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Safeguarding Your Mission: Effective Risk Management in Challenging Environments

A Four-Step Approach for grantmaking organizations and NGOs to managing risk in hostile environments

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31 May, 2023 3 pm CET

Working With Risk

An increasing number of development NGOs, human rights, and civil society activists experience aggressive actions from opposing groups, individuals, or host governments. Legal restrictions or SLAPPS, surveillance spyware, verbal attacks, hate speech, and physical threats against assets and personnel resulting in a shrinking civil space that requires an answer.

Grantmaking organizations and NGOs providing field support in these areas may bear responsibility for and have the means to improve the security and well-being of their staff and those they set out to assist. This is not limited to a case-by-case or ad-hoc basis in emergencies. There is a clear need to invest strategically and over time to deliver the most in creating a secure and resilient civil society.


Risk Management in Four Steps

Responding to threats begins with raising risk awareness. The next step is understanding what types of resistance you can face in your work and projects. Some risks can be obvious, but many are covert and indirect. Only a structured approach can help you find your appropriate spot on the scale between paralyzing risk avoidance and amateurish carelessness.

The risk spectrum is broad and contextual. There is reputational risk, financial risk, data protectionT related risk, physical and psychological risk, to name a few. Once you know your risk profile, you can effectively prepare for mitigating your threats. The objective is to know what to do both organizationally and individually when a scenario becomes a reality. You need to research and monitor the landscape of actors and actions, prepare coping strategies tailored to your region and circumstances and break them down into protocols.

Risk management is not a paper-based exercise only. Strategies, protocols, and action plans only help to protect when implemented. The final and crucial step in threat management is training. The most effective training is in-person, experience-based, and includes modelling real-life situations where people can practice what they learn in theory.


Join a FREE, live webinar

Learn about risk management in four steps, key types of aggressors and defenses against their actions. During a

90-minute online event, answer questions on increasing your security and well-being and get a strategic view and practical advice about your vulnerabilities. The live webinar will be followed by a course for field staff running legal, technical, and physical risks. The webinar will be facilitated by security field experts of the Justice for Prosperity Foundation (JfP) and Pivot Brigade. This webinar is recommended for grantmaking organizations and CSOs operating in challenging, risky environments, such as LGBTQIA+, human rights, and environmental groups.



Register for the 31 May, 2023 3 pm webinar here: 


The Organizers

Justice for Prosperity Foundation (or JfP) is a Dutch NGO that puts tools for protection in

the hands of ordinary citizens. Anti-democratic actors and activities threaten ordinary people. JfP investigates, exposes, predicts, and defends against these threats. We prevent and prepare when it is quiet and support during and after tumultuous times. JfP has strengthened LGBTQIA+ and women’s rights and supported (political) activists, journalists, Human Rights Defenders, NGOs, and refugees through knowledge-building and training. Applying decades of experience in intelligence, international security, and diplomacy at the UN level, they put our ethics and morals over profit to help protect our democracies. The foundation has recently trained and supported SRHR professionals from Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, and Yemen as they face fierce opposition and threats while working in hostile environments.


Pivot Brigade is a training and consulting company based in Budapest, specializing in assessing and mitigating various risks for organizations working in adverse contexts. Our client list includes Amnesty International, LGBTQIA+ advocacy organizations, the Open Society Foundations, the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, and for-profit enterprises. Our background is in psychology, sociology, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and intelligence gathering and analyzing. Our in-house experience includes serving as the head of the EU LEX mission in Iraq (2011 – 2013), working as a security advisor in Kosovo, and grant-making as a director at the Open Society foundations.

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