Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Capacity-building

Core to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s approach to assistance is sending international staff into foreign contexts to work with, and usually direct, locally recruited national staff. Outsiders bring experience, leadership and technical skills, and are in a better position to ‘witness’ intolerable situations and speak out about them. International staff are also better able to resist local pressures for resource diversion, giving MSF greater confidence that donor money is being spent appropriately. For many within and outside MSF, this model is the only responsible option because the compromises assumed to be inherent in a remotely managed programme are unacceptable. MSF-Operational…
While welfare, such as free humanitarian aid, is arguably the sign of a civilised society, it is sometimes accused of ‘creating dependency’, undermining sustainable selfsufficiency and demeaning its recipients. The idea that dependency is a bad thing and that free assistance de facto creates dependency not only has long roots in the history of humanitarianism, but also is nourished by the strongly held feelings of those who believe that relief too should be in some way sustainable, linked maybe with a desire to move towards more developmental approaches. Humanitarian agencies tend to look at the situations of people affected by…
The significant growth in cash transfers in emergencies in the past decade has presented a number of challenges for policy-makers and practitioners in the humanitarian sector. Cash transfer programming is now an accepted tool in almost every emergency response. Guidelines, evaluations and research have addressed concerns around cash transfers, such as corruption and insecurity, and have increased awareness that cash has different, but not necessarily greater, risks than in-kind assistance. Donor policy changes and developments have supported more flexible funding for cash transfer programming and the development of better risk management systems and procedures. The experience of a large number…
Nepal loses an average of two lives a day due to natural disasters. These disasters include floods, landslides, drought, hail, avalanches, glacial lake floods and earthquakes. According to the EM-DAT 2009 database, earthquakes and floods are the biggest hazard in terms of mortality, affected populations and economic losses – and this in a country recovering from conflict, with a rapidly increasing, and increasingly urban, population, poverty and poor economic growth. While flooding poses an annual problem, a mega-earthquake – which could occur at any time – will kill more than 100,000 people just in the Kathmandu Valley, seriously injure another…
The influx of thousands of Iraqis into Jordan after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and again after the escalation of sectarian tensions in 2006, has significantly increased demand on basic public services. The international community’s response to this refugee crisis has focused on providing humanitarian assistance, including cash transfers, non-food items, medical care, psychological counselling and support, targeted psychosocial activities and vocational skills training. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Jordanian government, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides cash assistance to the most vulnerable Iraqi families and protection services, in addition to supporting medical and social…
Partnerships are about relationships. The purpose of partnership is ‘to achieve together what we could not achieve alone’, and working in partnership requires those involved to practice a set of principles that create trust, equity and mutual accountability. In this way, partnership becomes a framework for ‘how we do business together’; it is less determined by the structure of the relationship than by the practice of certain behaviours. What is important is that risks and benefits are shared, and that the partnership is co-created.[1] When organisations work successfully together, change can occur at a faster pace and be more effective…
Tucked away in the arid North Eastern Province of Kenya is one of the largest and oldest refugee camp complexes in the world. Twenty-one years old, with a population of over 300,000, the Dadaab refugee camps (Ifo, Hagedera and Dagahaley) host refugees mainly from Somalia, but also from Burundi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Sudan. Humanitarian agencies are under pressure not only to provide services to resident refugees, many of whom have lived in the camp complex for over 20 years, but also to address the needs of the approximately 1,000 refugees who continue to arrive from Somalia every month. They face…
This article highlights the views of local people on how international aid agencies partner with local organisations, and the impact these relationships often have on the quality and effectiveness of aid efforts. Through Listening Exercises, The Listening Project has gathered the perspectives of local people on what has worked well, what has not and what can be done to make international aid efforts more effective and more accountable. In many places, local people do not make the distinctions between humanitarian, recovery or development assistance that aid workers do. While the types of assistance and the people who provide it may…
Bangladesh is exposed to significant flood, cyclone and earthquake hazards. Vulnerability to these and other hazards is exacerbated by socio-economic factors, including one of the highest population densities in the world, rapid and often unplanned urban expansion, poor infrastructure, weak institutions and a lack of diversity in livelihoods, with a high degree of dependence on agriculture. Widespread poverty, with 60% of the population living below the poverty line, further limits the ability of people and communities to protect themselves and their assets against disaster. In such a context, effective disaster preparedness is especially important. To achieve this, capacity-building at all…
Natural disasters are a frequent occurrence in Southeast Asia, killing an estimated 350,000 people in the last decade and causing tens of billions dollars’ worth of damage. With such high loss of life and extensive economic damage, increasing the resilience of its ten member states is a key priority for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).[1] To that end, on 24 December 2010, the anniversary of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) came into force.   The AADMER The AADMER is a legally binding agreement. As a regional framework that…
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