Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:NGOs

For all the dialogue, debate and reams of policy and advocacy reports on civil–military policy trends, there is surprisingly little research on these issues. All sides of the debate are missing data that might help them make a more convincing case that current civil–military policy trends are either necessary or dangerous, as articulated by governments/militaries and NGOs respectively. Governments are tying aid more explicitly to political and security goals and pushing for a comprehensive approach that integrates civilian and military personnel. Military personnel are receiving growing mandates and resources to work alongside NGOs and local populations to provide ‘civic assistance’…
Most humanitarian donors recognise the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality as a foundation for action in situations of conflict and complex emergency. They are enshrined in the ‘European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid’ adopted by European Union (EU) donors in December 2007 and are a key component of the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles, first signed by donors in 2003. In practice, however, donors are confronted with numerous challenges to the application of humanitarian principles. There is growing political pressure to portray humanitarian action as part of the crisis management toolbox, or to link it to counter-insurgency,…
 There are more than 45 million displaced people in the world, 80% of them women and children.[1] Disasters, natural and manmade, typically destroy medical facilities, displace medical personnel and erode support structures. In these circumstances an unplanned pregnancy can be fatal, and between a quarter and a half of maternal deaths in crisis situations are due to complications from unsafe abortions.[2] Family planning and post-abortion care are proven, essential and cost-effective interventions that save women's lives.[3] Nonetheless, they have been long neglected in emergencies in favour of conventional priorities such as water, sanitation, shelter, basic healthcare and food. This article…
Inter-Cluster Coordination (ICC) requires clusters to work together to identify and reduce gaps and duplication, establish joint priorities and address cross-cutting issues in order to improve humanitarian response.[1] Information sharing is a first step, but ICC groups can also establish joint assessments and indicators, align training opportunities, set priorities, make recommendations to Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) and develop proposals for the Central Emergency Response Fund and other funding pools and engage in other activities. In a recent evaluation of global cluster performance, ICC was judged to be 'ineffective in most cases and there is little integration of cross-cutting issues'.[2] Coordination…
Yemen is a country racked with violence. Religious sectarianism, rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and the resurgence of Al-Qaeda are all playing out against a background of economic collapse, insufficient state capacity, corruption and tribalism. A large number of security incidents have affected Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) projects in Aden and Amran governorate north of the capital Sana'a (some 40 documented between April 2010 and July 2013 by MSF's French section alone), including security forces and armed men entering medical facilities to seek out patients, family and tribal revenge attacks against patients or doctors within…
As part of the primary research for the State of the World’s Girls 2013 report,[1] Plan conducted an online survey of humanitarian practitioners and decision-makers. The purpose of the survey was to provide an indication of what is actually happening in humanitarian response settings, with specific reference to adolescent girls. Respondents were asked to express their opinions of present practice and how it might be improved. The survey findings provide an illuminating insight into how response interventions are failing adolescent girls affected by disasters. They also provide an opportunity for practitioners to share practical suggestions for how different sectors can…
Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), whilst not the root cause of violence, can exacerbate the vulnerability of women and girls to violence. Men and boys, people of other gender or sexual identities or other marginalised groups can also sometimes be at risk. As WASH practitioners working in humanitarian and development contexts, we are often aware of the anecdotal but regular examples of incidents of violence in relation to WASH. However, we often do not appreciate the scale of the problem, why it happens or what, if anything, we can or should do about it. In order to…
Sexual violence is an appalling violation of moral codes and international law which occurs in practically all situations of armed conflict and sustained violence. It is an abuse that has severe physical and psychological consequences for the individual, first and foremost, as well as the capacity to tear societies and communities apart. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works to protect and assist victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence across the world, including victims of sexual abuse. In recent years, the ICRC has extended and improved what it is able to do for victims of…
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…
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pervasive risk that cuts across continents and contexts. Programming to respond to GBV saves lives and mitigates the debilitating consequences of violence. Yet such programming – and funding to support it – remains a secondary priority in humanitarian crises and development contexts. The dearth of responses is often attributed to a lack of evidence that GBV is occurring. Despite decades of research that points to the pervasiveness of GBV, prevalence or incidence data has become a near-requirement to demonstrate that GBV is on a scale that merits funding and action. However, on its own prevalence…
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