humanitarian

A Novel Idea: Would Fiction be a better induction to a new job than boring briefings?

Duncan Green - March 31, 2015

A mysterious, anonymised, scarlet pimpernel character called J. flits around the aid world, writing a blog (Tales from the Hood – now defunct, but collected into a book, Letters Left Unsent) and fiction. He asked me for a plug for the latest novel, Honor Among Thieves. Here’s the plot blurb: ‘Mary-Anne has left East Africa and traded in her dusty cargo pants for business suits …

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On World Humanitarian Day, where are the examples of ‘good donorship’ in conflict, disasters etc?

Duncan Green - August 19, 2014

It’s World Humanitarian Day today, and I want to talk about money, but not the perennial topic of quantity of aid for emergency relief.  Let’s talk about quality. On my visit to the DRC in May, I was pretty shocked by the conversations I had with humanitarian colleagues about how they fund their work. The ‘crisis’ has been going on for some 20 years, but …

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A week in the life of a humanitarian agency (it really is all kicking off everywhere)

Duncan Green - August 1, 2014

To give people a better feel for our humanitarian work in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere, I thought I’d share the contents (unedited, but with a few explanatory links added + pics) of the weekly internal email that drops into Oxfam staff’s inboxes. It summarizes in pithy form what our humanitarian colleagues are up to – I think it captures the unique blend of technical jargon, an obsession …

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What should we do differently when an ‘emergency’ lasts for 20 years?

Duncan Green - June 12, 2014

Second installment in my reflections on last week’s trip to the Eastern Congo The classic cliché of humanitarianism is the angel of mercy (usually white) jetting in to help the victims of a sudden catastrophe (earthquake, war, hurricane), helping them get back on their feet in a few months and then moving on to the next emergency. A whole structure of funding, organizations, policies and approaches …

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Crises in a new world order: challenging the humanitarian project

admin - February 7, 2012

Ed Cairns, Oxfam’s senior policy adviser on this kind of thing, introduces a big rethink of Oxfam’s humanitarian work When it comes to humanitarian crises, Oxfam specializes in the appropriate acronym of ‘WASH’.In 2011, hundreds of Oxfam staff delivered water and sanitation and other relief to millions of people afflicted by drought, floods or earthquakes. But in much of the world, a growing proportion of our …

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Why is humanitarian work so hard in cities?

admin - January 21, 2010

By chance, the day before the Haiti earthquake, we were having a discussion at Oxfam about why, when it comes to feeding programmes, disaster relief etc urban work tends to be both harder and less attractive to NGOs than doing equivalent things in rural settings. This reflected an increasing conviction that we need to do more on urban issues. Although I’m no expert on Haiti, …

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