Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA) was founded in 1995 and has been active in areas of the world that are affected by conflict, humanitarian, or natural disaster.
Areas include Albania, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Croatia, Jamaica, Kashmir, Kenya, Malawi (South East Africa), Macedonia, Poland, Tajikistan, Uganda, Volgograd (South Russia) the charity has also assisted in providing help and equipment to the areas of Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Siberia, Ghana, Gambia, Zambia and Iraq.
Following on from phase 1, a team from SESHAA in partnership with FIRE AID returned to the mountainous Central Asian country of Tajikistan in 2017 to continue with phase 2 of their cooperation with emergency services in Tajikistan... Read the full presentation.
SESHAA Chair Alf Wilson and Vice Chair Chris Wood have since 2012, been heavily involved in the development of FIREAID, which has now received funding from the Department for International Development (DfID)... Read more about the FIREAID launch.
Over the past 25 years the SESHAA team has provided training and support all over the world and continues to do so. On the 22nd of March 2020 we have completed 25 years of operations. Have a look to see where they have been and what amazing work has been carried out.
The relief of poverty and hardship and sickness of refugees and victims of oppression, violent conflict or natural disaster anywhere in the World, in particular by:
Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA) an International Aid Association based in the Staffordshire moorlands.
The management team of this charity are also from Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, serving members and Veteran Member’s.
SESHAA) was founded in 1995 and became a registered UK charity in 1998, now in their 25th year; the association have been active in areas of the world that are affected by conflict, humanitarian or natural disaster. Areas include Albania, Bosnia, Bangladesh, Croatia, Jamaica, Kashmir, Kenya, Malawi (South East Africa), Macedonia, Poland, Tajikistan, Uganda, Volgograd (South Russia) the charity has also assisted in providing help and equipment to the areas of Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Siberia, Ghana, Gambia, Zambia and Iraq.
Although the charity is led by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, both serving and Veteran members, the teams that go out to the areas of need are from Fire and Rescue, Police and Ambulance services.
SESHAA’s first mission was carried out in partnership with UK Med, North Staffordshire Trauma Centre in February 1996 ‘Operation Phoenix’, transporting £10,000 of medical aid and medical personnel to War Torn Sarajevo in Bosnia. In June 1996 ‘Operation Trinity’ transported £20,000 of medical equipment (supplied by SESHAA’s own contacts) to a hospital in Sarajevo and also retrieved UK med equipment that was left from a previous mission.
A mission to Librahzd, Albania took place in August 1997, the team were unable to enter Albania safely due to the war, the aid was stored with the Italian Fire Service in Bari, Southern Italy, until negotiation were made to try to restore the mission. In September 1997 all of the equipment was taken to Librahzd by SESHAA and contacts via the UN in Rome.
A follow-up mission to Librahzd was planned for October 1997, due to the civil war and the ferocity of the fighting, entry was halted, the plan was abandoned, and the mission was rescheduled to deliver the aid to Gracanica in Bosnia.
The team left Staffordshire for Bosnia in October 1997 to deliver full fire kit and to assess the area for firefighting capabilities. They carried out their return mission to Gracanica in April 1999, due to the influx of refugees from Kosovo flooding onto Bosnia. The team delivered a fully-kitted fire appliance and clothes, toys and hygiene products were also delivered to an orphanage in Sarajevo and Gracanica where a playground was built for the children and clothes and medical aid were also delivered to five refugee camps in the area.
A major ongoing mission that SESHAA was involved in is ‘Operation Livingstone’. The main objectives were to offer suitable firefighting equipment, personal protective clothing, training, and support to an impoverished Fire Service in the South East African country of Malawi.
Following on from an initial scoping visit, SESHAA were to undertake a project of four phases through 1999 to 2002. The project would become a great success delivering training, five vehicles and Firefighting clothing to the Blantyre Fire Service in Malawi. The project also included the purchase and delivery of food aid to the villages of the Plateau, nr Lake Malawi. SESHAA teams visited 5 villages where enough supplementary food was delivered to last for 4 months.
On through 2003 to 2004, the work would continue by SESHAA members, who were involved in providing equipment to Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Siberia, Ghana, Gambia, Zambia and Iraq and the sponsorship of the Institute of Fire Engineers Students in Malawi, Africa.
During 2005 to 2007, SESHAA would find itself working in Poland, Sokolw Malapolski, where following a request from members of the Metropolitan Police London, they would supply firefighting and Road Traffic Collision, Deep Water Rescue training and extrication equipment. They also undertook refurbishment of a special need’s clinic, supplied educational equipment and toys to two Kindergarten and computers, printers and scanners to Sokolow High School. In 2007 following a further delivery of equipment and training, SESHAA personnel were invited to take part in the opening ceremony of a new Fire Station built for the community with funds supplied by the Sokolow Malapolski council, who had committed the funds because of SESHAA work to protect their community.
During 2008 and 2009, SESHAA members visited Uganda to assess the needs of an Aids Hospital, the Fire Service and a group looking at the rehabilitation of Boy Soldiers, there was also the acquisition and supply of a Fire Fighting vehicle to the Jamaican Fire Service.
2010 through to 2011 the teams were in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, they were to undertake a joint services Road Traffic Collision training course, attended by Fire, Police and Ambulance medics.
2012 to 2014 SESHAA have been in Dhaka, Bangladesh, supplied vehicles and equipment to Kenya, 2015 saw SESHAA become founding members of FIREAID, a new organisation in the Fire and Rescue community, an alliance of UK non-profit organisations and services, with a mutual interest in providing ethical and sustainable projects and donations of fire and rescue aid and training, to those in need of such assistance. The FIREAID Patron is the Rt Hon the Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, GCMG, FRSA, FRSE, PC , who was tenth Secretary General of NATO, it is chaired by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, former Fire Service Minister. The Chair and Vice Chair of SESHAA are permanent members of the steering group, based in Westminster. FIRE AID hosted its launch event at the River Room, in the House of Lords on 5th June 2014. The reception, which was attended to full capacity, was hosted by Lord Dubs of Battersea and included representatives from political, diplomatic, fire and rescue, humanitarian aid and international spheres as well as FIRE AID’s founding members.
In 2015 SESHAA are involved in a project in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Alf Wilson undertook a joint scoping visit in March, with FIREAID members, to look at assistance and support for the Fire Service, Health Service and Police. The return visit phase1, was undertaken in November 2015. Alf Wilson and Paul Radcliffe as part of a FIREAID team delivered £40,000 donation of medical and Firefighting equipment, the visit also involved a fact finding expedition into the Khorog region of the Pamir Mountains, where the team looked at the need for a 4x4 rescue vehicle and Mountain, RTC and Mud rescue equipment. The project in Tajikistan is envisaged to be of a three-year duration; phase 2 will be the supply of Fire Engines, Ambulances and 4x4 vehicles all with associated equipment being delivered in a convoy from Staffordshire to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 4,261 miles, in September 2016. The instructors will be flown in to undertake the training over a two-week period following the arrival of the convoy.
2016 is keeping the project team busy, we are now receiving offers of equipment and support from various areas around the country, although the Phase 2 funding has been delayed, post Brexit, a plan “B” was put into action and some limited funding has been received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The FCO funding will assist our goal of completing Phase 2, plan “B” of the Tajikistan “Project Alliance” in September 2016.
The donated equipment valued at £35,000, includes Medical, RTC Rescue, Water Rescue, Heavy Rescue equipment and lighting systems was shipped out to Dushanbe in the middle of August to reach Dushanbe on the 8th September. It is interesting to note that since the initial Scoping Visit in March 2015 and including the last shipment, SESHAA have donated £75,000 of equipment for the Tajikistan Emergency Services. The figure does not include the four stored Firefighting Vehicles and the Ambulance, all to be delivered in the spring of 2017.
A team of seven, 4 Instructors (3 Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and one Welsh Ambulance) 2 assessors all SESHAA Members and a facilitator from FIREAID will fly out to Dushanbe on the 18th September to undertake a Training Programme in Dushanbe and Khorog Tajikistan.
Following successful deliveries of aid in 2015 and 2016, a team of FIRE AID members returned to the mountainous Central Asian country of Tajikistan in May 2017 to donate three fire appliances, an ambulance, rescue equipment, and a 7-day training programme to the Republican Fire Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan. The team included representatives from UK charities Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA) and Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) who delivered life-saving vehicles, equipment, and training to the Fire Service in the capital Dushanbe with support from EASST partner Young Generation of Tajikistan. Further training was delivered to to the main fire station in the town of Khorog in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in cooperation with FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance (an affiliate of the Agha Khan Development Network).
This first ever humanitarian aid convoy driven over 5000 miles from the UK to Tajikistan, was funded by the Woodford Charitable Trust and other generous supporters of UK charity EASST along with valuable support from the British Embassy in Tajikistan, public donations, and others – all united to save lives and to address some of the key risks facing the country.
A team of 30 people participated in the complex project delivery within Tajikistan over a period of three weeks, with many others involved in the preparation phase back in the UK, planned and coordinated by SESHAAs Alf Wilson and EASST’s Julie Utting, during the eight months prior to the convoy departure.
For the volunteer convoy team, led by SESHAA’s Alf Wilson, the challenging journey started on 14th May when the 15-strong team from SESHAA began their long journey across Europe and Asia. With some adventures along the way and 5 members leaving the Convoy at the Latvian/Russian Border the intrepid convoy team of 10 arrived at the Uzbek-Tajik border on 31st May after travelling some 5000 miles through UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Whilst the Convoy was enroute a training team was flown into Tajikistan from the UK; training continues to be a fundamental aspect to the project with a team of six SESHAA instructors returning to Tajikistan to provide instruction in road crash response and first aid. In Dushanbe, RTC training was delivered by SESHAA Instructor volunteers resulting in the making of Tajikistan’s first-ever RTC Instructors. Whilst SESHAA Medics delivered Medical Training to two groups of trainees, building on previous medical training conducted in Dushanbe.
A training programme was also conducted regionally outside the capital. Instructors Ron Morley, Matt Jenkinson and Tony Eyres travelled to Khorog, a town in the Pamir mountains of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in the east of Tajikistan, accompanied and facilitated by Focus Humanitarian Assistance. The three instructors built on the training delivered in previous years and continued the focus on road crash response and medical training for firefighters and personnel of the Committee of Emergency Situations. The team viewed the devastation caused by flooding and landslides and to further discuss Khorog’s needs in terms of rescue capability.
The continued successful partnership between the UK and Tajikistan was marked with an official high-profile ceremony and demonstration attended by the Minister for Internal Affairs, British Ambassador Hugh Philpott, Chief of the Fire Service General Ibrohimzoda and other dignitaries, who were able to view the donated vehicles and observe an excellent demonstration of the new skills learnt during the training.
Following the implementation of a joint protocol between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, a joint SESHAA and WFS Team teaching line rescue/casualty rescue techniques to both Tajik and Afghan male and female students in Tajikistan, 28 March to 2 April 2019.
Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA) and Women in the Fire Service (WFS) helped to build the capacity of female SART. This follows the implementation of a protocol of expansion of cross-border cooperation for disaster preparedness and response to emergency situations which has been signed on 28 February 2018 between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. To this end, training was organized by EASST for Tajik and Afghan female rescuers from 28 March to 2 April 2019. The training was held at the Committee of the Emergency Situation and Civil Defence (CoES) in Dushanbe and run by instructors from SESHAA and WFS. Female members of the CoES and the Fire Service participated in the training as well, furthering AKAH engagement with the government agencies involved in disaster and emergency response. The training was co-financed with generous support from the British Embassy in Tajikistan, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, EASST and AKAH.
SESHAA are now in our 25th year of operation and look forward too many more successful years of projects.
It is interesting to note for the Tajikistan/Khorog project that since the original scoping visit in 2015 to the latest 2019 line rescue project, the value and provision of the donation of equipment, vehicles and training delivered by SESHAA is around $250,000". It is also worth noting that none of this is possible without our sponsors, donors and partners, thank you!