Information overload. Faltering communication lines. Emotional responses. In a crisis situation, managers can add to the chaos, or decrease it. Professionals in a crisis situation need to be able to build their response on existing systems, that have been tested and practised with, strategically, tactically, and operationally.
From September to November, Clingendael Academy worked with the Defense Institution Building School (DIBS) of Georgia to build skills in crisis communication and crisis management. In addition, the programme focused on building Georgian security sectors’ capacity to design, develop and deliver effective crisis management training itself. To this end, Clingendael and Georgian trainers worked together to showcase and develop relevant case studies, role-playing exercises, and simulations.
After a 4-day training on International Crisis Management by Clingendael for some twenty security sector professionals in September, a handful was selected for a Training of Trainers programme in October. In it, trainers were coached to design and deliver newly developed training materials to a fresh audience in a third programme in November.
The programmes covered a variety of crises, both man-made or natural. They also trained a variety of skills, at a variety of levels: from recognising and identifying the source of a cyber-attack, to coordinating successive press statements on flooding. From dealing with the political and security ramifications of a plane crash to coordinating the police response to escalating ethnic tensions, to establishing successful information management in a crisis management team’s earthquake relief efforts. Participants used analytical, communicative and coordination tools and techniques in these exercises, that were written by Clingendael trainers as well as by the Georgian trainers from the ToT. In the final training, Georgian trainers also took the lead in facilitating participants’ reflection on the exercises developed.
Finally, Clingendael contributed training that was matched to the Georgian-developed cases, on how to coordinate and negotiate effectively in a crisis situation. Here too, a Georgian-developed and facilitated role play was included, based on earlier scenarios.
Together, the three modules not only provided some forty professionals in the Georgian security sector with additional crisis management skills, but also led to new training products and enhanced capacity to design, develop and deliver this kind of training themselves.
This co-creative process represents another highlight in the ongoing cooperation between Clingendael and DIBS, which is set to continue until November 2021.