First came accountability principles and standards. Codes of conduct, certification schemes and commitments then followed. Today it is all about tools.
The humanitarian community is big on surveys and getting bigger. Teams of data collectors clutching tablets or smart phones are now part of the scenery in most humanitarian programs.
After 4 years as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, I remember Louise Arbour complaining about what she saw as the United Nations’ addiction to coordination.
When someone as eloquent as Robert Chambers chides you on your use of language, it is smart to listen. Last week the grand old man of ‘people first’ development challenged participants at the annual meeting of ALNAP to find a word that better describes the focus of their work than beneficiaries;
David Miliband is on to something important when he calls for a reassessment of the goals and working methods of the humanitarian system (The Guardian).
When Britain’s Secretary of International Development Justine Greening visited the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan last September she tweeted that she was looking at how British aid is helping the 80,000 refugees there.
The omnibus appropriations bill approved by the US Senate on January 16 – and expected to be signed into law this week by President Barack Obama – is likely to fast forward years of effort to make aid more responsive to people affected by humanitarian crises.
Tim to the Rescue is one of my favorite children’s books. Written and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone, it tells of the courage and determination of its hero as he battles the odds on the salty main.
It is inconceivable today that a disaster like Typhoon Haiyan could hit without a rush to deploy specialist accountability staff and the issuance of guidance about how to include beneficiaries in the way the relief program is designed.
There are few people who cast as long a shadow over humanitarian relief as Fred Cuny, a larger than life Texan who served in practically every humanitarian operation from Biafra in 1967 until his kidnapping and murder in Chechnya in 1995 when he was just 51.