Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Research & education

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’…
International concern over genderbased violence (GBV) has increased considerably in recent years, and the international humanitarian response to GBV in populations affected by armed conflict, disaster and displacement has also grown exponentially over the past decade. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, for example, the UK government announced a £21.6 million aid package to protect women and girls from sexual violence.[1] At the same time, however, there remains a lack of data on and understanding of good practice in relation to GBV programming in humanitarian contexts, and a lack of consensus on how to apply GBV concepts…
In recent decades the drylands of the Horn of Africa have become one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Drought in particular affects more people, more frequently than any other disaster. Drought periods were not always so disastrous but, combined with the region’s underlying economic, social and environmental vulnerability, the impacts upon dryland inhabitants are extreme. Despite calls for greater investment in preparedness, early response and long-term resiliencebuilding, the 2011 drought crisis in the region illustrates how this has not yet been translated into reality. It is an intuitive belief that investment in early response and resilience-building in…
The challenges the humanitarian community encountered last year in Haiti and Pakistan clearly emonstrate that it urgently needs new knowledge, new expertise and new approaches. At the same time there is a growing expectation that decision-making and programme design by humanitarian agencies should be evidence-based. However, the pressures on today’s humanitarian practitioners to deliver assistance at great speed and often according to predefined goals, methods and targets provide little space for analysis, reflection and investigation. As a result there is a division within our community between those who are employed to ‘think’ and those who are employed to ‘do’. This…
First rolled out following the earthquake in Pakistan and Kashmir in October 2005, the Humanitarian Reform process sought to address gaps in the international response to humanitarian crises, and to improve timeliness, effectiveness and predictability. The reform’s approach was three-pronged: first, the introduction of clusters to better coordinate sectoral responses and identify a lead agency which would provide predictable leadership and coordination and act as the provider of last resort; second, to improve the availability of quick-response funding through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), established in March 2006; and third, to improve humanitarian leadership by strengthening the role and…
Post-disaster shelter programmes aim to meet urgent and immediate housing needs. Although evaluations have highlighted short-term benefits and have helped to improve programme design and shelter options, little attention has been paid to the longer-term socio-economic impact of these interventions. Following an initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), two long-term studies on post-disaster shelter programmes were conducted in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands. The first considers the long-term socio-economic impact of a shelter programme implemented in 1999–2001 in Vietnam. The second covers…
The impact of the global food price shock at the macro level has been well researched. Studies have sought to simulate the potential impacts of the crisis on countries and households. However, this work has lacked ground-truthing to assess the real impacts on households. This article seeks to fill this gap by summarising the key findings of recent household-level food security assessmentsinitiated by WFP. The objective of the assessments was to determine country-specific causes of food price increases, whether these increases were leading to significant changes in the food security status of households, and what mitigating responses might be necessary.…
As the scrutiny of information for humanitarian programming grows, the quality of that information becomes ever more important. There is growing interest in both the presentation of information for key variables, and transparency regarding its origins and accuracy. This article reviews eight websites which we believe to be the most widely used sources of basic information on health and wellbeing by those interested in humanitarian conditions. Data from these websites frequently finds its way into analytical reports and orients humanitarian workers in the field. Typically, press and publicity reports are unclear as to the sources of their data, often simply…
We’re all familiar with the scene: a training course or workshop (it could be on any topic) that starts with a long and detailed presentation on concepts and terminology. Your mind begins to wander; you look at your watch and count the minutes till the coffee break … If you are working in a busy operational environment, theories and definitions seem all too often to get in the way of doing the job. This is particularly true in high-pressure humanitarian work, but it is a barrier to development practitioners too. Why is this so? Staff in relief and development NGOs…
My niece was sick and died last year. I looked after her because nobody else was interested… She didn’t say that she had AIDS, but I knew and she knew … My main worry is that I won’t be able to work, and then what will happen?… I tell my kids that one day we will have a problem: I will die and they need jobs. But they have stopped looking… 54-year-old Zulu seamstress from Warwick Junction’s, Berea Railway Station, Durban, South Africa   For those of us who live, spend time or work with vulnerable groups in southern Africa,…
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