Acceptance as a Security Risk Management Strategy in Haiti
Acceptance is one of the pillars of aid security risk management (SRM). An acceptance strategy ensures access to populations in need while ensuring duty of care for staff and the protection of assets. A good acceptance strategy builds on effective relationships to cultivate and maintain consent from beneficiaries, local communities, local authorities and community leaders. It also includes engaging as far as possible with threat actors to avoid, prevent, or mitigate potential dangers in order to ensure access to vulnerable populations and undertake programme activities.
This document provides a list of practical steps that can be taken to develop acceptancebased security risk mitigation measures in Haiti. It draws on NGO experiences in developing an acceptance-based security risk approach in Haiti and elsewhere.
1. The context: the security situation for aid agencies in Haiti
Aid agencies operating in Haiti face numerous significant and interrelated security challenges that hamper efforts to deliver aid effectively and present considerable risks for staff. The country has existed in a permanent state of political instability since 2004 that has undermined the rule of law and weakened the authorities’ ability to maintain control.
Powerful and politically connected gangs have taken the opportunity to entrench their power over significant areas of the country. Many of these gangs are directly involved in kidnappings and extortion that affect aid operations. The destruction and devastation caused by a series of devastating natural disasters, including earthquakes and destructive storms, have increased humanitarian needs in a country facing many other challenges that require long-term development aid.