PFA-CE Project, National ToTs

Apr 18, 2019

The aim of the EU funded project PFA-CE (Psychological First Aid and Psycho-social Support in Complex Emergencies) is to improve first aid management and psychosocial support capabilities during complex emergencies, increasing the capacity to respond to disasters in European voluntary and emergency organizations and strengthening the skills of staff and volunteers in psychological first aid (PFA) and psychosocial support (PSS). As the main project outcome generic training material for PFA and PSS in emergencies, with special focus on the role of teamleaders and the handling of spontaneous volunteers has been produced by experts from the Austrian Red Cross and the University of Innsbruck. After the generic material was produced as the main outcome of the project, it was profoundly explained in two Trainings for Trainers (Ljubljana, 16-18 Nov. 2018, Belgrade, 7-9 Dec. 2018) to five representatives of each partner country. Now, as the project enters its last phase it focusses on spreading the knowledge in each partner country even further. The activities are based on the adaptation of the generically produced training material and spreading this knowledge nationally to improve national capacities in PFA and PSS adequately. This has a significant effect on the overall project outreach.

National ToT, Italy, 21-24 March 2019

The Italian Red Cross, as active implementing partner, has held its first national Training of Trainers (ToT), held at the headquarters of the Training Center of the Italian Red Cross Bresso (Milano), from 21-24 March 2019. Aims and objectives of training:

- To train a first group of trainers able to transfer the skills acquired homogeneously in each part of the national territory;

- To improve the involvement of any affected populations in response to emergencies, thanks to the training of personnel and volunteers;

- To improve the exchange of good practices nationally, with international input from the regional experience exchange of the PFA-CE project.

Representatives from all over Italy took part in the training course, including Liguria, Trentino, Umbria, Sicily, Abruzzo, Marche, Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Campania, Puglia, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont and Tuscany. It was a great success, also calling upon a lot of attention within the Red Cross and other organizations involved in the field of PFA and PSS in Italy.

National ToTs, Croatia, 1-3 & 22-24 March 2019

From 1 to 3 March 2019 the Croatian Red Cross (CRC) organized the first Training of Trainers for 17 participants from different CRC County and City Branches in Training Center of Red Cross City Branch Osijek in Orahovica. All participants were experienced PSS experts. The main objectives of the training were:

- to enable participants to conduct basic trainings for CRC Disaster Response Teams and team leaders where they will learn practical tools for self-care, peer support and Psychological First Aid

- to learn how to prepare and educate spontaneous volunteers before engagement in disaster response

- to share experience and lessons learned from previous PSS interventions and to build a network of PSS experts for further cooperation.

During the 2019/2020 trainers will organize basic trainings for CRC County Disaster Response Teams in their local RC branch.

The same training content was presented to the participants of the Training for RC volunteer coordinators in cooperation with the CRC Youth and Volunteer Department. The training was held in the Learning Centre of Croatian Red Cross in Zagreb from 22-24 March 2019 and it was attended by 21 volunteer coordinators from 16 CRC City Branches. The main objective of the training was to improve knowledge and skills of volunteer coordinators on how to enhance activities in disaster response through better coordinated involvement of spontaneous volunteers. In addition, they gained an understanding of how to set up psychosocial support systems for volunteers as well as monitor and evaluate volunteers’ efforts.

Evaluations from the trainings showed great satisfaction with training material developed and adapted through PFA-CE project.

National ToT, North Macedonia, 22-24 March 2019, 05-07 April 2019

In the period 05-07.04.2019 in the Training Center "Solferino" in Struga, a training workshop for multipliers was held within the project "Psychological first aid and psycho social support in complex emergencies" financially supported by the European union through the Austrian Red Cross. The workshop was attended by a total of 27 representatives from the Macedonian Red Cross Headquarters, the City Red Cross of Skopje and the Red Cross Branches Veles, Bitola, Struga, Ohrid, Kumanovo, Gostivar, Kicevo, Strumica and Kriva Palanka who had the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills for activities in the field of psychological first aid, psycho social support and spontaneous volunteer management. The trained persons will be involved in conducting future trainings for volunteers and employees for acting in emergency situations.

National ToT, Serbia, 8 April 2019

In the framework of the “Psychological First Aid and Psychosocial Support in Complex Emergencies” project, on 8 April 2019 a training workshop was organised for volunteers and employees of the Red Cross of Serbia with a view to improving the capacities in this important area. The workshop covered three topics: psychological first aid, psychosocial support and help to helpers.

The participants learned about the fundamentals of psychological first aid (PFA), including humane and practical assistance and support to people affected by an emergency. This kind of aid includes both social and psychological support. Also presented was the framework for providing support with mandatory respect for human dignity, culture and all other kinds of difference and opportunities.

The second part of the workshop was about psychosocial support and its importance in building the resilience of an individual, a family and a community. The Red Cross of Serbia, as is its mission, provides psychosocial support interventions aiming at whole communities with a view to strengthening social ties between their members in times of disasters, so that psychosocial wellbeing of individuals and the community as a whole is improved. Strengthening individuals and communities is the core objective of psychosocial programmes, with a special attention paid to participatory approach. Help to helpers is an important part of psychosocial support as self-help and peer to peer help also help us take better care of others.

All the activities at the workshop were interactive, with group work, examples and practical solutions to realistic problems (for example, an airplane crash). 20 volunteers and staff participated. The Red Cross of Serbia will adapt the curriculum for the training of the volunteers in the Disaster Response teams to include the materials developed by the University Innsbruck over the course of the project implementation.