Menu ENN Search

Training in the time of COVID

View this article as a pdf

Andrew Seal is an Associate Professor in International Nutrition at University College London

Carla El Mallah is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Sciences/Nutrition at the American University of Beirut and NIE course organiser

Omar Obeid is a Professor of Nutrition at the American University of Beirut

 

The Nutrition in Emergencies (NIE) Regional Training Initiative started in 2009 and, with initial funding from the Office of United States Foreign Disaster Assistance, established NIE training courses at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) in Thailand and the University of Makerere in Uganda. A one-off course was also run in Japan in 2017 in collaboration with the Network for Action against Malnutrition. The initial set up of the courses and their evaluation were described in a Field Exchange article back in 2012.1

The aim of the initiative was to establish high quality training courses that could be sustained when donor funding for staff development – which is typically rare, short term and unpredictable – became unavailable. To achieve this, host institutions planned to recoup their costs by charging fees to participants which, in both Lebanon and Thailand, was successful. Following the end of project funding, a further 12 courses were run by AUB and ADPC over the next eight years with more than 260 participants completing the face-to-face training. The COVID-19 pandemic then arrived and although no courses were run in 2020, in 2021 AUB decided to adapt and run the complete course in an online format.

The AUB corporate Cisco WebEx platform was used to run the course with individual accounts created for participants attending the course. Lectures and computer practical sessions were relatively easy to move online. Participants could engage with the presenter online and break out ‘rooms’ were used for group work and discussions. By far the biggest challenge was to adapt the day-long simulation to the online format. While WebEx could be used to create different virtual offices and some common meeting spaces such as an airport, coffee shop, camp, meeting room, etc., the role playing of characters felt much harder and the numerous person-to-person interactions that bring the usual exercise to life were hindered. Thirteen participants from six countries (Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Somalia and the USA) took part in the course with all successfully completing it.

The success of this novel format, considering both the pandemic and the broader localisation agenda, raises the question of whether online remote disaster management can be the ‘new normal’. Feedback from participants was positive and, overall, it was felt that the movement to the online platform did not compromise the quality of the training. Arguably, online simulations do capture some aspects of training better than a face-to-face experience. Also, the virtual format of the course provides the opportunity for people with limited availability to benefit from the training.

Moving forward, online training can provide opportunities to carry out human resource development at a lower cost with greater flexibility and with a reduced carbon footprint – as required under commitment two of the Climate Change Charter2. However, format changes must be balanced against the advantages of face-to-face training and the unique learning and development opportunities that this can provide. Taken together, we believe that this calls for a blended and flexible approach to augment learning in an uncertain world.

Read more...

1 https://www.ennonline.net/fex/42/experiences

2 COMMITMENT 2: Maximize the environmental sustainability of our work and rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions https://www.climate-charter.org/

More like this

en-net: Nutrition in Emergencies course at AUB, Lebanon

The American University of Beirut (AUB), in collaboration with the Institute of Global Health (University College London), will be holding, for the 8th time, the short course...

FEX: The impact of the NiE regional training initiative: the Lebanon experience 2010-2014

By Hala Ghattas (American University of Beirut), Linda Shaker Berbari (International Orthodox Christian Charities) & Omar Obeid (American University of Beirut). Hala Ghattas...

FEX: Experiences on Nutrition in Emergencies Training for Syrian refugees response in Jordan

By Caroline Abla Caroline Abla is the Director of the Nutrition and Food Security Department at International Medical Corps. Caroline has over 22 years of international...

en-net: NIE Regional Training Courses in Lebanon and Thailand

We are pleased to announce that dates for the 2015 courses on Nutrition in Emergencies have been released by both the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) and the American...

en-net: 6th Regional Training Course On Nutrition In Emergencies (NIE-6), BKK, Thailand

6th Regional Training Course On Nutrition In Emergencies Date: 10 - 21 Oct 2016 Venue: Bangkok, Thailand Climate change, conflict and global economic volatility are all...

FEX: The potential role of local academia in protracted crises – the example of the American University of Beirut

By Amelia Reese Masterson, Hala Ghattas and Fouad M Fouad Amelia Reese Masterson was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Research on Population and Health at the American...

FEX: Experiences of the Nutrition in Emergencies Regional Training Initiative

By Abigail Perry, Jessica Meeker, and Andrew Seal, UCL Centre for International Health and Development (UCL-CIHD) Abigail Perry is a nutritionist with extensive experience in...

Nutrition in Emergencies (NiE) Regional Training Initiative

Donors: OFDA Collaborators: UCL Institute for Global Health (IGH) ENN project lead: Marie McGrath Timeframe: 2010 to current Background The Nutrition in Emergencies...

en-net: certificate short courses/trainings on nutrition in emergency

hy. is there any certificate training /short course on nutrition coming up next month September, 2017 in any African countries? Hi ! I am also looking for training / short...

en-net: NIE Training Course- American University of Beirut 2019

The NiE at the American University of Beirut will take place between June 17 and 29, 2019. Please contact the course coordinator (AUB-coordinator@nietraining.net) for more...

FEX: The Lancet/AUB Joint Commission on Syria: Health in Conflictmailt

Summary of article1 Location: Syria What we know: The ongoing war in Syria has led to huge costs in terms of lives lost, with gross violations of international law and...

FEX: Public Health in Complex Emergencies course - 2007 dates

The Public Health in Complex Emergencies Training Programme (PHCE) is an internationally recognised, two-week long residential training programme conducted three times a year....

NEX: Community kitchens in Lebanon: Cooking together for health

Joyce Barakat is the Food Security Programme Coordinator at International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Lebanon. She has a BSc in Biology and Premedical Studies from...

FEX: Nutrition in Emergencies: New Regional Training Courses in Africa, Asia and the Middle East

Are you interested in learning how to protect the nutrition of populations affected by humanitarian disasters? Do you want to develop the skills to deliver the wide range of...

FEX: Institutionalising acute malnutrition treatment in Lebanon

By Linda Shaker Berbari, Dima Ousta and Farah Asfahani Linda Shaker Berbari is Country Representative at International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Lebanon and...

FEX: UNICEF experiences of the nutrition response in Lebanon

By Najwa Rizkallah Najwa Rizkallah was Nutrition Specialist with UNICEF Lebanon until September 2014, having led the nutrition in emergencies programme in Lebanon for Syrian...

2015 courses on Nutrition in Emergencies

Dates for the 2015 courses on Nutrition in Emergencies have been released by ADPC and the American University in Beirut. For further information on the 2 courses available...

en-net: Nutrition short course relevant for health workers/researchers working in developing countries

Anyone aware of a university offering a short course in Nutrition whose content will be relevant for health workers and researchers working in Africa. Please send in the...

FEX: Nutrition response in Syria: UNICEF’s perspective

By James Kingori, Dr Hayder Nasser, Muhiadin Abdullahi and Dr Khaldoun Al-Asaad James Kingori is the UNICEF Regional Nutrition Specialist for UNICEF's Middle East and Northern...

FEX: Management of hypertension and diabetes for the Syrian refugees and host community in selected health facilities in Lebanon

By Maguy Ghanem Kallab Maguy Ghanem Kallab is the health coordinator of HelpAge International in Lebanon. She holds a Master's degree in Public Health and is currently...

Close

Reference this page

Andrew Seal, Carla El Mallah and Omar Obeid (). Training in the time of COVID. Field Exchange 68 , November 2022. p4. www.ennonline.net/fex/68/traininginthetimeofcovid

(ENN_7440)

Close

Download to a citation manager

The below files can be imported into your preferred reference management tool, most tools will allow you to manually import the RIS file. Endnote may required a specific filter file to be used.