Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Emergency interventions

A woman arrives at a health centre somewhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was raped a few days ago. She does not feel well, she has pelvic pain and she fears she might be pregnant. While admitting her, the consultant asks her a series of questions: Where are you from? What religion are you? What ethnic group do you belong to? What do you do for a living? Do you have any children? Are you married? What happened? When? How? Who did it? What ethnic group did they belong to? How many of them were there? Can…
In natural disasters and complex emergencies, access to high-quality, timely information is a critical precondition for effective aid delivery. Unfortunately, recent crises have exposed the shortcomings of the humanitarian community in rapidly gathering and effectively using information on the key needs and priorities of affected populations. Such shortcomings are largely due to the lack of dedicated interagency resources for the collection, analysis and dissemination of key information. As a result, post-emergency contexts are often characterised by significant gaps. The first gap concerns the emergency phase of a crisis, when the supply of data is insufficient to meet demand. As data…
In November 2011, fighting in Blue Nile State in Sudan led to the flight of some 25,000 refugees to Maban County, in Upper Nile State in South Sudan, where they were settled in two refugee camps, first at Doro and then, from December, at Jamam. More continued to arrive over the subsequent months. Six months later, in May 2012, a second wave of 35,000 refugees arrived, in very bad condition with some dying of dehydration from their journey. After an initial period in transit camps en route, most of this second wave was moved to Jamam camp; new camps were…
Action Against Hunger (ACF-USA) has successfully worked through partnerships in responding to recent large-scale emergencies in Kenya and Pakistan. In addition to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the humanitarian response, working in partnership facilitated a harmonised approach, with agreed programmatic responses, common needs assessments and tailored response analyses. Evaluations have shown that this approach improved coordination and information-sharing among agencies, catalysed debates around different approaches and how to harmonise them and enabled the exchange of technical expertise and lessons learned, not only among partnership members but across the wider humanitarian community. The partnership approach also enabled individual partners to…
This article summarises the findings of a recent monitoring report on an emergency cash-based intervention in South Central Somalia. In what is thought to be the largest cash programme to be implemented by non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 14 NGOs (six international and eight local partners) distributed $50.6 million-worth of cash and commodity vouchers to 136,673 households affected by the famine of 2011. Approximately half the beneficiaries were located in parts of the country controlled by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and half were in areas controlled by the Islamist group Al Shabaab (AS). The monitoring exercise was undertaken by the Somalia…
Volunteerism in disaster management is well-accepted and widely practiced. The roles volunteers can play in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and preparedness, early warning, disaster response and post-disaster rehabilitation have been recognised in a number of policy instruments, such as the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005), and many international bodies, including the UN and the Red Cross, have well-organised volunteering systems for motivated and enthusiastic young people. Bangladesh, being a disaster-prone country, has a strong pool of volunteers. The Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, for example, currently has about 50,000 active volunteers in 13 coastal districts,…
The concept of humanitarian space has been the subject of intense debate in recent humanitarian discourse. Dominant still is the argument that this space is contracting, making it more difficult for humanitarian actors to reach crisis-affected civilians. However, this narrative has been increasingly challenged. New research highlights a range of definitional differences and a dearth in empirical evidence to support the ‘shrinking space’ hypothesis.[1] Policy-makers are beginning to lose patience with the term’s vagueness.[2] This article aims to advance the current debate by determining the extent to which this conceptual confusion actually impacts on humanitarian interventions. Is it just academic,…
The Household Economy Approach (HEA) is widely used as a framework for understanding food security, livelihoods and poverty. The framework also has the potential to inform social protection programming by improving understanding of the context in intervention areas, and enhancing targeting and coverage. In the Sahel, HEA has been used successfully for social protection programming in Niger and Mali in the form of safety nets based on regular cash transfers. Save the Children piloted safety nets in the Niger district of Tessaoua from 2008 to 2009 using HEA as a targeting and monitoring tool. The programme reached around 26,000 of…
Niger is a landlocked country in the Sahelian zone of West Africa. Ranked 186 out of 187 countries on the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s Human Development Index, Niger faces extreme poverty and vulnerability caused by climatic factors and recurrent food crises. These crises have triggered large humanitarian responses involving food aid, nutrition interventions and cash transfers. These interventions, while important, have not addressed underlying issues of chronic vulnerability, which might be better tackled through social safety nets and social protection programming. This article examines the piloting of social safety nets in Niger, using cash transfers combined with the promotion of…
The humanitarian reform agenda recognises the need for evidence-based decision-making in emergencies. However, current approaches to humanitarian needs assessment often do not provide a sufficiently coherent picture of humanitarian requirements and, therefore, are unable to effectively inform decisions. Multiple, independent, uncoordinated assessments often represent significant duplication of time, effort and funds, provide a fragmented picture of need and risk neglecting certain beneficiary groups and leaving gaps in information. These efforts may not meet commonly promoted humanitarian standards of accountability to vulnerable groups affected by crises. For all these reasons, coordinated needs assessments are increasingly seen as crucial for the more…
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