BBC Dodges Bullets On WFP Training Course

You don't normally expect an information and communications technology expert to be adept at avoiding snipers and detecting mines. But if you're an ICT operative for WFP, these things are part of your skill set, as two BBC journalists found out.

ROME -- After a disaster has struck, WFP’s information technology experts are usually among the first people on the ground. Their job is to get communications up and running as quickly as possible so that emergency relief operations can work effectively.

WFP's ICT unit organises courses to prepare staff for work in some of the world's most dangerous and challenging environments. Two BBC journalists recently went along to see what it was all about. Here's their report: Technology in the line of fire

Global partners for communications

The partnership between WFP, the Vodafone Foundation and the UN Foundation was set up to create an ICT Humanitarian Emergency Platform at the service of the whole ICT community, including UN agencies, NGOs and other partners. 

Mines and sniper attacks

In the course participants learn skills such as avoiding mines, dealing with a sniper attack and staying alive if they are kidnapped. They also have to negotiate a sort of obstacle course set up by army trainers. At the end of the course one of the BBC journalists admitted to being physically and emotionally "exhausted".

WFP's IT Emergency Coordination Branch organises the training twice a year in Pisa. The IT Emergency Preparedness and Response Management Training is funded by our Global Partners for Communications: the Vodafone Foundation and the UN Foundation 

WFP ICT rapid response teams can be dispatched to emergencies with the equipment necessary to get communications up and running within 48 hours. In between crises, the crews travel to WFP's operations, providing the necessary technical support and continuous upgrading of the ICT network.