How does a seven-day earthquake simulation sound to you? Like to learn more about emergency logistics? How about the importance of information management in humanitarian logistics? Or, what about switching roles, and go from logistics student to teacher?

Across 2018 nearly 2000 people grew their skillsets, forged connections, and deepened their knowledge of humanitarian logistics.

Over 12 months the Logistics Cluster ran 101 trainings at global, regional and national levels – that’s around one training delivered every 3 days. From Yemen to Bangladesh, every 72 hours new knowledge was gained across key logistics and supply chain topics.

Participants came from a wide range of NGOs, UN agencies and government ministries. From small-scale community-based learning exercises to large-scale simulations, each training was essential in increasing capacity for a stronger response in the face of sudden emergencies and protracted crises.

While we can’t describe the whole year in training - the individual experiences of a massive 1,943 participants - or the intense learning of over 100 different programmes, below are some of the highlights for 2018…




From Juba to Erbil: Building national capacity

National level capacity strengthening is a key pillar of the Logistics Cluster strategy. In 2018, national trainings were held in 30 locations across nine countries. In South Sudan, the Logistics Cluster set itself the task of training 300 logisticians by the end of 2018, a figure it had already exceeded by September. In May alone, the South Sudan cluster facilitated six different trainings, attended by 76 people in Juba, Malakal and Rumbek – people who gained the tools and skills to better coordinate operations, and increase the efficiency of the national response.

In Pakistan and Iraq, a range of responders had the chance to take part in each country’s first national Logistics Response Team (LRT) Training. A total of 46 participants joined the two events that were built upon strengthening inter-agency response mechanisms and collaboration among national and regional humanitarian actors.


Awareness comes from information

In Rome, the global Information Management (IM) Training in March saw 31 participants act as fully-fledged IM officers under simulated intense emergency conditions, developing their abilities to provide essential support and reliable information to humanitarian logisticians. And the graduates? From Cox’s Bazar to Fiji, many have now been deployed to logistics missions and activities around the world, including Agnes, the Logistics Cluster IM Officer for the Syria operation, who this year also travelled to Indonesia in support of the Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami response.


Teaming up, gearing up

Collaboration and coordination is everything! In October, the Logistics and Emergency Telecommunications Clusters came together for gear.UP, one of the largest scale humanitarian emergency logistics  response simulation-based trainings in the world.


More than 200 participants and facilitators kept up with the high stress levels, lack of sleep and rapidly changing situation that are ever-present realities in the first few days of an emergency. The simulation mimicked these conditions precisely – in the words of participant Jeehyun, the training “went beyond what I had ever imagined.” For Information Management Officer Alex, the gear.up was the “equivalent to at least 5 years of working in the field.”

But the participants don’t have all the fun – like many other trainings, gear.UP doesn’t just build individuals’ skillsets. These trainings build networks of logistics professionals that pop up in the field, strengthening emergency coordination and collaboration in emergency response, so facilitators of these trainings gain just as much as those being trained.


From trainees to trainers

For the first time, the Logistics Cluster facilitated a Training of Trainers (ToT) programme in December offering partner organisations the opportunity to gain the skills needed to train their own staff and partners. ToT is truly one of the most sustainable ways to pass forward essential knowledge to the logistics community worldwide, ensuring that humanitarian response continues to get stronger and stronger.

As participant Jörn said: “the training provided me with all the tools and information I need. I’m excited Johanniter will be supporting Logistics Cluster’s capacity building initiatives in 2019 by sending me to trainings as a trainer and giving me the chance to pass along my knowledge. Looking forward to seeing a few of you soon!”


Keen to upskill your logistics knowledge in 2019? Check out the Logistics Cluster Training webpage to find out more.