Category Archives: Focus (VEN)

Humanitarian implications of a re-assertion of State sovereignty

Duncan Mclean • Researcher, Médecins Sans Frontières

D. Mclean

Whilst there is indeed a trend towards the strengthening of State sovereignty, this concept is more multifaceted and ambivalent than it might appear. The author invites us to take stock of its developments, its complexity and the implications for humanitarian work. Read the article

The endless restructuring of the humanitarian sector : an inappropriate search for performance ?

Perrine Laissus-Benoist • Clersé-Lille 1-CNRS

P. Laissus-Benoist

A refrain constantly heard in the process of professionalisation, the call to restructure the world of humanitarian intervention often takes the form of a reformating based on the principles of neoliberal dogma. According to the author, this quest for performance is ill-suited to the complexity of humanitarian action and poorly serves the populations concerned. Read the article

Aid workers and the uprooted: chronic of a parallel evolution

François Grünewald • Directeur général et scientifique du Groupe URD (Urgence-Réhabilitation-Développement)

F. Grünewald

The issue of population movement didn’t start with the Mediterranean refugee saga. And it only became a “migrant crisis” when the concurrence of conflicts, natural disasters and poverty encountered the incompetence of western nations. In this historical and semantic analysis, François Grünewald reminds us that, since they first existed, aid workers have always provided assistance to “the wretched of the earth”. Read the article

Sovereignty as responsibility in East Asia’s response to crises

Oscar A.Gómez • Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

O. A. Gómez

Though aspects of Oscar Gómez’s article resonate with Duncan Mclean’s opening article, one is not a reflection of the other. The former has the merit of shifting the gaze on this concept to show us how it has evolved over the past fifty years, in East and Southeast Asia. Read the article

The “hybridisation of humanitarianism”: ordinary citizens in French migrant camps

Marjorie Gerbier-Aublanc • Docteure en sociologie

M. Gerbier-Aublanc

In 1968, French doctors decided to travel to Biafra to help the Igbo people. Later, they supported migrants in the South China Sea and elsewhere. Now, working alongside NGOs, ordinary citizens scandalised by the treatment of migrants are mobilising here in France in response to this crisis. In doing so, they are inventing a new way of engaging in humanitarian action. Read the article

Biafra: at the heart of postcolonial humanitarian ambiguities

Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps • Historienne, université de Manchester et université de Genève

M. L. Desgrandchamps

In short, this is where it all began: history and legend, ambiguities and dilemmas, principles and their limits. Drawing on her recent book on Biafra, Marie-Luce Desgrandchamps looks back at what took place in Nigeria fifty years ago. Pierre Micheletti and Bruno-Georges David then discuss how images and representations of humanitarian work have evolved over half a century.
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The use of digital tools at large scale: lessons from a health programme in Burkina Faso

Enric Jané • Terre des hommes, Switzerland

Guillaume Foutry • Terre des hommes, Burkina Faso

Simon Sanou • Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso

E. Jané

G. Foutry

S. Sanou

The first article of this Focus is feedback from a digital health project Terre des hommes has led for almost eight years. This timeframe makes it possible for the authors to argue that from the outset a project such as this must be designed on a large scale and in cooperation with the government, that it must follow an iterative approach to continuously take user feedback into account and overcome resistance to change

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The arbitration required between possibilities of new technologies and usefulness for populations

Karine Le Roch, Nicolas Dennefeld, Caroline Antoine, Melchior de Roquemaurel, Jonathan Bureau, Myriam Ait-Aissa • Action Contre la Faim

K. Le Roch

N. Dennefeld

C. Antoine

M. de Roquemaurel

K. Bureau

M. Ait-Aissa






The resurgence of new technological tools requires humanitarian actors to take stock of their possibilities, applicability and interest for populations.

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At the era of “humanitarian digitisation”, lifting the veil of newness

Nathaniel A. Raymond and Daniel P. Scarnecchia • Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

N. Raymond

D. Scarnecchia

Applications of digital information communication technologies (ICTs) are now commonplace across the disaster response cycle. But some gaps leave a critical and emerging set of risk factors largely unaddressed in a comprehensive way by the humanitarian sector. Read the article

Fostering good practices in the use of information and communications technologies

Maëve de France et Nina-Flore Eissen • CartONG

M. de France

N-F. Eissen

Integrating the use of new technologies within an NGO cannot be improvised. This is the key message Maëve de France and Nina-Flore Eissen pass on here. The two authors present strong recommendations for the humanitarian sector based on CartONG’s significant experience in the subject.

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