Welcome Cohort Four! BRAC USA, Jake Konig

The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program seeks to develop a robust pipeline of leaders who possess not only subject matter skills and expertise, but also the soft leadership skills needed to succeed in the workplace, and who understand and value the importance of collaboration for humanitarian and development organizations to increase effectiveness throughout the sector. 

This year the Coalition ushers in the next cohort of Fellows. Jake Konig is one such Fellow joining Coalition member BRAC USA, an organization whose mission is to empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and social injustice.

Read on to meet Jake and learn how he will plug into BRAC USA in order to grow as a future humanitarian leader over the course of his fellowship. 

WHAT WILL YOUR ROLE BE AT BRAC USA? 

I will be supporting the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative as it works to empower the world’s extreme poor. In addition, I will be supporting humanitarian efforts as BRAC serves the Rohingya in the Cox’s Bazar camps in Bangladesh.

WHAT ABOUT  BRAC USA’S MISSION APPEALS TO YOU? 

BRAC USA, being a part of the wider BRAC family, tirelessly works to create a world free from all forms of exploitation and discrimination. It is also where everyone has the opportunity to realize his or her potential. This is the exact mission I am passionate about aligning myself with as I move forward in my career as a development professional.

YOU ARE A PART OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF HUMANITARIAN LEADERS. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO LEAVE A MARK AT BRAC USA? 

I plan to continue providing value at BRAC USA through supporting the sector’s best and brightest development professionals as they work on an innovative initiative with the end goal of ending poverty in all forms, everywhere.

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

Charting a Path in International Development

Sara is an alum of the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows. In this blog, Sara reflects on her fellowship placement and where she is now in the humanitarian space.

Hello! My name is Sara Owens and I was a fellow with the Hilton Prize Coalition in 2018 working with HelpAge USA. I currently work with FHI 360 as a Program Associate on the Sports, Cultural, and Youth Exchanges team. FHI 360 is a global development nonprofit in Washington, DC and there are several teams that work with the US Government to organize and administer a variety of international exchange programs.

After I graduated from the University of Missouri in May 2017, I was lucky enough to find an HPC Fellows placement with HelpAge USA, a nonprofit in Washington, DC that advocates for the rights of older people within the humanitarian framework. I found that my experience with HelpAge USA was extremely beneficial to my professional and personal growth. After graduating, I was eager to be a part of an organization where I had the opportunity to learn about the many facets of international development and nonprofit management in general. Our small team at HelpAge USA gave me the freedom to have a hand in several different projects, which helped me greatly to cultivate my interests.

Through additional funding made available by the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program, I was given the opportunity to extend my time at HelpAge USA and take on more responsibility there. I was able to gain skills in grant writing, fundraising, program management, research, communications and marketing, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to name a few. My additional time with HelpAge USA allowed me to enhance my knowledge of international development programming and nonprofit management; and helped me further my qualifications for securing a full-time position after the fellowship ended.

Furthermore, the Hilton Prize Coalition offered educational webinars and trainings on topics such as humanitarian aid, program management, and professional development. Completing these trainings added to my list of qualifications and led me to a better understanding of the international development sector. Through the Fellows Program, I also gained access to a large network of peers who share an interest in international development and professional growth.

I joined FHI 360 in the fall of 2018 where I have been able to put the skills learned during my fellowship with HelpAge USA into practice. My team’s work at FHI 360 brings people from across the globe to the United States for cultural exchange programs with the goal of promoting international diplomacy and peacekeeping worldwide. I am able to work with hundreds of people a year who are passionate about improving their communities and being change-makers among their peers. 

I feel fortunate to have started my career with HelpAge USA and the Hilton Prize Coalition. The skills I gained working with these organizations has set me on a path towards continual professional growth that I will carry with me throughout my career.

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Welcome Cohort Four! The Task Force for Global Health, Stephen Seungkwon Kim

The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program seeks to develop a robust pipeline of leaders who possess not only subject matter skills and expertise, but also the soft leadership skills needed to succeed in the workplace, and who understand and value the importance of collaboration for humanitarian and development organizations to increase effectiveness throughout the sector. 

This year the Coalition ushers in the next cohort of Fellows. Stephen Seungkwon Kim is one such Fellow joining Coalition member The Task Force for Global Health, an organization whose mission is to improve health conditions for vulnerable populations around the world, especially people living in poverty.

Read on to meet Stephen and learn how he will plug into The Task Force for Global Health in order to grow as a future humanitarian leader over the course of his fellowship. 

WHAT WILL YOUR ROLE BE AT THE TASK FORCE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH? 

I am working to support the development of a new learning strategy for the global Field Epidemiology Training Program community.

WHAT ABOUT  THE TASK FORCE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH’S MISSION APPEALS TO YOU? 

I am passionate about the work The Task Force for Global Health does because of their noble vision: To keep the world safe from disease by increasing countries capacities to detect and respond to disease threats, expanding the global health workforce, and building relationships between ministries of health and other partners. There is an emphasis on building local capacity, training, collaboration and knowledge exchange.

YOU ARE A PART OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF HUMANITARIAN LEADERS. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO LEAVE A MARK AT THE TASK FORCE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH? 

I plan to leave a mark here by learning from current leaders to gain the necessary skills to lead strategies of the future. I am convening meetings with current SMEs and supporting the learning strategy that will provide a platform for future knowledge exchange and provide a guideline to ensure quality programs and core competencies for graduates entering field epidemiology.

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.



Research’s Role in Disease Elimination: My Experience at TFGH, Alumni Blog

Henry Emisiko is an alum of the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program. In this blog, Henry reflects on his fellowship placement and how it has positioned him as leader in the space. 

As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, I offered technical support in neglected tropical disease (NTD) control efforts in Kenya and beyond. Through The Task Force for Global Health, I was thrilled to be placed at a leading research center in Kenya, The Eastern and Southern Africa Centre for International Parasite Control (ESACIPAC), situated at the Kenya Medical Research Institute-KEMRI.

Given that I had pursued a career in research science, it was fulfilling to get a chance to apply the techniques that I had learned. A leading center in capacity building and training, ESACIPAC offered me a unique and unmatched opportunity to diversify my skills.

From vector control to school-based de-worming programs, I have gained a unique perspective on the various approaches and interventions needed to achieve NTD elimination.  Not only am I involved in diagnostics with real human samples and troubleshooting the development of new diagnostic techniques, but I am also involved in other NTD projects at the laboratory level such as environmental surveillance of Soil Transmitted Helminthes (STH) and monthly meetings in which the center reviews new research proposals spanning all aspects of NTD control.

At the laboratory level, I am working with a team of experts from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a supportive team of scientists and technologists to analyze over 50,000 samples in the Onchocersiasis study from countries including Burundi, Malawi, and Kenya. We are carrying out the OV16 SD and AP ELISA for Onchocersiasis and the Biplex RDT tests for both Onchocersiasis and Lymphatic filariasis. Logistical planning and communication is key in the handling of samples at different stages entailing sample tracking, sorting, storage, retrieval and result data management. As the first major study to attempt mapping of these two diseases in the region, we were responsible for scaling-up and optimizing these procedures for large-scale diagnostics.

From testing 40 to 200 samples per day to eventually becoming responsible for communicating with collaborators and maintaining data, I have grown throughout my time on this project. As an experienced member of the lab, I am involved in orienting and training students on testing techniques and good lab practice.

Additionally, thanks to training received from the Hilton Prize Coalition on project management, our collaborators from the CDC enlisted me to train a group of technologists from Ethiopia on these techniques. Altogether, this experience has allowed me to grow as a leader and prepared me for future work as a technologist and trainer.

Throughout my fellowship, I have developed at a personal and career level and learnt the expectations and responsibilities entailed in such a work environment. With the supportive team and pool of mentors, I have been able to expand my scientific knowledge and research skills. I feel challenged to work even harder and handle even larger research projects.

To conclude I am very grateful to the Hilton prize Coalition, Task Force for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and KEMRI-ESACIPAC for the opportunity to learn and work in the field of research.

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Micronutrients Offering a Macro Perspective: HPC Fellow, Allie King, PATH

Allie King is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with the Nutrition Innovation team at PATH. At PATH, she is contributing to a publication on rice fortification in India and reflecting on the importance of government support of public health initiatives in her blog. Read on to learn about her placement as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow.

My time spent working in clinical hospital laboratories and witnessing our ever growing population of sick people is what originally fueled my desire to pursue a career focused on supporting foundational aspects of health. For me, the most logical progression to this objective was pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition and training to become a Registered Dietitian.

In my first year of graduate school, I delved deep into individual, community, and country-wide health and nutrition concerns. But, a gap in my studies emerged when I realized just how little I knew about global health and malnutrition. When I found PATH, an international non-profit health organization working to accelerate progress in global health systems and technology, I was intrigued to explore nutrition on a much larger scale. My time spent at PATH vastly broadened my worldview and knowledge of the globalization of food systems. My fellowship turned out to be exactly what I needed to take my education and career to the next level. On the Nutrition Innovation team, I was fortunate to witness and take part in the teamwork and collaboration required in striving for a more nourished and healthy community worldwide.

As a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow on the Nutrition Innovation team at PATH, I researched and co-authored a journal publication on rice fortification, using data from a case-control study conducted in the Gujarat state of India. Specifically, my research focused on government mandated rice fortification, implemented through the midday meal program (a social safety net program in India), and its potential to address anemia and poor hemoglobin status as well as improve cognitive function and school attendance in children.

Currently, millions of people in India suffer from chronic malnutrition where an estimated 75% of women and children are micronutrient deficient. Malnutrition and stunting in childhood coupled with concurrent micronutrient deficits negatively impact human growth and development. And, while rampant micronutrient deficiency continues to be a pervasive threat to global health, staple food fortification offers a cost-effective approach with next to zero noticeable changes for consumers. Specifically, food fortification has demonstrated the ability to improve measures of health such as physical endurance, cognitive function, and biomarkers including hemoglobin and various serum levels of micronutrients.

So the data shows that food fortification helps people access vital nutrients to improve health outcomes…. seems simple right? While the scientific evidence demonstrates fortification’s benefits to tackling the issue of malnutrition, an equally challenging and important task is ensuring these foods are available and affordable for impoverished, undernourished populations.  My time spent at PATH highlighted the need to promote this technology and improve access to nutritious food through government mandated programs, as this is the most successful channel to reach those with the greatest need. Government support of social programs that utilize fortified foods have the benefit of positively impacting nutrition and health at a population level.

From my fellowship, I have gained a greater appreciation for the degree of quality research and time required to promote progress in our food systems and address malnutrition globally. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to contribute to the growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of food fortification through social safety nets and government initiatives. Supporting our worldwide effort for better health outcomes and a brighter future for our children is possible through the evidence-based, systems level approach of organizations like PATH. I am so thankful to PATH and the Hilton Prize Coalition for providing me the opportunity to enhance my professional skills and further my education.

(Photos courtesy of PATH. Photo features a child given oral rehydration solution with a spoon in a health center in Kampong Thom province in Cambodia.)

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

The Vulnerable Youth of Nicaragua Take the Road to Recovery Through Music and Sports: HPC Fellow, Andrea Cornejo

Andrea Cornejo is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow working with Casa Alianza Nicaragua. At Casa Alianza Nicaragua, Andrea enriched her professional and human experience through assisting staff in the recovery process of the vulnerable youth in Nicaragua. Read on and learn about her placement as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow.

I am a young Nicaraguan woman who graduated from a Jesuit university in industrial engineering many years ago. During my time at university, I participated as a volunteer in 2 projects: the chapel´s university choir and Chateles, a project that coordinated university students to offer school support to children from at-risk neighborhoods once a week. Now it appears very coincidental how both music and children support cross again on my life journey.

In June of 2019, I started my fellowship in Casa Alianza Nicaragua, an organization which mission is to protect and advocate for children, adolescents and youth who face difficulties due to issues of homelessness, drug consumption, early pregnancy and who have been victims of neglect or violence.

Thanks to the Hilton Prize Fellows Program, I have assisted the Development Director in many tasks including fundraising, mapping and updating a potential donor’s database, contributing to proposal writing, the elaboration of project´s final or mid-term reports for external donors and, occasionally, English-Spanish translations.

This experience has enriched my professional skills in proposal writing which are transversal and can be applied to various types of organizations. Also, along the possibilities of professional development is the human experience which will most likely end with the highest marks from my fellowship. These months have broadened my perspective on the social issues that affect the vulnerable youth of my country.

During my time as an HPC fellow at Casa Alianza, I have been touched by the commitment their educators and their staff had towards their mission and the resilience of the youth once they have been given an opportunity to recover and heal.

I had the opportunity to accompany staff and adolescents in three environments: the residence for adolescents, the residence of teenage mothers and children and the streets −­specifically one of the main city markets− where a special team identify and visits youth at risk, usually in situation of homelessness and/or drug consumption, to engage them and eventually get them to integrate to Casa Alianza´s program.

This last experience really demonstrated how important it is to offer accompaniment to youth, and how ludic activities developed with respect and open minds and hearts can make a difference for the day or for the life of our most vulnerable youth.

My experiences at Casa Alianza made me value its approach to guide and support the process of healing and recovering of youth. This is unique in the country as they integrate the use of sports, music and other forms of arts.

During my time with young mothers, they expressed how much they were enjoying music lessons.  I also witnessed teachers and student’s drive and amusement for sports.  Thanks to Judy, an American athlete who runs a NGO and who is long-time friend of Nicaragua and Casa Alianza I knew first-hand how far and how big the impact of a dedication to sports can mean for adolescents such as the ones Casa Alianza serve.

It brought me great satisfaction that I could contribute in writing a grant proposal directed to get the funds to support music and karate lessons for adolescents in both residences. These are not just extra-curricular activities but an important part of the day-to-day for teenagers. These moments can make a positive difference in their everyday lives, as they may forget theirs worries and be in the present. In the long-term, music or sports can become a passion or profession that will help them for the rest of their lives. Also, they would help them in developing a positive, healthy lifestyle, a positive community of friends or colleagues and potential source of income. It has been a privileged experience -specially under the current sociopolitical crisis impacting Nicaragua- to be able to help an organization such as Casa Alianza Nicaragua in searching and securing the necessary funds to maintain their core program and the services they provide to the youth, including music and sports lessons. Their service to our youth is more necessary now and contributes to build the hope for a better future in Nicaragua. 

(Photos courtesy of Casa Alianza)

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Welcome Cohort Four! HelpAge USA, Jerrold Keilson

The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program seeks to develop a robust pipeline of leaders who possess not only subject matter skills and expertise, but also the soft leadership skills needed to succeed in the workplace, and who understand and value the importance of collaboration for humanitarian and development organizations to increase effectiveness throughout the sector. 

This year the Coalition ushers in the next cohort of Fellows. Jerrold Keilson is one such Fellow joining Coalition member HelpAge USA, an organization that wants everyone who reaches old age to have a healthy, safe, and secure life.

Read on to meet Jerrold and learn how he will plug into HelpAge USA in order to grow as a future humanitarian leader over the course of his fellowship. 

WHAT WILL YOUR ROLE BE AT HELPAGE USA? 

I am working with them to conduct a donor landscape analysis, and develop advocacy materials in support of their mission.  

WHAT ABOUT  HELPAGE USA’S MISSION APPEALS TO YOU? 

There are two aspects to their mission that are of interest. First, they work with a neglected population, extremely vulnerable in humanitarian crises, and often under-served in non-crisis situations. Second, all people have a right to age well, and HelpAge is raising visibility around that issue.

YOU ARE A PART OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF HUMANITARIAN LEADERS. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO LEAVE A MARK AT HELPAGE USA? 

My hope is that my work will enable HelpAge USA to expand its programming support.

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.



Welcome Cohort Four! ECPAT International, Subha Nivedha

The Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program seeks to develop a robust pipeline of leaders who possess not only subject matter skills and expertise, but also the soft leadership skills needed to succeed in the workplace, and who understand and value the importance of collaboration for humanitarian and development organizations to increase effectiveness throughout the sector. 

This year the Coalition ushers in the next cohort of Fellows. Subha Nivedha is one such Fellow joining Coalition member ECPAT International,
a global network of civil society organizations combating all forms of child sexual exploitation.

Read on to meet Subha and learn how she will plug into ECPAT International in order to grow as a future humanitarian leader over the course of her fellowship. 

WHAT WILL YOUR ROLE BE AT ECPAT INTERNATIONAL? 

As a legal intern, I support the Research and Policy projects with the legal aspect. I draft country overview reports and support other legal research and policy initiatives.  

WHAT ABOUT  ECPAT INTERNATIONAL’S MISSION APPEALS TO YOU? 

The mission to end sexual violence against children. Their commitment to specifically address the issue at different levels with altered methods resonates with my expectation out of my professional career.

YOU ARE A PART OF THE NEXT GENERATION OF HUMANITARIAN LEADERS. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO LEAVE A MARK AT ECPAT INTERNATIONAL? 

I intend to look at the legal framework focusing on the prevention of sexual violence against children and contribute with precise drafting to further the mission. I bring a diverse background to addressing the issue which I believe gives me a chance to look at things with a fresh perspective.

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. The Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Cultivating Compassion on World Mental Health Day

This article originally appeared on the CHS Alliance website.

The CHS Alliance sits down with David Addiss, Director of the Focus Area for Compassion and Ethics (FACE), at The Task Force for Global Health, to find out what the development, humanitarian and global health sectors can learn from each other to make our workplaces more compassionate.

 


CHS Alliance focus group discussions have found that aid workers experience high rates of debilitating work-related stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, exhaustion and alcoholism. Have you noticed similar trends in the health sector?

Yes, the field of health care is experiencing epidemic levels of stress, burnout, job turnover, and even suicide. Within the United States alone, an estimated 300-400 physicians commit suicide every year. In the field of global health, which includes large-scale public health programs, we are seeing similar trends.

We’ve heard that one way to address this problem is by equipping health care organisations to be more compassionate to their staff. Why do you think compassion is so important?

Well, compassion is an important part of the healing process. We all want compassionate care when we are sick and vulnerable.  There is now plenty of literature in the public realm that documents how compassion is good for patients, for health care workers, and for health care organisations.

Mature compassion arises from a sense of shared humanity and solidarity. Among health care workers, this kind of compassion actually protects against burnout. It enhances a sense of well-being, purpose, and connection with patients. Yet, compassionate care cannot be sustained by individuals alone – it must be valued and lived on a daily basis by entire organisations. Health care organisations must become compassionate systems that recognise and value the central importance of compassion for both patients and staff. Commitment of the entire organisation is needed so that staff can better serve those they ultimately work for – their patients.

Can you tell us why you decided to get involved in this line of work?

Nearly 20 years ago I left my job at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for The Fetzer Institute, a foundation that funded research on the psychology and neuroscience of compassion.  What struck me then was how infrequently I had heard that word – compassion – in global health. There, we tend to think of ourselves as rational scientists: we base our policies and decisions on data, reason, and objective metrics. Yet in unguarded moments over dinner, when I asked my former CDC colleagues to tell me why they did this work, they invariably grew quiet, visibly softened, and whispered, “care”, “compassion,” or “love.”  I became curious. What was it that prevented us from speaking publicly about the very values that we shared, which inspired and motivated all this work? 

I got a taste of the change that talking about compassion could bring when we at The Task Force for Global Health organised a symposium on compassion at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. This is a major scientific conference and we didn’t know if anyone would even attend our session.  But once we opened the space for discussion, the lines at the microphones grew longer and longer – eminent scientists sharing their heartfelt stories of what drew them to the field, of the compassion and joy that animated their work.

As you know, the CHS Alliance are initiating a project on cultivating compassion in aid organisations. We found your recent paper, “Staff Wellbeing and Sustainable Engagement in Humanitarian Organizations“, full of useful examples of best practice and resources. Can you provide a few concrete suggestions that aid organisations could try to increase compassion in their work?

Yes, this was a collaborative effort between The Task Force for Global Health and Heifer International.  Myself and the co-authors – Deirdre Guthrie and Leslie Leonard – invited all recipients of the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest annual humanitarian award, to participate in a survey on stress, burnout and resilience. Deirdre also conducted a series of interviews with CEOs, HR directors, and frontline staff from Hilton Prize-receiving organisations.  Interestingly, the primary factors respondents identified as contributing to burnout were related more to unsupportive working environments than to the intense nature of the work itself.  

The interviews highlighted the importance for organisations to develop thoughtful policies that reflect their own values and needs, and that address specific tensions that contribute to stress. Examples interviewees provided include:

  • a clear endorsement of self-care by the organisation’s leaders;
  • regular communications and trainings on stress and burnout;
  • monitoring and ongoing support to detect early warning signs of burnout;
  • easy access to psychological and other support when needed.  

More generally, we and others in this field have found that a key feature of a high-performing organisation is that conversations about stress and burnout are normalised, and that peer, professional, and organisational support are readily available.

The CHS Alliance works to strengthen quality and accountability in aid, and to put people affected by crisis at the heart of what we do, by implementing theCore Humanitarian Standard (CHS). The CHS addresses staff well-being in aid organisations through Commitment Eight of the CHS.

The actions of staff are the foundation of each of the Nine Commitments of the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS).

Commitment Eight of the CHS is that communities and people affected by crisis can expect assistance from competent and well-managed staff and volunteers. The Quality Criterion for this is that staff are supported to do their job effectively and are treated fairly and equitably.  Organisational Responsibility 8.9 is that policies are in place for the security and well-being of staff.

According to the CHS Guidance Notes and Indicators:

  • Staff often work long hours in risky and stressful conditions. An agency’s duty of care to its workers includes actions to promote well-being and avoid long-term exhaustion, burnout, injury or illness.
  • Managers must make aid workers aware of the risks and protect them from exposure to unnecessary threats to their physical and emotional health. Measures that can be adopted include effective security management, preventative health advice, active support to work reasonable hours and access to psychological support when required.
  • Managers can promote a duty of care through modelling good practice and personally complying with policy. Aid workers also need to take personal responsibility for managing their well-being. Psychosocial support should be immediately available to workers who have experienced or witnessed extremely distressing events.

How does this compare to efforts in the global health sector?

Wow – you in the humanitarian sector are further along than we are in global health at developing sector-wide policies and language to address these issues. I particularly appreciate how Commitment Eight is framed within an ethic of “duty of care.”  We do have a duty to care for ourselves, our colleagues, and our employees, as well as for the people who we are trying to serve.

We at the CHS Alliance are incubating a new initiative, drawing on the guidance in Commitment Eight, to explore how to cultivate caring and compassionate aid organisations.In other words, how can we apply humanitarian values to ourselves and each other as well as the affected populations we serve. The CHS and our work on compassion is valuable for global health organisations too. What are your hopes for the initiative?

What you’re doing at CHS Alliance is very exciting – and it is so needed! It’s great to see work to implement Commitment Eight of the CHS. This initiative should also help to weaken the heroic narrative that has become so much a part of both humanitarian and global health work. And of course we are always the heroes in those narratives! When we accept that humanitarian values apply to all of us, including ourselves, we can drop that heroic narrative and enter into relationships of solidarity and compassion. It’s amazing how many people are exploring what it means to live compassionately and intentionally as individuals and organisations.  But we are often working in isolation.  We can learn so much from each other!

Find out how you can get involved with CHS Alliance’s work cultivating compassionate aid organisations.

Learning from the Fellowship: My Experience at HelpAge USA, Alumni Blog

Anna Russell is an alum of the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows. In this blog, Anna reflects on her fellowship placement and where she is now in the humanitarian space. 

When I first heard of the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellows Program, I was a graduate student at George Washington University. I had met Susan Riker, the Director of Partnerships and Development at HelpAge USA, at a thinktank event in DC. Thanks to Susan’s outgoing personality, we quickly clicked and started sharing about our mutual interest in global health and aging populations. After several more meetings, she encouraged me to apply for the Hilton Prize Coalition fellowship, so that I could join HelpAge USA. I won the position and started working with HelpAge USA in March 2016.

HelpAge USA is the US affiliate of HelpAge International – the only nonprofit organization in the world concerned with addressing the needs of older populations in developing countries.  Working with the small US office turned out to be a fantastic opportunity for me. I was able to get involved in almost every aspect of the organization – planning conferences, writing grant applications, and editing progress reports for donors.

However, Susan knew of my interest in monitoring and evaluation – after all, it was the degree I was working toward in grad school – so, she found M&E work for me where she could. So, together with other stakeholders from across the countries where HelpAge works, I developed a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) learning platform. This platform allowed people across different countries to share best practices, lessons learned, and build their knowledge of M&E. Now that I have worked for several other organizations, I can see even more clearly how needed this type of platform is. Too often, silos appear due to geography, focus area, or just because collaboration is usually more complicated than solo work. Through this platform, HelpAge USA truly invested in the breaking down of silos to ensure that all of the stakeholders connected to HelpAge could learn from each other to better serve aging populations.

Additionally, Susan and the rest of the HelpAge USA staff helped me to network and to find opportunities after the fellowship. They connected me to people within the global health space, wrote letters of recommendation, and have supported me at every opportunity. I have felt immensely supported by HelpAge – not only during the fellowship but also in the years afterward.

Now, several years after the fellowship, I am working at the CDC in the Division of Global HIV/TB. I have designed an M&E curriculum, disseminated ideas and tools between PEPFAR-supported countries, and assessed the utilization of evaluation findings in PEPFAR-supported countries, continuing the work of breaking down silos and building evaluation capacity that I started at HelpAge.

Just as I have used the skills and technical abilities that I started learning at HelpAge for the rest of my career, I learned several critical lessons at HelpAge that I have carried with me to every job since.

  1. Be an Initiative Taker: Thinking creatively and being an independent worker will take you far. In my fellowship with HelpAge, sometimes there would be lots of things to do but nothing assigned directly to me. I would ask Susan if I could get involved with something, and then I would make sure to follow through (this is key!). My initiative and follow-through allowed them to give me more responsibilities as time went on.
  2. Be an Enthusiastic Coworker: Sometimes, especially early in your career, you will have projects that don’t perfectly align with your long-term interests. That’s okay! It is essential to be enthusiastic and put your best foot forward no matter what project you are assigned. At HelpAge, I worked on a lot of things that I had no experience in, and it often felt overwhelming, but now, having worked in so many different areas, I find I have a better understanding and appreciation for various divisions and tasks involved with running a global NGO.
  3. Be an Observer: The fellowship may be a person’s first foray into global health like it was mine. I spent a lot of the fellowship observing and learning from people around me. How did they prioritize their different work responsibilities? What kind of information was imperative to make decisions? How did they write an effective email?!  Learning from the other HelpAge staff, even when they weren’t officially teaching me, was critical to gaining an understanding of working in global health.

My fellowship at HelpAge USA helped me become the global health practitioner that I am today. The fellowship set up the foundation for my career and was a launching pad to my current opportunities. I am incredibly grateful for the fellowship and hope to continue using these lessons wherever I end up next.  

About the Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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