It's a dead end baby (Andrew Mason/flickr)

Debunking the “Social Age”, a dead end for humanitarian leadership practitioners

Reda Sadki Thinking aloud

“And I can see no reason why anyone should suppose that in the future the same motifs already heard will not be sounding still … put to use by reasonable men to reasonable ends, or by madmen to nonsense and disaster.” – Joseph Campbell, Foreword to The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, 1969 Humans are social beings. If there is one constant in our experience, this is it. Of course, the tidal waves of digital transformation are reshaping the cultures of how we learn, share, communicate, and grow. But this constant remains. Claiming that our entry into a “Social Age” is the key to grappling with change is akin to clamoring that we are entering a new “Age of Transportation”. There are obviously new means such as electric cars. But to try to understand what is changing – and how we can learn, grow, and lead to harness change – through such …

Aboard the USS Bowfin (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States of America). Personal collection.

Implementation of guidelines, officially

Reda Sadki Global public health

This is everything that the World Health Organization’s Handbook for Guideline Development says about implementation.  Implementation of a guideline should be taken into account right from the beginning of the guideline development. Implementation is generally the responsibility of national or subnational groups, which explains why their participation in guideline development is critical. WHO headquarters and regional and country offices can support implementation activities by promoting new guidelines at international conferences and providing guideline dissemination workshops, tools, resources and overall coordination [emphasis mine]. Implementation strategies are context-specific. The basic steps for implementing a guideline are: convene a multidisciplinary working group to analyse local needs and priorities (looking for additional data on actual practice); identify potential barriers and facilitating factors; determine available resources and the political support required to implement recommendations; inform relevant implementing partners at all levels; and design an implementation strategy (considering how to encourage theadoption of the recommendations and how …

USS Bowfin diving plane control levers

From guidelines to impact

Reda Sadki Global public health, Thinking aloud

Most global public health organizations issue guidelines that are of a high methodological quality and are developed through a transparent, evidence-based decision-making process. However, they often lack an effective, scalable mechanism to support governments and health workers at country and sub-country level in turning these into action that leads to impact. Existing activities intended to help countries build public health capacity carry potential risk for these organizations, as they rely on high-cost, low-volume workshops and trainings that may be characterized by startling disparities in quality, scalability, replicability, and sustainability, often making it difficult or impossible to determine their impact. In some thematic areas, stakeholders have recognized the problem and are developing their own frameworks to improve quality of training and improve capacity-building. A few stakeholders are experimenting with new capacity-building approaches to empower local actors and strengthen the resilience of communities. The global community allocates considerable human and financial resources …

Sunrise Over Cape Yamu Phuket Thailand Panorama (Kim Seng Suivre/

3 critical questions for the new Humanitarian Leadership Academy

Reda Sadki Events, Learning strategy

This morning, I’m looking forward to the London launch event for Save The Children’s Humanitarian Leadership Academy, touted by the Guardian as the “world’s first academy for humanitarian relief” that “may revolutionize” the sector. I ask the following three questions as a sympathetic observer: the Academy’s focus on the learning need for improved and scaled capacity in the face of growing humanitarian challenges is spot on. Now comes the execution. Is the Academy a platform or a hub? There are two possible roles for the Academy: as a connector, hub or platform for others and as a platform of its own (developing and delivering its own content). They certainly can overlap, but then how will the Academy both collaborate and compete for limited resources with already-established specialized training organizations? Is it a knowledge broker, catalyst, and connector – or an implementer? How will Save The Children – which has invested so much in the launch – …