Displaying items by tag: Standards

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…
In Issue 39 of Humanitarian Exchange (June 2008), Julian Srodecki of World Vision contributed an article entitled ‘Improving efficiency and effectiveness through increased accountability to communities: A case study of World Vision’s tsunami response in Sri Lanka’. The article outlines how the creation of a Humanitarian Accountability Team (HAT) in Sri Lanka led to various benefits, including increased financial efficiency, better teamwork among World Vision staff and improved coordination with other NGOs. On the fundamental issue of engagement with communities, however, Srodecki is far from convincing. Srodecki explains that HAT was meant to ‘... engage with communities to provide information,…
The Sphere Project was developed by thousands of stakeholders over the course of several years, starting in the early 1990s. It has one aim: to increase the quality of humanitarian assistance based on a set of agreed principles and standards. More recently, the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) has been launched to try to tackle another outstanding challenge in the provision of humanitarian aid, that of ensuring that disaster-affected people have a right to speak and be heard about the assistance they may be receiving. HAP is perhaps the best known amongst several initiatives explicitly trying to address this problem in…
Although acute physical injuries are the leading cause of human mortality and morbidity in natural disasters, a significant proportion of deaths are a result of poor hygiene and sanitation, inadequate nutrition as well as insufficient health care services due to the destruction of healthcare structure and resources to cope with the diseases prevalent in the affected area. Whilst the provision of basic care following disasters usually focuses on the treatment of acute conditions like injuries, diarrhoea and respiratory infections, as well as more recently on psychosocial and mental health services, the provision of care for chronic diseases is rarely seen…
They constantly try to escape from the darkness outside and within by dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good. T. S. Eliot, The Rock There is no question that humanitarian organisations must be accountable, both in the sense of ‘giving account’ and ‘being answerable’ for the choices they make, the work they do and the resources they use. Nor is it debatable, given the often poor response to crises and the lack of transparency about results obtained, that far more accountability is needed. The issue is rather to whom, about what and for what…
This Network Paper discusses livelihoods-based livestock programming and its role in humanitarian emergency response. It highlights the importance of taking livelihood assets, in particular livestock, into account in responding to emergencies and describes how the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) Project has been developed to support this process. LEGS aims to promote the use of livelihood based livestock responses to emergencies, through building the capacity of humanitarian actors to plan and intervene appropriately. LEGS can also be used to assist in the evaluation of emergency responses by providing a framework and benchmark against which interventions can be reviewed. There…
Aid workers and analysts seeking to explain Somalia’s current humanitarian disaster are understandably preoccupied with the immediate and obvious – the combination of factors which has placed 2.5 million Somalis in urgent need of emergency relief. These include the displacement of between 500,000 and 700,000 civilians, caused by the heavy-handed Ethiopian military occupation; predatory attacks and crime by the Transitional Federal Government’s uncontrolled security forces; assassinations of civic leaders by an increasingly decentralised and violent jihadist movement; economic paralysis and hyperinflation; severe local drought; global spikes in food and fuel prices; and a highly dangerous, non-permissive environment for national and…
Humanitarian agencies, whose sole mandate is to save lives and ensure that those who require humanitarian assistance receive it, have been faced with tough choices during the past 17 years in Somalia. Somalia, one of the world’s longest ongoing humanitarian operations, has challenged how we operate, often forcing agencies to compromise principled action for the sake of delivering assistance at almost any cost. Somalis are suffering in frightening numbers but, even with relatively significant resources at their disposal, humanitarian workers are frequently unable to confirm that the majority of aid delivered is reaching the people who really need it. Rather,…
The debate regarding the protection role of non-mandated agencies in humanitarian responses is gradually producing some concrete answers. A recent HPG report recommends that ‘every humanitarian agency should incorporate a minimum commitment to protection into their work’. In a practical sense this should include the incorporation of protection considerations into all assessments and project interventions, and in theory many non-mandated agencies have recognised this as an essential component of humanitarian response programming. However, in practice the incorporation of protection considerations into agency programming remains ad hocand dependent on the knowledge and interest of individuals. The recent response to the post-election…
Conflicts and natural disasters take a heavy toll on education systems and deny generations the knowledge and opportunities that an education can provide. Of the 115 million primary-aged children not in school, one in three live in conflict-affected and fragile states. Millions more have no access to schooling because they live in areas affected by natural disasters. Although education is a basic human right, education in emergencies is only just beginning to be considered as a vital relief intervention. Education is often considered as a long-term development issue, and so struggles to be recognised as a critical area of emergency…

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