The UK aid-funded Humanitarian and Stabilisation Operations Team (HSOT) has published their fourth annual report. It tells the story of the team’s work over the past 12 months and the positive contribution it made in the face of challenges and change.
HSOT provides the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and, to a lesser extent, other Government departments, with capacity and specialist expertise to effectively respond to disasters, crises, and complex emergencies around the world.
From Mozambique to Afghanistan, Haiti to Ukraine, Yemen to Bangladesh, HSOT responded to 26 different global crises to meet populations’ humanitarian needs and restore stability in fragile and conflict-affected states over the past year.
HSOT’s core staff of over 70 members worked across 63 countries, providing high-calibre humanitarian, procurement and logistics, stabilisation, security, and operations expertise. The team also includes over 900 ancillary humanitarian and stabilisation consultants that can be deployed to UK Overseas Missions.
Delivering Positive Impact in a Challenging Year
“Despite a challenging year marked by COVID-19, the need to work flexibly to support the vision of the newly created FCDO and a backdrop of revisions to the UK aid budget, we are proud to have delivered 696 interventions, including both team’s deployments to FCDO posts worldwide and remote advisory,” explains HSOT Interim Director Julian Neale. “These provided FCDO teams with technical expertise and field experience, bringing together policy objectives and priorities into tangible advice.”
“We have assisted more than 133,000 crises-affected people worldwide, providing them with over 157,000 essential items such as emergency shelters, hygiene and kitchen kits, and solar lights.”
Over the past year, the world has also faced an aggravation of protracted crises and conflicts that HSOT has helped the UK to mitigate. In Mozambique, they supported nearly 70,000 people affected by the impact of cyclone Eloise and an Islamist militant insurgency. In Afghanistan, the team strengthened the UK’s ability to swiftly set up a humanitarian response and contributed to the strategy of UN agencies and partners on key issues such as upholding the rights of women and girls.
Throughout the year, HSOT continued to provide policy advice to the UK and influence the international agenda. This ranged from successfully advocating for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in fragile contexts and the inclusion of gender-based violence prevention in G7 commitments to increasing the role of local actors in humanitarian response. They also pushed humanitarian innovation in areas such as water, sanitation and hygiene, displaced people’s camps management and safeguarding against sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in supply chains.
The team has continued to work in fragile and conflict-affected states. In Mali, they established a platform managed by Palladium that takes care of staff’s safety and security once deployed, supporting the UK Government in its efforts to restabilise the country. This model could be replicated in other contexts where the UK Government’s presence is limited, strengthening its ability to provide humanitarian and stabilisation aid.
“The team’s agility and the integration of our services across the board, to ensure that our offering is greater than the sum of its parts, enabled us to continue to provide a top-notch service,” adds Neale. “An example of this has been the integrated approach to identifying, sharing and applying learning, which has not only allowed to continuously improve our work, but also support the learning initiatives of the FCDO.”
Against a backdrop of challenges and uncertainty, HSOT’s drive to constantly adapt, innovate, and improve their work (and the wider sector) has allowed them to maximise the value of UK taxpayers’ money and the positive impact on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Download the HSOT Annual Report and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.