Despite the difficult circumstances brought about by COVID-19, a series of two advanced level trainings on document security were delivered to officers of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan by a Border Management and Security Senior Advisor of ICMPD and an external expert. The trainings were conducted under the framework of the European Union-funded project Integrated Border Management in the Silk Routes Countries (IBM Silk Routes).
In 2020, travel restrictions and safety measures forced a change to training delivery from a traditional classroom-based concept to remote learning. In a first step, basic trainings on document security were delivered in 2020 online to 80 selected officials from the FIA. In the second phase, the best trainees took part in the advanced trainings.
To this end, the Dutch and ICMPD experts on document security, seconded from ICMPD’s Border Management and Security Programme, travelled to Islamabad to deliver the training, which was organised with strict medical security measures. All participants, trainers and project staff were submitted to regular PCR tests, done before, during and for experts also after the training prior to a flight back home.
Despite all the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the success of these trainings demonstrates that precise planning and stringent safeguarding measures means resumption of physical trainings is possible. The global situation will never be the same as it was a year ago, but now is the time to start thinking about how new and innovative ways of working can move beyond virtual sessions to a more sustainable and "normal" approach to capacity building in development projects.
The PCR tests were done by a specialised laboratory, accredited in Pakistan, which provided their test services on the spot and thereby eliminating movements from the training venue to the lab. Only holders of negative results were granted access to the training. Other measures included the use of personal protective equipment, such as plastic shields, FFP2 masks and sanitizers by trainers and each participant throughout the entire training.