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Ops update – pre-planned international operations

Director of Field Operations Oz Lane recently blogged about our progress with regional expansion in the UK. Oz is back with the latest from TRUK Ops.

In this edition I want to concentrate on pre-planned International Operations.

From this January we have been attempting to put together a year-long programme of deliberate pre-planned operations. This has been from a relatively standing start which has been resource intensive. To reduce the challenge next year and generate increased activity we are looking for as many of these to be on a rolling basis as possible.

Here’s what’s been done so far:

TR worked in Nepal in 2016 to rebuild a school and restore infrastructure

Nepal (Summer & October/November). The recce team that deployed in February came back with two projects. One is a return to Lapubesi to renovate the hydro-electric station damaged in the last earthquake and to finish the school we helped build. The deployment is triggered when the village complete some enabling work. The commitment will be small with only six Greyshirts deploying for one week. The second gig is in October/November and is really exciting. It involves delivering disaster preparedness training in support of the national disaster management plan. We will focus on West Nepal and partner with The Gurkha Welfare Trust, Brigade of Gurkhas Nepal and Serve On. This is likely to involve fifteen TR personnel over a fortnight.

Uganda (14 June – 16 July). A partnership with Feed the Hungry to build eight school kitchens within an UNHCR and Office of the Ugandan PM refugee camp for S Sudanese displaced persons. We had seventy applications and had a miserable time picking twenty-four individuals to deploy. Due to the nature of the task we wanted a strong representation of females (one third), a good spread of civilians with veterans (9/24) and those with no previous operational experience (15/24) to build the experience base. We also identified some key skill sets which combined unfortunately led to some really capable volunteers not being picked this time round. We will though credit those who didn’t go if they volunteer for another Op.

Haiti (July). We are in discussions with potential partners to do something in July. Likely tasks are: 1) capacity building with local disaster responders, 2) re-wiring Haiti Communitere – NGO hostel and a combined project with another NGO. This is going to be planned and executed alongside Team Rubicon Canada.

Philippines (15 August – 1 September). A collaboration with Salisbury College, Serve On and DentAid. The recce goes out on 29 May to refine the tasks but the aims at present are to: 1) renovate a school decimated by Typhoon Haiyan, 2) conduct dental clinics and training and 3) capacity building with the premier Philippine disaster relief agency. The calling notice for volunteers went out on Friday and we will look to select by no later than the end of April.

Sudan (December). Support to the David Nott Foundation’s training of Sudanese medical professionals. We are still working to define location (i.e. Sudan, Uganda, etc) and scope of the task. However, this is likely to be a relatively small in size.

The other related bit of work has been finding opportunities to embed Greyshirts into other organisations operations. Very recently we deployed two Greyshirts for a month into DentAid’s mission in Greece. A Greyshirt has pro-actively found a potential Op for Greyshirts assisting a charity that helps pooches. This is also in Greece and the advert for this will be going out soon. The quantity of US domestic Ops is also an opportunity we want to exploit. The hold-up is finding a solution to the Trans-Atlantic flight costs but we are working on it.

So, if Ops is your “thing” I would say we are steadily building up the opportunities outside of just reacting to an unforeseen disaster. If you are wondering “how do I improve my chances of getting picked?” my top tip is to get involved.



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