Aid agency merger will help improve humanitarian efforts around the world

HR professionals in the voluntary sector have welcomed a merger between two
aid agencies that provide staff to work in humanitarian emergencies such as
Iraq.

The merger of the International Health Exchange (IHE), which specialises in
health professionals, and RedR, which concentrates on engineers, logisticians
and managers, will provide charities with a ‘one-stop shop’ for recruiting and
training aid workers.

Annie Macklow-Smith, director of HR for the aid agency Merlin, which uses
both IHE and RedR, said the new organisation would help meet recruitment needs
in the sector, which is gearing up to meet the post-war humanitarian crisis in
Iraq.

"Engineers and health professionals are the people we recruit most, so
to have them together is an advantage," she said.

Oxfam’s director of international HR, Andrew Thompson, agreed the merger
would allow a more integrated approach to humanitarian work.

Bobby Lambert, director of RedR, told Personnel Today that the two
organisations were providing very similar services but with different groups of
staff.

Each maintain registers of professionals prepared to work in emergencies and
deliver training programmes for aid workers.

"By merging, we become a one-stop shop for agencies, as well as for aid
workers who want professional development," he said.

The skills of health workers and engineers were complementary, he added.

"If you look at Basra, the thing that affects health almost immediately
is water and sanitation. That’s where you need both engineers and health professionals
working together."

The merger comes as both organisations struggle for funds. Each has a
variety of funding streams, including the Department for International
Development, smaller grants and training fees. But many small agencies are
cutting their training budgets as they come under pressure to keep down
management overheads.

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