator and Logistician. In the early 2000s, several serious incidents took place which I worked on. These helped me to develop the negotiation and mitigation skills that I now use every day.

I see myself as a transformational and agile leader, who is able to build relationships, manage people, and lead people. I’m able to make timely decisions – a useful trait when you work for INSO – and to be innovative, embracing experimentation and learning.

Take us through a day of your work life as a Safety Advisor at INSO – what does it look like?

No day is the same, but my routine as a Safety Advisor includes leading the colleagues from INSO’s Somaliland and Horn of Africa teams. NGO staff rely on our guidance regarding the territory and context of the country. In a single day, we might brief NGOs, provide training sessions like guard training, help our NGO partners to navigate bureaucratic constraints or problem-solve with them on issues such as security escort requirements. I’ll often be working with an NGO on crisis management or an access issue. I’m always ready to tackle whatever security challenges might arise.

What surprises you most about this role?

You need to be ready to make decisions quickly and effectively, especially when there is a significant event such as an ambush or kidnapping.  It is amazing how we work as a team to respond to emergencies.

How did you come to join INSO?

It was my experience with other international NGOs that eventually led me to INSO. I joined INSO when it was still known as NGO Safety Program (NSP) in this region. During my time, I have had various responsibilities, starting as a Field Officer and working my way up to Deputy Safety Advisor and then being promoted to Safety Advisor.

Can you tell us about a moment in your time with INSO that stands out?

In 2012, I negotiated with the local police on the practice of security escorts for foreign nationals. These negotiations took place over five years, but now international aid workers can move freely in the city during the daytime without a security escort. I’m proud to have been part of this change.

Do you have a message for someone who is considering joining INSO?

What INSO does saves lives and keeps humanitarians safe. To work for INSO, you should be dedicated and want to help others. Your quick thinking, sound decision-making and rapid response might just help to keep an aid worker safe.