Food for the Hungry works in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. While we cannot ensure absolute safety, we do everything we can to minimize the risks that staff and visitors face. We know that God is our strong tower and refuge. Matthew 6 illustrates God’s care for the birds and the lilies and the grass on the field. At the same time, He assures us that we are much more valuable than them. We don’t need to worry or be afraid because God is our protector. However, He also has given us wisdom to plan carefully in order to minimize potential risks to our safety and well-being.
The key to your safety is listening to your team leader and the Food for the Hungry staff in your host country. Listen to all instructions and always stay with the team. Don’t consider rules to be optional, or you will put yourself and your team at risk. The FH staff are well aware of the situation in your host country.
Each Food for the Hungry field should have a Standard Operating Security Plan (SOSP) on file that is updated annually. If something were to happen during your visit, this is the plan that will be followed to ensure a safe evacuation of staff and team members.
Abduction and Ransom
In the event of a hostage situation, Food for the Hungry will make every effort to work with the appropriate authorities to facilitate release of captured people. However, Food for the Hungry maintains a no-ransom policy in dealing with terrorists or abductors. To give in to their demands would only jeopardize the safety of others.
Just like when traveling in any city in the U.S., there is always the possibility for petty crimes in places where your host may take you to shop or visit. Here are some preventive measures to consider when traveling or visiting tourist spots:
- Always know where you are going and act accordingly. Radiate confidence, yet be discreet and unassuming. Avoid pulling out maps in public places as it immediately identifies you as a visitor.
- Tourist areas are a magnet for criminals. Avoid looking like a tourist – you don’t want to attract attention to yourself and stand out in such a way that makes you an easy target for pickpockets. Bringing a camera to the host country is not a problem. Just don’t show it off when you’re in large crowds.
- Thieves often work in pairs, using distraction as their basic ploy. Be alert in crowded areas.
- Carry only a small amount of money and wear a cheap watch so that should a thief asks you for them, you can part with them easily. Do not put all your cash in one bag or pocket, but divide it up into different bags.
- Keep an eye on your luggage and possessions when in transit. Don’t leave your bag and assume that someone else will look after it.
- Carry a list of emergency names, addresses and phone numbers just in case you get separated from the group. All team members should receive this list upon entering their host country.
- Carry a photocopy of your passport (keep a second copy at home). If you carry the original, disguise it with a slip-on cover.
- Do not hesitate to call attention to yourself if you are in danger.
- Airport security is often tighter in developing countries. This is not a place to play around. Do not take pictures when going through customs.