Proactive Presence - building on a theme


All of Fieldview Solutions' early projects emerged from single a guiding idea that had been encapsulated in Liam Mahony's 2006 book, "Proactive Presence: Field Strategies for Civilian Protection." That short but powerful study showed that field staff working in conflict zones have unique protective capacities that are seldom adequately taken advantage of. Our objective from that point forward - whether through research, advocacy or training - was to tenaciously push on every front to improve the way that international organizations were using their field presences to secure better protection for people in need. 

That book opened many doors, leading to a series of complex projects aimed at strengthening these capacities - through UN agencies such as OCHA, OHCHR, DPKO, and WFP, government-based agencies like the Folke Bernadotte Academy, and many humanitarian and human rights NGOs. 


Proactive Presence, published by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue


Proactive Presence

Liam Mahony's three-year research study: Proactive Presence, Field strategies for civilian protection, funded and published through the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue analysed the strengths and weaknesses of unarmed international field missions in their ability to provide effective protection to populations at risk. The project examined the broad variety of ways a mission can creatively leverage its presence in the field to moderate and weaken a repressive dynamic, both by challenging the logic of the abusive acts themselves and through understanding, respecting and supporting local initiatives.

Nine international missions were studied, with field trips to Colombia, Sri Lanka and Sudan together with extensive meetings with experts familiar with past missions. In total, 270 individuals participated in individual or group interviews, including government officials, armed group representatives, civil society members and representatives of international agencies and INGOs involved in protection. 



United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs/ProCap training

Even before the Proactive Presence study was completed, the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) approached Mr. Mahony and asked him to help to design a 6-day training for its new "Protection Standby Capacity"(ProCap) program. The training aimed to better prepare field protection staff for deployments with a range of UN protection-mandated agencies, including UNHCR, OCHA and UNICEF.

Since its initiation in 2006, the ProCap training has been delivered over 35 times to over 900 field protection officers. From 2009-2015 Fieldview's Liam Mahony and Roger Nash were lead trainers for the program, and designed most of the content. These trainings continue to be held several times a year. 









United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Immediately after publication of the "Proactive Presence" study, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) approached Liam Mahony to incorporate the key lessons into the OHCHR Manual on Human Rights Monitoring and Protection. The lessons of Proactive Presence were tailored to better fit the reality of the human rights field officer, and merged with existing OHCHR best practices guidance to create a stronger manual for the future of human rights field operations. Mr. Mahony assisted the first pilot trainings using this manual in Addis Ababa and Kathmandu.


In 2012 Fieldview Solutions took this relationship further: publishing the study "Influence on the Ground: Understanding and Strengthening the Protection Impact of United Nations Human Rights Field Presences" (available for download in the publications page of this website). In 2014 and 2015 the authors carried out field strategy trainings to implement the lessons of this study for UN human rights presences in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Mali, Cameroun, Kyrgystan, Cambodia, Burundi, and Bolivia.




United Nations Department of Peace Operations - Civil Affairs officer training

From 2010-2015 Fieldview Solutions delivered regular trainings for UN DPO Civil Affairs components, based on the model and manual it developed ("In-mission skills trainings for Civil Affairs Officers"). These trainings are tailored onsite to adapt to the specific challenges of each location. Over 400 Civil Affairs officers were trained in Sudan, South Sudan (3x), Cote D'Ivoire (3x), Haiti(3x), Lebanon, Liberia, Afghanistan and the DRC(3x).






World Food Programme

The World Food Programme's policy office in Rome also approached Fieldview Solutions, and we worked with them between 2007 and 2010 to better integrate protection concerns into their field programming. Fieldview was involved in designing a training in protection concepts to be globally rolled-out to all WFP programme officers. Fieldview also designed stand-alone trainings on Ethics and Law and Negotiation. Fieldview delivered a ToT to WFP trainers and then accompanied them in the delivery of the training in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

As a second phase of this project, Fieldview carried out in-depth strategic evaluations of the incorporation of protection concerns into WFP programming in Sri Lanka and Nepal.


Global Protection Cluster

In 2008 Fieldview consultants supported the UN's Global Protection Cluster Working Group in developing a training programme aimed at strengthening protection coordination at a country level.


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Training for Folke Bernadotte Academy: Proactive Presence: Field strategies for civilian protection

The Folke Bernadotte Academy, (the capacity-building arm of the Swedish government) was so taken by Proactive Presence that they asked Fieldview to design a training of the same name based on the book's lessons, aimed at helping to prepare Swedish civilian observers for a variety of monitoring roles in conflict areas around the world. This training was delivered every year in Sweden from 2008-2014. 


 Other Fieldview Solutions Projects



Analysis of UNSC Resolutions for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

In 2008 Fieldview produced an analysis of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions relating to protection of women, children and civilians in armed conflict for the Swiss Mission to the UN in New York. This study produced a report entitled A framework for a holistic approach to UNSC Resolutions on Protection of Civilians, Children and Armed Conflict, and Women, Peace and Security, emphasising the opportunities to improve the ultimate impact of high-level work on protection through a more holistic analysis of the mechanisms through which ground-level protection occurs.




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Norwegian Refugee Council

In 2010 Fieldview Solutions' Roger Nash carried out a review of the work of the Norwegian Refugee Council during the closing phases of the Sri Lankan civil war. This study examined the dilemmas faced by NRC in dealing with the prolonged internment of IDPs by the Sri Lankan government. An abridged version is available here.


Fieldview Solutions' Liam Mahony continued this collaboration with NRC in 2012-2013, researching and writing a think piece (English French) on possible  non-military approaches to protection in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was accompanied by protection trainings of NRC staff as well as the design and facilitation of a workshop with the Protection Cluster on communication with armed groups.

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Peace Brigades International

Fieldview Solutions provide occasional support and strategic advice to PBI at the international level.

-- In 2011 we conducted a strategic review of the PBI's Mexico project.

-- In 2014 Liam Mahony worked with PBI-UK to design and deliver an online course (in Spanish) in Advocacy for Mexican Human Rights Defenders.


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Amnesty International

Fieldview carried out research into how active exercise of rights contributes to poverty reduction as part of preparations for Amnesty International's Campaign for Human Dignity, contributing to the book later published by former Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan "The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights."

In 2016-17, Amnesty International-UK brought in Fieldview to provide best practice analysis for its "Individuals-at-risk" programming.




Nonviolent Peaceforce

Fieldview Director/founder  Liam Mahony was originally engaged as a consultant to advise in the conception and founding of this unique peacebuilding NGO.


In 2008 Fieldview consultant Roger Nash provided strategic analysis and advice to Nonviolent Peaceforce's Sri Lanka project.


In 2016 Liam Mahony led an exploratory mission to Burundi for the Nonviolent Peaceforce, to assess the feasibility of installing a protective presence on the ground under increasing repression and authoritarian rule.