Projects Europe

Senior Emergency Learning Programme (SELP)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | Sep 2019

The SELP exercise control room team debrief the responses by the 4 SELP participants.

InterWorks conducted a Senior Emergency Learning Programme (SELP) from 15-19 September 2019 at the German Civil Defense (THW) training school in Neuhausen, Germany. This event was the pilot of a new training design for the SELP under which the 2019 cohort of SELP Senior Emergency Corporate Roster (SCER) rosterees who participated in a policy review-oriented workshop earlier in the year attend the Workshop for Emergency Managers (WEM) to conduct a 3-day field simulation with the WEM teams as their SCER-deployed Emergency Team Leaders (ETLs).

The newly-developed field simulation exercise for the SELP blended role plays and direct intervention in the WEM field simulation scenarios with an expanded “in-box” exercise in which the SELP participants reacted to telephone, email, and face-to-face injects from various counterparts in the larger and more political emergency response arena than those that the WEM participants experience. Simulated requests and demands from various stakeholders were initiated by a 5-person “SELP Control Room Team” of senior managers who had expressed particular interest in the exercise design. This control room team played the roles of UNHCR Representative in country, Director of DESS, DIP, DER, UNHCR PI and international media, UN Resident Coordinator, local government representatives, donors and other stakeholders using prepared prompts and individual follow-up messages dependent upon each ETL’s response or approach.

In preparation of the exercise, both SELP participants and members of the control room team were asked to take (or review) an MBTI style survey on-line and to consider the effect of their personal profile on their leadership habits, likely strengths, and challenges. Participants also completed a small-scale self and peer 360 review of their leadership competencies using the current 7 delineated UNHCR leadership competencies with 3 colleagues familiar with their leadership style and approach. These were reviewed before the simulation exercise. The ERT teams also debriefed their ETLs on how they experienced their leadership during the field simulation in small facilitated feedback sessions led by the control room team members.

It was a useful training. It is a refresher on what high intensity situation looks like and also contextualizes individual and team reactions also in relation to personality traits.

– Workshop participant.
SELP Emergency Team Leaders receive their team’s plan from the WEM participants.
A SELP participant negotiates with role player representing the UN Resident Coordinator in the field.