7. Establishing a compound in remote areas


  • Obtain authorisation for use of the site and secure site with security fencing.
  • Appoint a compound manager and support staff.
  • Install tents or other temporary structures for office, living quarters and amenities.
  • Install, and undertake an inventory of, basic furniture and equipment.
  • Make arrangements for utilities including water supply and storage, and power supply.
  • Coordinate with the Telecommunications and IT Officer for telecommunications set-up in remote areas (refer to the chapter on Telecommunications and IT).
  • Put adequate compound security in place including security guards.
  • Ensure the compound meets health and hygiene standards.
  • Arrange for food supply and preparation for compound residents.
  • Provide adequate rest and recreation facilities for staff well-being.

In some emergency situations, appropriate office space and housing is non-existent. In these cases, it is necessary to establish a compound where CARE staff can both work and live. This is especially important if a full-scale and longer-term relief operation is to be undertaken. Establishing adequate conditions and facilities for both work and living is critical for staff well-being and to avoid high staff turnover.

  • A suitable site should be identified to accommodate working and living areas.
  • When the site is identified, written approval for use of the site should be sought from local authorities to avoid any allegations of ‘unauthorised occupation’.
  • As soon as the approval for occupation is obtained, the area should be fenced off to separate the working and living areas.
  • For security reasons, the living quarters should not be located near the main entrance.
  • Double security fencing is essential, with a single entrance and a guard post at the gate.
  • Where there are insufficient adequate buildings, tents may be needed for office and accommodation, at least for an initial period. A ‘tent kit’ should be provided. See Annex 18.29.
  • An adequate number of tents, showers, toilets, etc. should be installed with consideration given to boarding, recreational and laundry facilities.

The establishment of a CARE compound to cater to more than 10 international and/or national staff will require the services of a full-time Compound Manager who will manage the development and expansion of the compound. This includes water supplies and electricity, showers and toilets, laundry, vehicle parking and other compound management responsibilities. Other support staff may include kitchen staff including cook, cleaning and laundry staff, and security guards.

The type of office space needed will be decided by the Team Leader with assistance from the Administration Manager. At the initial stages, large tents may be provided to house each unit or programme.  Each of these tents should be equipped with adequate furniture and equipment.  Depending on the longevity of the relief operation, semi-permanent structures can be constructed to protect staff and equipment from weather conditions, and for security purposes.

Each living quarter should be furnished with basic furniture. See Annex 18.5 for a list of furniture items require for each living quarter.

The Compound Manager is responsible for the maintenance of a complete inventory of FFE assigned to the office spaces, residential areas, kitchen, store, laundry, etc. The following guidelines can be applied:

  • Physical movement of any item, either in or out, should be documented in the inventory list and supported by a waybill.
  • The compound FFE inventory should be a sub-group of the CO Master Inventory Ledger and should be kept separate.
  • A separate stock register should be maintained for food items and other consumables.
  • The Compound Manager will authorise all replenishments and issues in and out of the store.

For a sample FFE Inventory Ledger see Annex 18.31. For a sample Stock Ledger Form see Annex 18.32.

The following precautionary safety and security measures should be taken:

  • Hire an adequate number of night guards as required.
  • Have the guards registered at the local police station.
  • Use the services of a professional security agency if possible.
  • Install secure barbed wire double fencing around the compound.
  • Arrange for security lighting (preferably with halogen lamps) at the entrance, vehicle parking area, storage areas and other strategic locations.
  • Provide firefighting equipment at various easily accessible locations and ensure that these are well maintained.
  • Equip each residential tent with emergency lamps or solar lanterns. Do not provide candles, matches or cigarette lighters in tents.
  • Provide locks where needed, and ensure that all doors and tent openings are locked at night.
  • Maintain a well-stocked first aid kit in an easily accessible place (the General Administrative Assistant should be responsible for keeping the first aid kit adequately stocked and replenished).

See also the chapter on Safety and security.

7.6.1 Water

  • Provide an adequate number of water bladders of large capacity.
  • Install water piping from water bladders to necessary locations within the compound (kitchen, showers, latrines, laundry, etc.)
  • Contract the local water supplier for daily delivery of the required number of water tankers.
  • Ensure the delivered water is not wasted through leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Maintain daily records of the quantity of water delivered to confirm the monthly invoice.

7.6.2 Electricity

  • Immediately install at least two heavy-duty generators to effectively provide 24-hour power supply within the compound.
  • Install the generator in a safe and secure area.
  • A regular daily fuel supply must be available to run each generator alternately.
  • Ensure availability of spare parts for the generators.
  • Maintain a log book to account for generator fuel supply and consumption.
  • If available, draw up a local service contract for monthly servicing of the generators.

7.6.3 Telecommunications

For telecommunications set-up in remote areas, refer to the chapter on Telecommunications and IT.

In a compound set-up, it is essential to give the highest priority to health and hygiene. An unclean environment can lead to disease and illness. Pay special attention to:

  • an adequate number of cleaning staff and quantity of materials
  • providing sufficient bottled water and water purification tablets
  • hygienic meal preparation, safe drinking water, safe food storage, hygienic waste disposal, and fly, mosquito and rodent control.

The Compound Manager is responsible for these food supply issues:

  • identifying local food suppliers and establishing a regular supply of fresh foods
  • if essential items are not available in the emergency zone, arrange, in coordination with the Administration Manager, for their purchase and importation
  • CARE will cover the cost of all essential food items. Products such as alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, personal hygiene items, cosmetics, chocolates, etc. will not be covered by CARE.

In remote areas where large-scale emergency activities are being implemented, and staff live and work within a centrally organised compound, it is essential that good canteen and recreation facilities are provided. The facilities will depend on the severity, size and duration of the emergency operation, and are included in CARE’s Staff Wellness Policy. Determining which facilities to provide should be decided on a case-by-case basis, but the following may be considered:

  • a well-stocked and efficiently managed canteen
  • a basic workout facility
  • indoor and outdoor games, and sports equipment
  • TV and video
  • library.