OCHA Peer Helper Network

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Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to introduce the OCHA Peer Helper Network which is part of OCHA’s Duty of Care expanded network, aiming to enhance support to OCHA staff in the field who might be impacted by hazardous events associated with their work.

The network is currently composed of 34 staff (32 of them are national staff) in different duty stations.   The main role of the Peer-Helper is to provide assistance and psychological first aid to staff.   All Peer helpers have signed a ‘confidentiality agreement’ and have acquired basic helping skills for supporting colleagues. In addition to a 5-day training, capacity building in their helping role is ongoing. All of them are supervised by the OCHA Welfare Office. Any report of breaching confidentiality should be addressed to sierralta@un.org.

CURRENT DUTY STATIONNAME
AfghanistanIsmail Amn
AfghanistanMohammad Haroon Qadery
AfghanistanAhmad Shakeb
Central Africa RepublicAmonran Baigo
Central Africa RepublicPrisque Aubierge
Central Africa RepublicAlbertina Gaziamodo
Central Africa RepublicSandra Ouombet
Central Africa RepublicPetula Malo
Central Africa RepublicEternel Sangate
Egypt (Cairo)Sherif Arafa 
EthiopiaMalda Nadew
Gaziantep (Turkey)Emine Seda Kiroglu
IraqBayan Ameen
IraqKhadim Shawqi Pirdawd
LibyaNaserddin Dekakni
NigeriaKeren Ariweriokuma
NigeriaUche Njoku
PakistanSaliha Asif
Pakistan Uzma Haq 
PanamaBlanca Bravo
Regional Office in NairobiHelen Masibo
Somalia (based in Nairobi)Linda Onyango
Somalia-basedAbdirahman Hassan Abdulle
Somalia-basedDelphine Vakunta  
South SudanJoyce Asha Francis Laku
South SudanJohn Gatluak
South SudanPeter Micha Awuga Wata
SudanNasir Mohamed Abdalla
SudanSarah El Rasheed
SyriaJihan Doukar
SyriaMajd Sebaai 
UkraineOleksandra Yudina
YemenEaman Al-Ahnomi
YemenSaleh Alzaghari

Happy International Mental Health Day!

The Peer Helper Role and Responsibilities are to:

  • Facilitate the development of a supportive, harmonious work environment.
  • Provide emotional and social support to staff and their immediate family members.
  • Identify and liaise with available local resources and maintain a working relationship with these resources.
  • Meet with the staff member on a one-to-one basis on request by the staff member or his/her supervisor.
  • Offer a listening ear to the staff member or his/her family member who wants to vent in a safe environment thanks to the PH’s willingness to listen without criticism or judgement.
  • Intervene in case of traumatic incident, liaise with the Staff Counselor when needed, and provide initial support for affected colleagues.
  • Motivate and refer distressed staff to seek professional support, when helpful.
  • Provide guidance to managers on creating a supportive work environment.

The Peer Helper is trained to:

  • Listen actively to staff or dependents who seek help.
  • Give the staff member undivided attention while in the support process.
  • Show empathy and understanding.
  • Help staff to clarify thoughts and feelings.
  • Help staff to consider options, decisions and solutions.
  • Refer to further support when personal boundaries are challenged. Some situations will be beyond the Peer Helper qualifications. In that case the PH may request to refer his/her case to Staff Counsellor. A key principle of the Peer Helper Network is to protect the confidentiality of personal information revealed to the Peer Helpers.

The Peer Helper is NOT trained to:

  • Act as professional counsellor.
  • Take responsibility for other people.
  • Give personal advice.
  • Provide solutions.
  • Provide unlimited time and effort.
  • Judge another person.
  • Give material or financial support.

Confidentiality:

  • ALL conversations with a Peer Helper are confidential.
  • Referrals by management remain confidential; the Peer Helper will not disclose information with anyone without that person’s written consent.
  • In case the staff member requests the Peer Helper to disclose confidential material s/he must sign a specific authorization form.
  • The Peer Helper will avoid participating in the office gossip.
  • Confidentiality may be broken by the Peer Helper only in case of life-threating situations or criminal intent.
  • Peer Helpers are trained, technically supervised, guided and supported by the staff counsellors.
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