OCHA and Deloitte Team Up to Strengthen Humanitarian Leadership

When disasters strike, effective humanitarian leadership is critical in saving lives. In October 2012, Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) from more than 20 countries participated in an innovative leadership summit at Deloitte University’s new leadership centre in Westlake, Texas.

Recognizing that strong and strategic leadership is vital, OCHA, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and Deloitte LLP (Deloitte U.S.) joined forces to strengthen the humanitarian sector’s ability to prepare for and respond to crises.

“In a crisis situation, effective humanitarian leaders can make a difference in reducing loss of life and destruction of livelihoods so that communities and economies can recover more quickly,” said Dave Pearson, DTTL Chief Sustainability Officer.

“It’s during periods of crisis that leaders emerge and can have the greatest influence. We believe in preparing our people and member firm clients for these moments through custom leadership development experiences,” he added.

At the OCHA and Deloitte Leadership Summit for HCs, HCs were encouraged to disconnect from their day-to-day environment, reflect and learn valuable leadership lessons from each other.

The summit was designed with Kaisen Consulting, a team of business psychologists. The programme drew on demonstrated psychological research about how senior leaders learn.

“This was a highly personalized development programme, underpinned by the real experiences my peers and I face in the field,” said Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, HC for Yemen. “[the experience] sharpened my abilities to efficiently assess the big picture and create a shared purpose, which will help me influence, motivate and inspire partners.”

After the summit, OCHA, Deloitte LLP and Kaisen continued to coach and support the HCs. They will also support the HCs’ annual retreat in Montreux, Switzerland, in May 2013, with a one-day leadership summit follow-up session. Discussions are ongoing as to how DTTL and the Deloitte network can engage further and more widely to support the humanitarian community.

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Humanitarian Coordinator, Ndolamb Ngokwey, participates in a food distribution programme in the north of Côte d’Ivoire. © ONUCI