The Assignment object has a many-to-one relationship with emergencies (each assignment can be tagged to a single emergency, but each emergency can have many assignments), and a many-to-one relationship with members, meaning that each assignment can have one member, but each member can have many assignments.
Assignments are designed to provide some clarity to who is doing what within any given response. There has traditionally been more focus on the visible support provided in the form of IM field deployments and SIMS coordinators, but the strength of our network lies in the remote support from members who take on tasks and work in the background. By creating an assignment for anyone that is helping, we can better highlight their work and quantify the support being provided to the operation.
- Assignment Details: A sentence or two describing what the person’s support looks like. If they are providing remote IM support, this might mean describing the types of products or analysis they are providing. If they have deployed, describe where they went and the role within the operation that they are filling.
- Start and End Dates: Rough estimates here to capture the time that people provided support. This can help quantify our work, and the end date is what automatically adds and removes assignments from various views within the portal.
- Role: The dropdown captures the most common roles that SIMS members have when they deploy to an operation. The “Remote Support” role is meant to capture anyone who has not deployed but is providing products or services from their home country.
- Status: The end date is what filters which assignments are currently active. This status field is only used to maintain a record of assignments that have been deleted. When deleted, the status is changed to “Removed”. The row in the database is maintained to avoid conflicts, as there are other elements that link to the assignment record (including products produced). Only administrators can toggle this.
Understanding Assignment Timelines
Remote supporters frequently volunteer to work on a specific project with a fixed deadline. In a one-off case of support, their assignment start and end date should simply be when they took on the task until when they completed it. In that way, an assignment may only be a few days long. But what about when someone takes on two or more tasks with gaps in between? Don’t worry about creating separate assignments, just extend the end date to capture the full extent of their coverage.
What Makes Remote Support Assignments Different
Though the Portal allows us to track IM field deployments across the major IFRC IM profiles including the IM Coordinator, Remote Supporter assignment have a few important differences.
First, they are the only type that can post products from their assignment record. The reasoning being that deployed IM profiles may be creating products that are not done under the umbrella of SIMS and therefore cannot be considered a “SIMS product”.
Second, they are the only type that can report their availability. We assume that a SIMS Remote Coordinator or a deployed IM specialists is, by their nature, meant to be available for the entire time they are activated or deployed.
And lastly, they are the only type that can provide a Learning Review record. This form allows Remote Supporters to provide feedback on their assignment, and asks questions tailored specifically to people in that role. See the Knowledge Management Overview for more information.