Master Thesis


Annina HUNZIKER, "Decision-Making Power In Humanitarian Action: An Exploration Of Enabling Factors And Their Limitations In Redistributing Decision-Making Power In The Humanitarian Response". 2019

There is an inherent power imbalance between the different actors involved in the humanitarian response due to differentiated access to resources and the varying agendas informing their decision-making. The participation discourse evolved in an attempt to redistribute power towards people affected by crisis, encompassing a diverse group of first responders and recipients of humanitarian aid. These people are often deprived of any influence over the decisions affecting their lives. The participation discourse emerged more than 20 years ago and has been incorporated into organisational policies and commitments in the humanitarian sector. However, reports show that a significant gap remains between what is discussed on paper and at conferences and the actual possibility for affected communities to participate in important decisions. This study seeks to explore this issue further by investigating relevant factors, limitations and current practices using a literature review and case study in order to explain this gap and gain a better understanding of the ways in which it may be mitigated. Read more:  


Camila LABAKI DE OLIVEIRA, "Roles and Responsibilities of National Military in Crisis Response". 2019

A case study of Brazil

In the last decades, several affected states have shown willingness to answer to crisis without direct international support and therefore relied in national military assets to build a response. This has become a challenge to crisis response since, in several cases, the military can be considered part of the conflict or work under different principles than humanitarian organizations. Yet armed forces are increasingly part of the humanitarian environment and their roles and responsibilities should be better understood to improve crisis response in conflict and non-conflict areas. Thus, this dissertation focuses on the analysis of challenges and limits to the use of national military in time of crisis based on the case study of Brazil during the migrant crisis of Venezuela (2017-2019). I argue that the main challenges and limits to the use of national military for crisis response in non-conflict areas are the timing of the political decision and the deployment, relocation efforts and the coordination of actors in the operational and strategic levels. There are also benefits that should be taken into consideration, such as military capacity of immediate response, its logistic expertise and possibility of medical support.  Read more:


Amera MARKOUS, "Humanitarian Action and Anti-migration Paradox: A case study of UNHCR and IOM in Libya". 2019

Migration Management has long been part of the state and its national laws, yet governments have been relying on various actors in order to pursue their agendas, which contradicts with international standards. Such as using national civil society organizations, or international military as the NATO, or intergovernmental bodies like Frontex or the UN. Along with humanitarian organizations as non-governmental actors bound by humanitarian principles.

However, humanitarian organizations in such cases have been trying to maintain their core values, yet the challenges are many. Especially concerning the funds and conflict of interest of donor states, that consequently affect their moral integrity and the people they serve.

This research uses a qualitative approach to assess the implementation of the Do No Harm principle in managing migration by humanitarian organizations, with a case study on UNHCR and IOM in Libya. And because both are funded by the EU; this is studied further to assess the influence of their anti-migration policies and their impact on migrants and refugees.

The data confirmed the hypothesis that organizations in such contexts are driven by donors, which harms refugees and migrants. It also presents the limitations and their implications on the people they serve, the staff and the host country. Read more:


Tarek TAWIL, "Humanitarian Negotiation with Non-State Armed Groups during the Global War on Terror. Challenges, Strategies, and Coordination Mechanisms. Between Humanitarian Actors". 2019

The case of Yemen

Humanitarian actors are obliged to negotiate with all belligerents during non-international armed conflicts to gain safe access to affected populations in order to provide aid and ensure the protection of civilians. However, during the global war on terror (GWT), humanitarian negotiations with non-state armed groups (NSAGs) are hindered by challenges on many levels, affecting the efficiency of the negotiation process. Furthermore, humanitarian organizations face ethical dilemmas when negotiating humanitarian access with NSAGs. Yet, engaging with all parties to the conflict possessing some level of control, regardless of their legal status, is essential in order for principled humanitarian action to take place. In this dissertation, I will explore the impact of counter-terrorism measures on humanitarian negotiation with NSAGs, and the strategies adopted by aid organizations to overcome the constraints when engaging with these groups. Taking the case of Yemen as an example, I will investigate the influence of the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence on the negotiation process. In addition, I will explore the interactions between humanitarian actors and the Houthi group in the context of Yemen. This study argues for the validity of a mandate-orientated negotiation approach to NSAGs in order to achieve effective outcomes, and for the importance of building contextualized strategies based on in-depth study of the conflict and of the NSAGs’ aims and motives. Finally, it investigates the reasons for holding bilateral negotiations with NSAGs and the role of coordinated approaches between humanitarian actors. Read more:


Mercedes COLLAZO ALOS, "Humanitarian response in insecure contexts: remote programming and duty of care - the ethical responsibility of humanitarian organizations towards frontline responders". 2019

Nowadays, humanitarian organisations are facing a wide range of challenges to their operations in highly insecure environments. Attacks on aid workers are a major concern for such organisations as they seek to maintain their presence and commitment to delivering humanitarian aid to the people most in need.

With the aim of continuing to provide humanitarian assistance in high-risk environments, international aid organisations are increasingly adopting remote programming strategies, withdrawing international or senior national staff managers and transferring programme responsibilities to local staff.

Leaving local actors on the front line creates additional ethical challenges in terms of the employer’s responsibility to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of local staff.

This paper explores the challenges involved in fulfilling the duty of care to local staff whilst working remotely, examining gaps in security risk management and in providing adequate resources for psychological support and stress management.

Based on a literature review of secondary sources and interviews, this research also suggests a number of measures and mechanisms to address the challenges identified in the study, with a particular focus on risk mitigation measures and capacity building programmes for local staff before and during the shift to remote programming. Read more:


Monica GONZALEZ BATISTA, "Enforced disappearances in Mexico as a humanitarian crisis: the importance of language for humanitarian assistance". 2019

Between 2006 and 2018, enforced disappearances in Mexico soared exponentially. This has resulted in copious human losses and caused serious disruption to the functioning of the entire Mexican society. Today, this phenomenon seems to reflect the definition of what a humanitarian crisis constitutes, as established by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), which explains it as the occurrence of one or several events causing serious disturbances in a country or region, as well as human, material, or otherwise substantial losses, exceeding the coping mechanisms of the affected population. However, enforced disappearances in Mexico had not been extensively characterized as a humanitarian crisis until relatively recently. This paper explores whether labeling this problem as a humanitarian crisis has the potential to facilitate the access of humanitarian actors to it. This is done through a lexical analysis of web-based written information produced by four main stakeholders communicating on enforced disappearances in Mexico. The concepts of metalanguage (the potential of language to designate and change itself) and politics of language (the circular interplay between language and politics) are applied to the execution and interpretation of this analysis. The findings of this work show that labeling enforced disappearances in Mexico as a humanitarian crisis does facilitate the access of humanitarian actors to the problem. It follows that the label ‘humanitarian crisis’ is an important factor for the materialization of humanitarian assistance aimed at the families of victims of enforced disappearances in Mexico and that language has the potential to foster a humanitarian approach to problems which may benefit from it. Read more:


Muhanned NUAIMY-BARKER, "ICTs and the Participation Revolution. Can digital communication tools help include people receiving aid in making the decisions that affect their lives?" 2019

The Grand Bargain Participation Revolution has presented an opportunity to promote and standardize participatory approaches to enlisting the people affected by crisis in their own recovery.

Participatory methods are highly dependent on contact, communication, feedback and dialogue – features also strongly associated with digital communications and the apparent ubiquity of smartphones. Therefore, this paper proposes to investigate whether digital communications technologies have a significant role to play in helping humanitarian responses become more participatory.

Through reviewing recent literature and interviewing staff from several humanitarian agencies, this paper has examined agencies’ attitudes to ICT-enabled participation, described the kinds of projects that they have deployed and assessed any special or extra value that digital tools offer in promoting participation.

This paper finds that the attitudes and deployments of digital participation initiatives closely mirror the state of non-digital initiatives, in that local populations are often only invited to participate on a tokenistic or ad-hoc basis. The few successes that were observed do not appear likely to change the nature of humanitarian action unless the underlying cautions and concerns about participatory methods are addressed through further research and determination. Read more:



PANKAJ, Paul, "The Protection of Unaccompanied Children in Humanitarian Crises: Legal Challenges and Recommendations in the European Union (EU)", 2018

Unaccompanied children are one of the most vulnerable groups in the humanitarian crises and conflicts. The growing number of unaccompanied children in recent years have posed serious concerns for the government and humanitarian actors. In response, the government and humanitarian actors have taken several measures and policies in order to provide adequate protection for unaccompanied children. While government and humanitarian actors are playing a key role in the protection of unaccompanied children, they are also facing a number of challenges in the protection of unaccompanied children. This study identifies those challenges that affect the protection of unaccompanied children conducted by government and humanitarian actors. Based on the interview with child protection expert, intense literature review of secondary sources, and analysing the case of the European Union (EU), the study shows that there are legal challenges (the best interests in national systems, legal guardianship and legal representation, the age assessment, the detention, and family tracing and reunification). The study also revealed that the governments and humanitarian actors need to adapt and strengthen strategies and services in order to provide adequate protection for unaccompanied children. This is because that the government and humanitarian actors can turn these challenges into opportunities to better protect the unaccompanied children. Therefore, the study also has provided some recommendations to address the challenges identified in the study. Further studies on the comprehensive solutions to those challenges and an intense analysis of the legal challenges could be done. This is so that the protection and well-being of unaccompanied children are improved and safeguarded. Read more > 

ARMAGHANYAN, Sonya, "Theatre as Psychosocial Approach in Humanitarian Settings", 2018

In times of crisis, continuous violence and destruction the protective supports are eroded, and affected people face a risk of diverse psychosocial problems at individual, family, community and social levels. In a space of theatre, humans are creatively enabled to deconstruct and reflect on their identities, thoughts and emotions, and make sense of belonging within their communities and in the world. This paper shows the interconnection of the elements between the creative process of theatre and the psychosocial approach and how theatre can be used as a transformative method in humanitarian psychosocial support programmes. While many humanitarian organizations use theatre in their psychosocial activities, there is still a need to better understand which theatre techniques should be used and implemented at which levels of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) intervention. This paper offers to further develop a better understanding among humanitarian professionals and theatre practitioners at large on a cross- disciplinary approach of theatre and build upon the skills and methods of how to use theatre for psychosocial wellbeing of individuals and communities affected by war, displacement, man-made or natural disasters, and post-crisis conditions. Read more: 

FTYEH, Ehsan "Refugee integration in the european educational system: the case of Switzerland and Germany", 2018.

In 2015, the number of refugees and migrants arriving Europe increased leading to the erupting refugee crisis, with over 700,000 individuals applying for asylum in different European countries. These new refugees face different types of challenges when integrating into their new societies and countries. Access is one of obstacles that hinders the refugees’ integration into the education system, as the educational policies, national laws and other types of educational services impact the refugees’ integration in the education processes. This research explores the types of challenges by highlighting the impact of national educational policies, programs, language courses, and the mandatory educational age on the ability of refugees and asylum-seekers for continuing education. Also, the research presents two case studies that critically analyze the role of NGOs, mentoring volunteers and educational institutions for improving the refugee integration into the education system, and how the education initiatives and mentoring volunteer programs have helped refugees to overcome some problems disrupting their plans to continue the complementary and university studies. Furthermore, this research recommends that the role of NGOs, institution educational activities and mentoring volunteer programs, should be enriched to enhance the integration of refugees in the educational system.

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TASHTEMIROVA Nargiza, "Changing practice: the role of law in protection activities. An analysis of the use of the legal argument in humanitarian advocacy aiming at the protection of health workers in emergencies", 2018.

Aero-bombings of hospitals amount to 52% of all types of attacks against health care facilities having the most damaging impact on public healthcare according to WHO. This alarming tendency triggered the need for critical analysis of this phenomenon and action to be taken by humanitarian actors in response. This paper examines the use of legal arguments in humanitarian advocacy campaigns, based on a case study with the ICRC and MSF. It proposes the IRAC (Issue; Relevant Law; Applicability; Conclusion) method that can help to make a legal analysis and to be used in designing a humanitarian advocacy strategy.

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YOOHWAN Shim, "Online Learning program as a Humanitarian Response to Higher Education for Refugees", 2018.

The purpose of this research is to identify the possibility for online learning as a humanitarian response for refugees’ higher education. It has commonly been assured that a lot of refugees face limited opportunities to have all levels of education. It is much difficult for refugees to have a chance of higher education than primary and secondary education. Most donors and agencies are likely to focus on providing primary and secondary education than higher education due to luxury image of higher education. However, there are many reasons why refugees need the higher education. Especially large number of the refugee has been born and grown at the refugee camp, and this long-term refugee situation lead them to request higher education. This study explores how humanitarian action can response to refugees with this difficult situation by new technology and innovation, particularly online learning programs. At the same time, this research study strong points and weak points of online learning program for refugees. This research finds that online learning is a better option than scholarship program for refugees as higher education. Moreover, the blended online methodology is ideal in terms of efficiency of operating program. It also suggests that INGs who are operating online learning programs the camps should improve and adapt their programs flexibly depending on the camps’ situation. It needs to integrate with the private sector and give particular intention for valuable groups such as girls and special need people.


ABESSOLO, Stéphane Hervé, "L'applicabilité des stratégies de sortie dans les projets humanitaires: Le cas de l'approche Phase Over dans les projets d'éducation au Tchad", 2017. 

La prise en compte des stratégies de sortie dans les planifications et programmations des organisations humanitaires reste très marginale. Ceci malgré la volonté politique et stratégique affichée par certaines de ces organisations, leurs stratégies de sortie demeurent implicites. Cette recherche a l’intention d’être un point de départ pour explorer la façon dont les organisations humanitaires peuvent intégrer l’approche phase over comme plan explicite de sortie. Pour ce faire, une revue de littérature sur la thématique des stratégies de sortie a été conduite ainsi que l’analyse des documents du projet Education Cannot Wait (ECW) pour ce qui est de l’étude cas. L’un des enseignements majeurs de cette recherche est la nécessité d’avoir un plan explicite de sortie dès le début du projet. Par ailleurs, le niveau de participation des populations affectées par la crise a un impact sur l’appropriation et la motivation de ces dernière dans la conduite des activités et leurs durabilités. De plus, l’amélioration des compétences et connaissances des bénéficiaires est un atout majeur dans la pérennisation des résultats d’une intervention.

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AU-GENER, Bridgit, "Engaging Diaspora Health Workers in Humanitarian Action", 2017. 

In this global age, humanitarian action is being carried out by different actors, bringing with them diverging sets of principles, norms and practices outside the formal humanitarian system. The diaspora communities, particularly the health workers, are largely involved in bringing humanitarian assistance to origin countries in times of crisis. These new players render their professional medical service by taking advantage of the cultural and linguistic familiarity and political and religious affiliation, among others, to get in touch with the affected population as quickly as they can. However, despite their increasing prominence in the humanitarian field, the formal system does not necessarily view them in an equal footing.

This paper gives an overview of how the traditional humanitarian actors engage the diaspora health community in humanitarian action. In countries with specially high density of health professional out-migration, the risks and vulnerabilities of the population are higher in times of crisis. This literature review provides a brief discussion of the dynamics on the increasing prominence and significance of the diaspora health workers in the field of humanitarian action, running in parallel with the traditional humanitarian actors.

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BOULLE, Raphaël "Camping in the Humanitarian Space", 2017

Notre problématique est la question des Camps de Réfugiés, notamment le fait que même s’ils sont sans fin et n’intégrent pas, sont toujours considérés comme des options par les ONGI et le HCR. Question de recherche : Ainsi, quelle est l’influence de la revendication d’un espace humanitaire sur la durée et le choix de « l’option camp » et donc l’intégration de ces réfugiés ? A travers l’exercice de la dissertation, sera avancée l’hypothèse selon laquelle : La durée et le choix de l’option camp est la conséquence pratique de la revendication théorique de l’espace humanitaire limitant ainsi l’intégration des déplacés. Dans un premier temps il s’agira de s’interroger la « solution camp » afin de déceler les facteurs allant à l’encontre de l’intégration des réfugiés et donc de la pérennité des camps. Dans un second temps, une réflexion sera menée autour de la revendication de l’espace humanitaire par les ONGI et des conséquences que la définition de cet espace peut avoir sur le mode de gestion des camps et leur durée. Enfin, après avoir confirmé ou infirmé le lien de causalité entre la revendication de l’espace humanitaire, le choix et la pérennité des camps et le manque d’intégration des déplacés, il s’agira de comprendre pourquoi les humanitaires s’accrochent à cette revendication malgré ces nuisances. Limitations et Méthodologie : Afin de répondre à la problématique qui interroge les relations entre intégration, camps et espace humanitaire, une méthode qualitative sera appliquée. De plus, afin de confirmer ou d’infirmer mon hypothèse portant sur la responsabilité du HCR et des ONGI dans ce processus, deux entretiens ont été mené. L’un en face à face avec Maan Hilal, ancien CCCM13 Program Manager et Camp Manager pour Solidarité International au Liban et en Grèce ; et l’autre par mail avec Rafael Rodovalho, actuel Senior Program Assistant pour UNHCR Brésil. Par ailleurs, du fait de la limite de temps, les interviews ont été menées suivant des questionnaires semi-directifs relativement simples. De ce fait, l’étude est essentiellement basée sur une revue de littérature soit des données secondaires. Enfin, par manque de place dans ce papier, l’étude est focalisée sur la solution de l’intégration et la responsabilité des ONGI et du HCR. Libre à vous de travailler à l’implication des réfugiés et des Etats dans le processus d’encampement. Libre à vous également d’analyser par exemple la relation entre la solution du camp de réfugié et les solutions du rapatriement ou de la réinstallation.

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EL AMIN, Mohamed "From Implementers to Partners? Towards a better understanding of challenges dacing UN-NGO field-based partnerships in the humanitarian sector", 2017

The study identifies key challenges facing field-based partnerships or implementing partnerships, between United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in humanitarian settings particularly in refugee contexts and situations of armed conflict. It finds that while the scale of collaboration between UN agencies and NGOs has increased substantially over the years, they face complex interrelated challenges that undermine their collaboration. State instrumentalization of humanitarian action, its growth, and a resulting culture of competition are challenges of nontechnical nature but have technical implications. On the one hand, they produce conditions unfavourable for efficiency, coverage and effectiveness of humanitarian projects implemented under this modality. On the other hand, they are responsible for exacerbating risks, contributing to burdensome reporting and administrative processes. In other words, the combination of politicisation, competition, and earmarking in the sector create significant financial and nonfinancial risks for UN agencies, which in turn transfer them to their IPs. UN agencies and NGOs, as a result, often collaborate in environments that are conducive for restricted contracting, but not principled, effective and efficient humanitarian partnerships.

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LYIMO, Thomas Victor "Programmatic factors influencing motivation and retention of community health workers (CHWs) in humanitarian emergencies context", 2017

CHWs are essential component of health workforce that play pivotal role in the delivery of- and expanding access to- primary health care of the affected population. In humanitarian emergencies context, they are working under restrictive and unsafe conditions that may in-turn cause demotivation and failure of community health programmes to retain trained CHWs. However, sustaining CHW motivation and retention has been identified as attributes to the observed successes of CHW programmes. This study explores the people management factors embedded into the design and implementation of CHW programmes that influence motivation and retention of CHWs in the humanitarian emergencies. Review of literature relevant to CHW motivation and retention, comparative analysis of policy documents and reports from humanitarian organizations implementing CHWs programmes i.e IFRC and MSF, and key informant interviews with relevant personnel at MSF. Six key people management factors embedded into the design of CHWs programmes were identified, and its interaction in humanitarian emergencies context demonstrated using the theories of workers motivation and retention. Factors identified community-driven selection and recruitment of CHWs, duty of care, training and personal development process, fairly compensated workload, provision of adequate financial and non-financial incentives, and supportive supervision. CHWs remained one of the most reliable vehicle for delivery of key community-besed interventions and backbone for successes of community health programmes for saving lives and improve health and wellbeing of affected populations. The six key people management factors are crucial from programmes designing stage to execution to retain trained CHW and keep them motivated to perfom.

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MAHMOUD, Serri (Sura) "Challenges of Childre Born by ISIS Rape in Iraq", 2017

Since the invasion of self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known by the acronym (Daesh) in 2014, thousands of women were targeted and suffered rape. Women and the children born as a result of rape are not recognized as victims and are forced to live on the fringes of society that causes an isolation of basic rights to health, education, and economic security. Due to the protracted nature of the conflict and the large civilian populations targeted, Daesh has caused a fundamentally new reality that necessitates new processes to heal from the traumas of war. The current Iraqi domestic policies create an institutional environment that further stigmatizes the afflicted population and fuels the cycle of terrorism. The government of Iraq needs to recognize this generation of stateless children as an issue in the post-crisis and reconciliation processes and put the full weight of the national leadership behind new policies that create accountability at the local levels of government and integrates victims back into the societal fabric. The international community can apply pressure to the government of Iraq to act in accordance with the standards of the international laws they are legally bound to. However, there is an unspoken stigma (re)produced by INGOs because the small-scale projects (such as assistance for victims of rape and their children) do not produce the international allure that will motivate donors to support the issue. The current trends of social activism and humanitarian operations are focused on issues such as feeding hungry children or stopping the trafficking of children and sexual slavery.

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MATEI, Luciana "Branding: a business concept in the humanitarian sector. In the haze of theoretical and practical challenges", 2017

Aside the military fashion of ‘missions’, ‘field officers’ and ‘operations’, the humanitarian language started to add business and corporatist substances, such as ‘beneficiaries’, ‘clients’ ‘accountability’ and ‘brands’. The increasing trend of business terms adoption goes hand in hand with humanitarians embracing a wide array of business-like practices. This paper aims to contribute to the ongoing debates on the implications of humanitarian to business shifting by exploring the theoretical and practical interferences of branding into the humanitarian field. Branding steams out from business economics and commercial practice, being mainly associated with monetary gain and profit pursuit. Overall, this thesis attempts to add to the critical reflections on the evolution of the humanitarian action by exploring to which degree, why and how branding is imported into the non-profit humanitarian sector.

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MOHAMED, Fakhreldin "Human Resources Management and the Protection of Volunteer Workers in Conflicts. Case study: Syrian and Iraqi Arab Red Crescent Societies", 2017

The HRM function in organization is an area where security management and legislation eventually come together. The duty of care towards staff is HRM’s raison d'être. Employment legislation can provide a robust framework for protection especially if the safety of the staff or volunteers has been compromised in a context like Syria and Iraq. The objective of this work is to explore how the concept of duty of care is being implemented by the National Red Crescent Societies in Syria and Iraq as well as to highlight the gaps between policies and practices. This research relies on literature reviews from internal policies of IFRC, reports collected from the internet, and an interview conducted with members of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. It sees that a gap exists between policies and practices, mainly in employment legislation and insurance. It is important that SARC and ICRS have appropriate insurance policies and ensure adequate accident insurance for volunteers. The IFRC has to advocate for volunteers’ security among its national societies, to establish volunteer friendly environment, to promote volunteers and volunteering and to pay attention to gender balance issues among these two national societies, SARC and ICRS, and to ensure that the lessons learned are strategically in place.

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NU, Ja "Localisation of Humanitarian Action: a case study on Myanmar", 2017

Humanitarian sector is facing the challenge of ever-increasing gap between humanitarian needs and resource available. A new and better way of financing to reduce the gap is one of the important agenda discussed at World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). This paper is a study on how localisation commitments made at WHS could be translated into actions in Myanmar context. The paper begins with the analyses of the definitions, reasons of localisation presented at WHS, why it is considered better, the strategies to achieve it and the critics around localisation agenda. The paper also researched if localisation discussed at WHS is a new concept, specifically in Myanmar context. Localisation of humanitarian action is understood as local actors taking the leadership role and being at the centre of the humanitarian response. At the same time, international actors support the role of local actors using their strengths to complement rather than taking over the leadership role. In such efforts the principles of partnership should be observed at all time so that local actors play a key decision-making role at every stage, from needs assessment through project design to implementation and evaluation. A power shift has to happen allowing local actors to control and manage resources.

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RAMIREZ MENDOZA, Jessica, "The Role of First Responders and South-South Cooperation during Earthquake’s Response and Management", 2017. 

In the 20 years from 1996 to 2016, over half of deaths caused by natural disasters were linked to earthquakes. Nevertheless, some deaths are preventable through cost-effective investments in preparedness. Despite initiatives to promote capacity building and preparedness worldwide, sustainability of these activities remains a challenge, and communities particularly those from the Global South remain vulnerable to earthquakes. This research explores whether a framework for SSC knowledge exchange can be designed to improve the capacity of first responders from countries prone to earthquakes, and provides an analysis of early response and management during three major earthquakes (Nepal, Ecuador, and Haiti) to identify lessons learnt worth sharing. Qualitative and quantitative information on vulnerabilities and capacities of countries at very-high risk of earthquakes and high mortality, combined with interviews with experts facilitated the development of the SSC framework. Potential challenges for implementation of SSC were highlighted and include major funding gaps combined with the inappropriate documentation and monitoring of SSC activities. The case studies revealed the strong apprehension from humanitarian actors to work in cooperation with governments during earthquake response and missed opportunities to utilize local capacities. Advocacy for SSC preparedness programs that integrate communities prone to earthquakes with the humanitarian and development actors may help shift this trend.

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REFAI, Alaa, "When humanity is washed ashore of Europe: SAR operations in the Mediterranean, their challenges and roles in the context of the Refugee crisis", 2017. 

The number of deaths in the Mediterranean continues to hit the record year after year since the beginning of Europe refugees’ crisis in 2012, scaling up to 2,297 deaths in 2017. Instead of increasing search and rescue (SAR) capacity in the Mediterranean, Europe has intensified the migrants control procedures by deploying more security and military agents at sea, despite legal duties to provide SAR that are stipulated in many laws and conventions. The failure of the European response led to the emergence of a new phenomenon: humanitarian SAR operations run by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society initiatives in order to fill the gap. Many factors have paved the way for the proliferation of this phenomenon. The complexity and multifaceted nature of the crisis, together with various actors involved in the rescue scene with conflicting objectives, imposed new challenges and produced many critiques that put humanitarian SAR actors in a dilemma: whether to save people’s life or to comply with states’ procedures and challenge their adherence to the humanitarian principles of independence,  impartiality and neutrality. Overall, SAR NGOs - in addition to saving lives- have played a unique yet important political role in the Mediterranean context.

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ABUELGASIM, Meriam, "Communication between INGOs and the media in respect to the kidnapping of Aid workers", 2016. 

The purpose of this study is to explore and analyze, if and why, there has been a change in INGO reporting of the kidnapping cases of humanitarian aid workers in the post-Cold War and since The Global War on Terror (GWOT). An effort will be made to interpret the information to determine to what extent INGOs have understood the affects, and power, of media reporting during the kidnapping of aid workers. This paper will endeavor to address issues spreading farther than the concept of ‘humanitarian access’; it will extend to the topics of security and policies, the sensitivity of negotiation processes, the propensity to avoid highlighting organizational weaknesses in public and the delicate relationships that must be maintained with donors in order for programs to continue.

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CHAVEZ AGUIRRE, Oscar, "Humanitarian Protection in Violent Urban Settings: Challenges and Dynamics", 2016. 

Today more than three billion people, half of the world´s population, are living in urban areas. The increase of urban violence in some cities has reached even higher intensity levels of violence than armed conflicts. In response, over the past five years, humanitarian organizations are increasingly interested in the humanitarian consequences of urban violence, and are focusing more in violent urban settings in order to provide protection to urban dwellers. While humanitarians are playing a crucial role in providing protection to victims of urban violence, they are also facing challenges to give it. This paper explores those challenges that affect the humanitarian protection activities carried out by humanitarian actors in violent urban settings. Based on evidence from a literature review of primary and secondary sources, complemented by interviews with key experts on urban violence, and looking at the particular case of Mexico, the research reveals that there are assessment, security, legal, coordination, and human resources challenges. Those challenges are caused by the complexity of the urban setting and its dynamics, which are explored in this paper. Moreover, the study proved that humanitarian actors need to adapt protection strategies to the realities of urban violence. Since understanding these protection challenges should enable humanitarians to take operational measures and adapt approaches accordingly, the present paper concludes with some recommendations which would help them face the challenges identified in the research. Future studies should go deeper into legal and ethical aspects of the challenges identified and, in particular, into how to overcome the protection challenges identified and bring operational solutions. This would be necessary so as to continue improving the protection response, and alleviating suffering of victims of urban violence.

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DAVIDOFF, Valérie, "The contribution of anthropology during the operational response to an Ebola outbreak. An analysis of the West African Ebola epidemic", 2016. 

This paper analyses the anthropological contributions to the Ebola outbreak response from the 2000s until today. The recent West African Ebola outbreak is used as a case study to see if past findings and recommendations have been taken into account, and how. The first part of this paper reviews selected literature on the topic, while the second part, which is fed by interviews, questions the findings in the literature to determine the knowledge gaps and/or the limits in anthropology for better responses in the future.

The approach used by pioneering anthropologists in the 2000s was still being used during the last outbreak in West Africa, despite some past criticism. From a positive side, the approach has helped to improve the response while being culturally more appropriate and therefore more efficient. At the same time, taking local knowledge into consideration and integrating the communities might help to reduce misunderstandings and potential resistance towards response teams.

Despite these recommendations, a question remains as to how the humanitarian actors (including MSF and the WHO) have integrated this advice (or not) into their response. The findings in this paper indicate that anthropologists and humanitarian workers have attempted to collaborate during the last outbreak; however, efforts still need to be done to reach an anthropology that might be “humanitarian friendly” and used as a toolbox.

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ELGAYAR, Wasel, "Humanitarian shelter response in urban setting during armed conflict", 2016. 

Today most refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) live in cities not camps, where they seek better living conditions, job opportunities and anonymity. Many moved in search of safety from conflict, persecution or disaster. Rapid and effective urban shelter response is not just essential for survival and alleviating suffering but also contributes to security, safety, health and well-being of refugees, IDPs and affected populations. In addition, it promotes recovery in affected cities that are complex, vulnerable and dynamic. Therefore more knowledge and better understanding of the policy and the practice of shelter support in urban conflict is urgently needed in humanitarian action, especially in the Middle East, where the largest number of people made homeless by conflict are found. This dissertation questions how shelter policy is implemented is urban conflict, focusing on the Middle East. It uses comparative analysis of information gathered in semi-structured interviews concerning two contemporary case studies, Damascus and Gaza, Arab cities facing the consequences of armed conflicts with increasing number of refugees and IDPs. Certain ways are identified for a more effective shelter response leading to safer and more dignified shelter solutions in conflict and post-conflict urban settings in the Middle East and beyond.

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HENNE, Sonja, "Responsible Deployment of New Technologies in Humanitarian Crises",2016. 

Since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 a surge of new technologies has been observed in humanitarian action. This phenomenon has been described as ‘digital humanitarianism’. While in the early years many information technologists and humanitarians expressed great enthusiasm about the possibilities these tools and methods offer, more recently scholars and practitioners have voiced a number of concerns. These include operational challenges as well as ethical reservations. A call for frameworks has been made by several experts in the field. In response, a number of the larger stakeholders in the humanitarian ecosystem, such as the UN, the ICRC, Médecins Sans Frontières and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative have commenced discussions and started working on standards. This dissertation reviews the challenges associated with the new technologies, assesses the main guidelines which have been drafted to date and identifies a number of gaps for further reflection. Two case studies, the earthquakes in Nepal 2015 and in Ecuador 2016, are being reviewed.

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KAZWINI, Batoul, "Participation of people affected by conflict in humanitarian action: Between theory and practice Case study: "Al-Busira" project - Syria", 2016. 

Participation, a concept inspired from the development world, continues to challenge humanitarian actors in understanding and practice. The need for fast responses which is the main character of the humanitarian action made actors doubt the possibility of doing high leveled participation during their fast and mostly short term interventions. Humanitarian actors finally agreed on the importance and the possibility of engaging with communities in humanitarian projects even in conflict situations which is normally more challenging, however, practice still shows a need for more progress. Guidelines and donors’ declarations are pushing toward more effective involvement with affected communities to achieve higher quality and transparency. Yet, lower levels of participation, mostly the consultative and the functional forms are still the most dominant in humanitarian projects. 

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MICHILES, Frank, "Nepal: Different crises, Different Impacts", 2016. 

For a growing number of communities worldwide, man-made and natural disasters have impacted the health systems in significant ways. Both types of crises often produce the same result: an imbalance in the cohesiveness of a regions health system’s supporting pillars compromising the population’s health care as reflected in health indicators. This dissertation explores the impact on the health system of Nepal from two crises. The first man-made, the civil war (1996-2006). The second by natural disaster, the 2015 earthquake. This paper relies on a review of authoritative literature from peer-reviewed journals, reports and grey literature. This paper utilizes The WHO Health Systems Framework consisting of the six building blocks which form the pillars of a well functioning health delivery system (i.e. governance, service delivery, workforce, sustainable financing, medical drugs and supplies and information) to assess the relative effect of each crisis upon the health system of Nepal.

The financing and information pillars were highly affected in both crises. The governance and workforce pillars were highly impacted by the civil war while the earthquake had a lesser effect. The service delivery and medical drugs and supplies were highly impacted by the earthquake with only moderate impact caused by the civil war. As will be discussed in detail, the reasons for differences in the results lies in numerous factors including the political environment, the massive destruction of infrastructure and various other issues.

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ORTEGA CRUZ, Constanza, "Empowerment of Women during Conflict and Post-Conflict Phases and the Role of Humanitarian Aid Organizations in Supporting Women’s Newfound Empowerment Gained during Conflict", 2016. 

In patriarchal societies, women are particularly vulnerable and targeted in several forms during an armed conflict. This is mainly due to a continuance of gender inequality. However, a conflict can also be a time of opportunity for women’s empowerment due to changes in their traditional roles and new responsibilities that they must assume in the absence of men who are away fighting in the conflict. Nevertheless, in many post-conflict scenarios achievements in the area of women’s empowerment are often reversed and, no matter how well women may have taken on new public and social roles or developed new skills and competencies, they tend to go back to their previous roles as mothers, wives and home keepers. Once men return from conflict, they want to go back to the previous status quo. Often during conflicts, there are temporary changes in gender roles but not in gender identities. Consequently, women are not well prepared to hold on to their new positions. This dissertation explores if there is a role humanitarian organizations can play in maintaining women’s empowerment in post-conflict scenarios through the observation of the main elements which contribute to women’s empowerment during a conflict period. It will also examine the principal obstacles to maintaining this empowerment in a post-conflict phase.

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SACKO, Moussa, "Action humanitaire et déterminants de la résilience des ménages dans une situation de post conflit Cas de la région de Tombouctou (Nord du Mali) après la crise de 2012", 2016. 

La question de recherche est la suivante: Quels sont les déterminants de la résilience des ménages dans la région de Tombouctou (Niafounké) après le conflit armé de 2012 ? Et comment les organisations humanitaires présentes dans la région depuis des décennies ont agi sur les déterminants de cette résilience, et peuvent-elles améliorer l’efficacité de leur action dans le futur ? Cette question de recherche, au-delà des configurations climatiques et économiques décrites cidessus, est liée à un contexte de crise et de fortes perturbations. Le « resilience thinking » nécessite la compréhension et l’engagement avec un monde où il y a des changements. La question de recherche y trouve son sens en permettant de contribuer à la compréhension de la résilience des ménages dans cette région dans une situation post-conflit mais aussi de proposer des pistes allant dans le sens de l’amélioration des actions des organisations humanitaires. 

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SALIM, Muhammad, "Delivery of humanitarian assistance by International Development Contractors (IDCs) and its consequences for traditional humanitarian actors – a case of Pakistan", 2016. 

Owing largely to the multiplicity of actors resulting mainly from unprecedented exponential growth of humanitarian activity in the recent past, IDCs are among the emergent players on aidscape. Though the humanitarian flagship reports, clubbing funding to traditional actors and IDCs under the same category of „humanitarian assistance‟, can be misleading on their exact share, yet the analysis on financial data of individual donors indicated that a good chunk is channeled through IDCs. The upwards trends concerning the role of IDCs can largely be attributed to the contracting out policies of major donors, revolving door policy among IDCs and major donors, their possibility to socialize with donors as well as evidence supporting that the IDCs have even funded political campaigns in some donor countries. Drawing on the fact that these IDCs are profit driven and may even work towards the achievement of certain political goals of donor countries, their ability to generate resources is termed as a trade-off between „generating additional resources‟ and „respecting humanitarian principles‟. This certainly has negative consequences for traditional humanitarian actors as the growing influence of IDCs is causing issues of competition for resources, coordination at operational level and posing challenges to traditional actors in maintaining their humanitarian capacity.

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SHAHZAD, Neelofar, "Participation of affected women in post disaster responses particularly livelihoods strategies – reality or myth", 2016. 

Women are usually among the worst affected segments when a disaster hits an area. Several researchers and writers have reiterated that women have certain capacities and capabilities but which the postdisaster responses hardly take into account. Likewise, several theoretical as well as legal frameworks and guidelines substantiate the importance of affected women’s participation across different phases of the developmental as well as humanitarian program cycle management. Nevertheless, evidence shows that real participation of women in general and the most vulnerable of them in particular is hardly ensured at the critical stage of needs-assessment.

The lack of involvement at needs-assessment stages has further implications on gender sensitive programming. Hence, the literature review as well as the analysis on selected humanitarian response-plans suggest drastic improvement in livelihood’s strategies from the perspective of vulnerability and gender sensitivities. Moreover, the post-disaster needs-assessments should take good care of the pre-existing gender gaps.This gender-balanced analysis should translate that the post-disaster response strategies, particularly livelihoods, are designed based on equity approach to address the gender and vulnerability issues in a more systematic way.

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VANNATTER, Tricia, "Intimate Partner Violence and humanitarian action: considering cultural context and gender dynamics", 2016. 

Gender-based violence occurs against women all over the world but the problem is worse in the context of humanitarian crises. Despite a growing awareness about the increased prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in crisis settings, there is a lack of research on effective interventions to prevent and respond to IPV. In Arab regions IPV is experienced in a context of traditional patriarchal culture and unequal gender dynamics where society is largely tolerant of violence against women, including women. There is a lack of understanding on how to address this since most research and interventions have been designed based on experiences in the West and non-Arab contexts. This paper explores the context of Syrian refugee women in Lebanon and uses the social ecological model to help frame how humanitarian interventions tackle IPV. This paper examines whether interventions take into account the complex environment of culture-specific gender relations in which women experience IPV. IPV is a difficult area to research given the sensitive nature of the topic but to be effective humanitarian interventions must implement culturally competent interventions that consider the different levels of the social ecological model.

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AL NAWAKIL, Marya, "Victims’ Representation in Humanitarian Campaigns: The Case of the Syrian Crisis", 2015. 

Tackles the representation of Syrian victims in three different NGO campaigns: Save the children “Most shocking second a day” video, Islamic Relief “The children of Syria” campaign and lastly WithSyria campaign. In fact, the purpose of this paper is to firstly present the critics around humanitarian images and appeals, secondly to identify whether the representation of Syrian victims in the campaigns mentioned above embody any innovative and new ways of portrayal mainly based on Chouliaraki’s study on post-humanitarian communication. Actually, a shift in the representation of victims in appeals took place which moved from “shock” images which were condemned for dehumanizing and victimizing the subjects and “positive” images criticized for glossing over the misery of the suffering to a less emotion oriented style of appeals which favors low-intensity engagement and follows the development of social media and technology, thus commodifying the action, rendering it unable to go beyond the playful games that these new appeals offer. This shift in fact appears in the campaigns analyzed in this paper, where the NGOs have resorted to a click of a mouse type of engagement and use playful games such as optical illusions and hyperreality to provoke solidarity with the distant Syrian suffering. On the other hand, these recent campaigns have also used more “traditional” ways of representation, in which women and children remain the main focus of charities and idiom of suffering and misery and have proven that melodrama is still necessary to provoke emotions and calls for solidarity.

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BILLAT, Celine, "The Funding of Humanitarian Action by Non-Western Donors: The Sustainability of Gulf States’ Contribution", 2015. 

Non-Western donors are increasingly funding humanitarian action and among them Gulf States are dominating the aid flows. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar are the four Gulf donors most significantly contributing. Indeed, those four donors have raised their contributions from 1% of the total humanitarian funding in 2000 to reach 7% in 2014.The main issue is therefore to address the following question: is increasing Gulf States’ contribution to humanitarian action a sustainable trend? Or is it only due to ad hoc and temporary reasons and might thus wane once these specific factors disappear? This paper argues that Gulf States high-level humanitarian funding is indeed likely to continue on a middle/long term perspective.

This finding is based on the three main following arguments. Gulf States’ donorship is anchored in their religion and culture, combined with great political interests in funding humanitarian action essentially linked with their strategic foreign policy considerations (Part I). These factors lead Gulf States to implement a sustainable strategy articulated around two parallel dynamics: the integration into the traditional humanitarian system (understood as the Western system coordinated by the UN) through increased penetration of its institutions and increased funding and partnerships with Western actors (Part II) at the same time as the building of their own national and regional institutional and operational systems (Part III).

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CAICEDO BUCHELI, Maria Alejandra, "Promoting Healthy Lifestyles in Humanitarian Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities", 2015. 

The increasing awareness of the risks and demands of humanitarian work has prompted the strengthening of safety and mental care protection strategies for humanitarian staff in the last decade. Humanitarian organizations in their duty of care are transforming their programs towards more holistic health approaches for their personnel. However, some organizational dynamics plus the complexity of the context where they operate, pose a variety of difficulties to promote healthy lifestyles for those involved in the humanitarian aid sector. Through searching databases and conducting interviews with researchers and health staff managers from four International Humanitarian Organizations, this document explores health practices covered by these organizations’ units of staff care. The main challenges in promoting health are related to issues inherent to the definition of the concept of lifestyle itself, narrow staff care policies, cultural diversity, living locations constraints, weaknesses in health data gathering systems and an organizational culture that neglects selfcare.

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MEILIAN, Lin, "What Made China Behave Differently? China’s Perception of Humanitarian Assistance", 2015. 

Analyzes the Chinese perception of humanitarian action using a case study on the media coverage of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines between the Global Times and the New York Times. Through literature review and media analysis, the findings indicate that as a new player in the Western-centric humanitarian system, China is lacking confidence. Thus it does not feel comfortable to be compared with the US. Moreover, as China does not want to be seen as in the same box with the West, it is unlike to alliance between the West and China on humanitarian assistance. Based on these findings, this paper explores China’s potential role in international humanitarian assistance and proposes strategic recommendations for engaging with China.

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NZEYIMANA, Henri, "Localizing Humanitarian Response: Can the Rhetoric Translate into Concrete Action? South Sudan Case Study", 2015. 

This research focuses on the long standing question of capacity development/strengthening for local and national actors so as to assume leadership and management of humanitarian response. Research findings prove that this localization process remains a rhetoric owing to multiple factors including humanitarian funding that is short-term, inaccessible in most parts to local actors and often serves to advance donor priorities. Other challenges include humanitarian coordination which prioritizes UN agencies and international NGOS and sideline local actors; a narrow focus of capacity development aimed at INGO performance and accountability for continued donor funding and asymmetrical power relationship between local actors and international agencies. South Sudan case study reveals that in addition to the above-mentioned challenges, the rhetoric and reality gap is founded mainly on the fact that the humanitarian question in South Sudan is much more developmental and embedded in poor local governance and ill-targeted international assistance. Using evidence from literature and data from interviews, the research concludes with an analytical framework of fundamental changes needed to achieve devolution of humanitarian response in South Sudan. This fundamental change passes by an inward-looking perspective to build on existing indigenous capacities and resources so as to shift from supply to demand-driven humanitarian response.

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SANCHEZ BEAN, María Celeste, "Creating Humanitarian Space in the Era of the Global War on Terrorism: Context of the Gaza Strip", 2015. 

Analyses how humanitarian space is created in the Gaza Strip in the context of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) since Hamas came to power in 2007. By adopting a definition of ‘humanitarian space’ as a political arena, it focuses on the negotiated nature of this space and the role played by States and humanitarian international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in its creation. In this line, this research explores how States and humanitarian INGOs interpret the context of Gaza, and its consequences for humanitarian action. With the GWOT acting as a framework, the analysis reveals that the strategy of States to defeat Hamas has focused on targeting its welfare system, both by imposing the blockade and by controlling the provision of aid, including that of INGOs. On the other hand, it suggests that INGOs’ interpretation of their role as neutral and apolitical has led them to disregard the very political nature of their activities in Gaza, and to be instrumentalized in the war against Hamas.

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