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The purpose of hostile environment awareness training is to prepare individuals working in fragile, insecure or hostile environments for the security risks they may face. Since 2008, the Headington Institute has partnered with leading humanitarian organizations to develop a model of HEAT which is considered by many to be best practice and the current duty of care standard. This model follows the principles of high fidelity stress exposure training and has been empirically shown to be the best method by which to teach the kind of preparedness and skill needed to operate in high intensity situations. Through the integration of psychological and security training, with practice in highly realistic scenarios, these humanitarian organizations best prepare employees deploying to high risk environments to not only avoid but also to survive a hostile security event should it occur.
In our partnerships, HEAT training incorporates issues of gender security as part of a range of critical awareness training. Gender security is addressed throughout the week-long course in the classroom as well as in field based training that include enactment of gender based violence scenarios. At all points, participants are monitored to ensure that the training does not exceed acceptable levels of stress. Many of the participants are survivors of previous incidents of GBV. It is particularly crucial that they receive the psychological support needed to ensure that the training does not result in re-traumatization. Training, practice of coping mechanisms under conditions of escalating stress, self-reflection, and individual and group debriefing give participants a range of knowledge and tools to better prepare them to handle GBV should the need arise.
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