Testimonial Edessa Ramos

HDL - Designing Strategies and Projects for Humanitarian Action Student


Edessa Ramos is a CERAH student of our new Distance Learning Certificate of Advanced Studies: Designing Strategies and Projects in Humanitarian Action. She is currently in Kampala, Uganda in a unique residential session at the Médecins Sans Frontières training centre where she is meeting the other students for the first time and the course coordinators Dr Edith Favoreu and Sandrine Delattre. Read our interview!

What is your professional background?
My professional background is diverse. I was a development worker in the Philippines, legislative consultant, academician and education executive, and now a security expert.

Why did you decide to work in humanitarian action and what is your current occupation?

I decided to work in the humanitarian sector because I recognise the dire need for effective security programs in a world that the nature of conflict and complex geo-political and social factors have put humanitarian actors at even greater risk. My goal is to develop a security paradigm that does not clash with, but rather strongly complements and abides by, humanitarian principles and standards.

My current occupation is founder and operator of a social enterprise called Strategic Edge, whose focal point is the protection and training of organisations and individuals who are deployed in high-risk environments.

How is your participation in this course important for your organisation?
By analysing the security company that had employed me, and measuring it against the principles and standards of humanitarian service, I was able to recommend solutions to the dilemmas of how this profit-oriented security firm can venture into serving the humanitarian sector.  

How can you already foresee how to integrate what you learn in your own reality?
This course opened my eyes and revealed far more than I expected; it exposed the limitations and wrongful orientation of security firms that put profit in front of people, or competition in front of complementarity. It helped me put my own reality into perspective, and that is, to develop security solutions that specifically serve the unique needs of humanitarian actors. I learned the best approaches towards effective project cycle management, context analysis, and the stakes against which we can judge our practice of humanitarian principles.

Any highlights you want to share from Kampala? How does it feel to finally "meet" the other students?
It was an astoundingly satisfying and joyful experience to meet the other students and spend time together. The days spent in the lecture hall, in the gardens, at mealtime, at the lakeside, were all very stimulating in terms of intellectual discussions, debates and reflections, but also of forming new friendships and strong networks. It contributed immensely towards building a future that we all aspire for, a future that is free from fear, want and suffering.


Edessa working with colleague in the Kampala training room

Full photo album here!