The PwC Monitoring Agent teams from the North and Southern Sudan recently completed a Hostile Region Environment Awareness Training (THREAT) course to prepare them for the security risks present in Sudan.
The week-long course took place on the Swara Plains ranch in the foothills of Lukenya, about an hour outside Nairobi. A group of nine, made up of staff from the Nairobi, Kampal,a and Dar-es-Salaam offices as well as four sub-contractors, abandoned their desks and their laptops to learn how to survive in the Sudan.
Conrad Thorpe, recently retired from the British Marines and now heads up the Strategic Risk Management firm Salama Fikira, ran the course, along with representatives from the Glen Edmunds Performance Driving School, and Jonathan Simpson from Warrior Security in Arusha.
The PwC teams were "thrown into the deep end" at the start of the training, with a 3km walk to the camp, across the range land, passing giraffe, wildebeest and gazelle along the way.
On Monday morning, the "troops" were awoken at 5.45am to start the day with an hour of physical exercise out on the cold, misty plains.
Then it was back to camp for a shower and into the classroom for lectures—by the eminent Philip Winter of the Rift Valley Institute—on the history of Sudan, and understanding the dangers of hostage taking and kidnap for ransom from Conrad Thorpe.
Monday afternoon was focused on the theory of off-road driving, and the team got to put the theory into practice, spending all of Tuesday traversing the rocks and hills of a local Portland Cement quarry in 4WDs.
After physical training on Wednesday, there was a change of scenery with a visit to the British Army's International Mine Action Training Centre in Nairobi. The gruesome reality of anti-personnel mines was a wake up call to the team. We hope that our training will never have to be put into practice.
Thursday's activities included communications, with VHF radio and GPS day and night navigation exercises. A particular highlight of Thursday afternoon was learning how to receive light aircraft in the event of evacuation, and a lucky few even got to fly in the plane.
A real test for the team was three hours of unarmed combat training, courtesy of a Kenyan marshal arts specialist. Luckily there was no lasting damage.
The final day saw the teams complete a basic first aid course, and get a comprehensive guide to the do's and don'ts of road blocks.
"I think I can speak on behalf of the team in saying that the course was a great success and highly informative. We all feel a lot more prepared for the eventualities that may arise in Sudan and know how to remain calm and act appropriately in high risk situations."
Dar es Salaam