Supporting Humanitarian Aid Workers
The CBR Project helps humanitarian relief workers to combat the physical and psychological effects of the chronic stress they experience in conflict zones and natural disaster situations.
We provide knowledge, tools and peer support for aid workers isolated in refugee camps and other front-line field positions, as well as those experiencing the stress of technical or management roles in an office environment.
Designed by world experts from diverse fields
The CBR Project approach was designed by experts in trauma and mindful movement, psychologists from Doctors Without Borders and world-renowned teachers of mindfulness and meditation. The training programs integrate three tools - psychological education, meditation and yoga - to achieve the ABC of increased resilience: awareness, balance and connection.
Core to the principles of the CBR Program is to adjust to the real lives of aid workers, to provide an integrated program of psychological education, along with practical skills to take with them back to the office and the field. The learning experience continues beyond our time together in training, as our offer to the aid community we serve includes ongoing teaching, advice, online tools and peer support. Gaining access to our community can come through a variety of entry points:
- 90 Minute Stress Management Basics
- 1 Day Workshops
- 1 Year Training Programs - Beginning with a 4 Day Residential Training
90 MINUTE "IN-OFFICE" STRESS MANAGEMENT BASICS
In acknowledgement of the time and financial constraints with which aid workers and organizations necessarily struggle, our newest product offering can be delivered in 90 minutes. Clearly, the goals are entirely different from what we aim to provide over one or four days. However, with those realities understood from the outset, the feedback from our Stress Management Basics program in Jordan and the United States have very positive.
Practical Focus: We are already working with six agencies in Jordan to deliver these introductory sessions which are experiential and practically focused. The focus is on demonstrating practical tools for stress management and resilience. Our key question is practical: what can people do in a few minutes at their desk to gain awareness and respond mindfully to stressful situations?
In Offices or in Camps: These sessions have been delivered in NGO and UN headquarter offices in Amman, as well as in refugee camps and other field settings where staff are working. For more information, contact Emmett.
1 DAY WORKSHOPS - an adaption to the Syria Response
From conversations with friends and colleagues in Jordan and across the region, we know that not everyone has the time or the financing to attend - or send stressed-out colleagues to - 4 days of training away from the day to day demands of the job.
Therefore, since the CBR Project opened up operations in the Middle East in 2016, we have developed a 1 Day Workshop format to help give more people access to the basics of stress management and resilience.
Like learning to drive a car, changing behavior and coping mechanisms for stress takes longer than a day. But with access to online resources, as well as ways to stay connected to their peers from the training, we have developed a workshop which aid workers report enjoying and finding extremely helpful as a first step to changing their coping strategies.
ONE YEAR STRESS MANAGEMENT AND RESILIENCE PROGRAM
The detailed curriculum for these residential, retreat-based courses was built on fifteen years of retreat and mindfulness expertise from the Garrison Institute in New York. Founded at the Garrison Institute, the CBR Project 4 Day Training Programs have been designed and tested specifically with aid workers over the past 5 years. For details and testimonials, click here.
Continuing Support after the Training: The individual and leadership journey of each of our alumni is supported beyond our first 4 days together in three key ways:
- The CBR App: 24 access to bespoke CBR Project meditation exercises (audio), mindful movement exercises (videos), and reminders of what we learned about the psychology and physiology of stress (audio).
- 12 Months of Support: To support this continuous learning journey, the CBR Project training program includes one year of continued support. We achieve this through 12 online peer support and mentoring sessions led once per month by meditation teacher Hugh Byrne and CBR Project Director, Emmett Fitzgerald.
- Peer Support: One of the most important roles of the residential training program is to create new friendships and a safe space to address stigma and fear of open discussion. CBR alumni have access to their trusted network of peers through email contact, private Facebook groups, WhatsApp groups and other opt-in methods for staying connected.
Ambassadors: Our training programs help individual aid workers to further develop their own resilience, as well as supporting them to emerge as ambassadors for resilience, self-care, wellness and #bewellservewell principles within their organization.
Support Before, During and AFter Deployment
Individual humanitarian aid organizations have made good-faith efforts to improve staff well-being, but those in-house programs cannot achieve the economies of scale required to change the industry through significant investment in research, training programs and technology.
Critically, individual relief organizations’ staff well-being programs can only benefit current staff. As a result, new arrivals are insufficiently prepared for deployment and former staff receive no support after their contracts end—a time when relief workers often experience the worst effects of the stress they have endured.
The CBR Project can provide support to relief workers before, during and after deployment, even if staff move between organizations or take a break from full-time relief work.