Rapid Response Team

What is the Rapid Response Team?

The Global Nutrition Cluster’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) is a partnership between the Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) and five GNC partners. The purpose of creating the RRT is to increase the capacity of the GNC to support cluster coordination and information management functions through rapidly deployable Nutrition Cluster Coordinators’ (NCC) and Information Management Officers’ (IMO) technical capacity in humanitarian situations. This enables timely and coordinated response which then ensures improved emergency nutrition interventions.

The RRT consists of six experienced nutrition professionals with proven technical skills as well as nutrition expertise. Three of them are Nutrition Cluster Coordinators and three are Information Management Officers. The funding for RRT members are currently provided through Programme Cooperation Agreements with the following partner agencies: Action Against Hunger International, International Medical Corps, Save the Children United Kingdom, World Vision International and UNICEF with financial support from ECHO.

For more information please consult information flyer [pdf].

Duration of an RRT deployment

The RRT members can provide dedicated surge capacity to any country clusters based on the deployment criteria and are deployable within 72 hours (depending on visa procedures). Emergency field deployments are normally up to 8 weeks, with possible extension for a period of up to 12 weeks. It is the responsibility of the country office to organise for and recruit a longer-term NCC or IMO.

RRT member roles

The GNC RRTs are deployed in one of the following capacities:

Nutrition Cluster Coordinator (NCC):

  • Failitate / support nutrition cluster coordination processes at national and sub-national levels;
  • Coordinate identification of needs, responses and gaps; for nutrition cluster;
  • Facilitate the development of a nutrition cluster emergency response strategy;
  • Engage key stakeholders from governments, national or international NGOs, UN agencies, and donors in the above mentioned activities;
  • Coordinate nutrition partners to ensure that gaps are being identified and filled and overlaps are minimised;
  • Provide technical guidance / coordination for nutrition cluster partners on the key technical nutrition intervention domains.

Information Management Officer (IMO):

  • Management of information on nutrition needs, responses and gaps;
  • Timely and accurate reporting amongst cluster partners;
  • Production and dissemination of information products (e.g. needs and activity summaries, maps of interventions and gaps, cluster website and contact lists).

Criteria and priority for RRT deployment

The RRT members can deployed for:

  • A declared L3 emergency;
  • Rapid onset emergency or rapid deterioration of pre-existing situation;
  • Threat of forecast of L2 or L3 emergency;
  • Unpredictable and sudden loss of CC/IM capacity;
  • To strengthen underperforming CC/IM platforms.

What are the costs associated with a deployment of RRTs?

All assignment related costs, such as travel to the country and accomodation are covered by the PCA with partner agencies. UNICEF/Host country office will not pay any costs, except in-country travel and R&R (if applicable).

What about support for UNICEF’s own emergency CP response?

The RRT is not expected to support cluster-lead agency or host agency specific interventions. Support for UNICEF’s own response can be sought from the Regional Emergency and Nutrition Advisor, NYHQ, staff on mission from other UNICEF offices, other Standby Agreements, and external recruitment.

Does a contract need to be issued?

No contract needs to be issued. Terms of Refernce (ToR) must be provided with the initial request, and the RRT personnel must be fully accommodated within the country operation (Official UN/Agency ID card; assigned supervisor; included in the organisational chart and security arrangements; induction briefings; necessary equipment and transportation). Generic ToRs are available to facilitate the development of specific ToRs.

How to request an RRT member

A Request Form [doc] and a ToR should be provided for every request. All requests should be copied to the following people:

  • Ms. Lauren Cheshire
    Emergency Specialist
    Tel. +41 22 909 5258
  • Ms. Josephine Ippe
    Global Nutrition Cluster Coordinator
    Tel.  +41 22 909 5678
    Mob. +41 79 920 4315
  • Mr. Ayadil Saparbekov
    Global Deputy Nutrition Cluster Coordinator
    Tel.  +41 22 909 5051
    Mob. +41 79 384 7560

RRT documents and templates

RRT meetings and conference calls

The first inter-cluster RRT Retreat for all UNICEF-led clusters and ToRs was held in June 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. The report [pdf] summarises the main agreements and recommendations from the RRT Retreat. It points to the next steps needed to develop more harmonized Rapid Response Teams across Education, Child Protection, WASH, Gender-Based Violence & Nutrition.

The second RRT Retreat was held in June 2015. The report will be published here as soon as it is available.

Starting from the meeting after the RRT Retreat in June 2013, RRT members, respective host agencies and GNC-CT conduct monthly conference calls to discuss current issues and to decide on RRT deployment.

RRT evaluation

The evaluation of the support provided by the GNC to national platform primarily looked at the functioning of the rapid response team (RRT), which is the part of the overall Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) support to the national nutrition coordination platforms under the Pillar 3 of the GNC Strategic Plan. The evaluation’s objective was to assess, systematically and objectively, the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, connectedness, coverage and sustainability of the GNC RRT support role to countries in L-3 emergencies and chronic crises, and the relationships with the partners hosting the RRTs. It provided analysis and recommendations to assist the GNC-Coordination Team (GNC-CT) and the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) in making concrete improvements for providing support to national platforms with the most focus on the surge support mechanisms. The secondary focus of the evaluation included analysis of the broader GNC-CT operational and surge support to country coordination platforms.

The evaluation covered the period March 2012 through September 2014, comprising the full period during which the GNC RRTs were deployable. Qualitative date collection and analysis was conducted using select OECD-DAC evaluation criteria. Interviews with forty-two key informants was conducted and complimented by an extensive desk review.

What other support can be requested?

Standby Arrangements is a collective term of a global system, complementing UNICEF staffing in emergencies. Standby Arrangements include the signing of a general Standby Agreement between UNICEF and a number of external Standby Partners. This cooperation implies that staff in various areas can be made available to support UNICEF’s field offices operating in emergencies. Therefore, the value added of the Standby Arrangement system is that it enables UNICEF to deploy skilled and experienced professionals rapidly, almost free of charge and with only limited effort from the requesting office.

When requesting Standby Personnel, the following criteria should be met:

  • The requesting UNICEF office is operating in an emergency;
  • UNICEF is unable to meet additional staffing requirements with its own resources within the time constraints;
  • The technical capacities of existing staff are inadequate to respond to the emergency;
  • The services of Standby Personnel are only required for a short period of time (3-6 months).

More information on standby arrangements can be found on UNICEF Intranet.


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