Category Archives: non classé

Call for papers for the 17th issue of Humanitarian Alternatives

In view of its 17th issue, to be published in July 2021, the Humanitarian Alternatives review is launching a call for papers for its Focus on a topic whose provisional title is “Research and humanitarian aid: the challenges of a collaboration”. If you are a participant, researcher, or observer of the international humanitarian field, and wish to submit an article proposal on this topic, please send a summary of your argument and a draft plan (2 pages maximum) to the following email address before February 15th 2021: contact@alternatives-humanitaires.org. You will receive a reply by March 1st 2021 at the latest.

The final article must be submitted before May 31st 2021, with the average length being around 15 000 characters, including spaces (or approximately 2 400 words). Around six or seven articles will be accepted for this section.

As for every issue, your proposals are also welcome for the “Perspectives”, “Transitions”, “Innovations”, “Ethics”, “Reportage” and “Tribune” columns.

Research and humanitarian aid: the challenges of a collaboration

Section co-directed with Valéry Ridde, head of research at the IRD (France) and ISED/UCAD (Senegal), and Daouda Diouf, executive director of Enda-Santé (Senegal)

Despite noteworthy collaborations and the joint work that has been carried out over the last few years, a persistent wariness remains between researchers and humanitarian actors. The former are still sometimes seen as lesson-givers, comfortably settled in their ivory towers, whereas the latter are, in the eyes of the researchers, incapable of thinking before acting. However, few would dispute the respective qualities of each group. It is acknowledged that research teams display methodological rigour, knowledge of theories and expertise in fields (nutrition, health, transport, cities, etc) and contexts (areas, countries, societies, etc) that has been built up over the course of their long-term involvement. No one denies that humanitarian actors have significant capacities for action and reaction, long-term field partners, and expertise in the management and follow-up of projects, as well as humanist values. But the problem lies in the merging of these qualities in order to work together and collaborate. This dichotomy of skills and knowledge is all the more caricatural given that it still too often contributes to reciprocal ignorance or to the undervaluation of joint work.

Those who are familiar with these two worlds know that these caricatural visions are out-of-date. People from both worlds navigate between the two. Many current researchers in the field of humanitarian action were formerly volunteers or employees of NGOs. Partnerships between research teams and NGOs have proven fruitful. We have even seen universities create units to implement humanitarian interventions, and we can no longer keep count of the number of NGOs that have created departments or foundations devoted to research on humanitarian action. The boundaries between these two worlds, formerly real or artificially maintained, have thus become very permeable, especially if we focus less on institutions than on the way in which people from the two worlds collaborate.

Yet the fact remains that these collaborations have not been exploited to their fullest potential, beyond persistent prejudices. Indeed, the organisation of partnerships between humanitarian workers and researchers is never easy. But this collaboration will only really bear fruit if each party realises that it would enable them to go beyond what has already been achieved. Research can give humanitarian actors the means to base their actions on proven theories and conclusive data in order to maximise their efficiency in the field. It can produce knowledge about their actions to go beyond the accountability of the monitoring and evaluation required by sponsors, and become more generalised, to better share the lessons learned and to better capitalise on experiences. Humanitarian actors can be partners for research teams seeking to test interventions whose potential for efficiency and equity has been demonstrated by their research. They can be involved in the sharing of data and field results, but also in processes of advocacy in order to change practices and policies. Yet there are many pitfalls, and the challenges of this partnership remain complex. These problems are clearly institutional, since these two kinds of organisation have opposing cultures, which does not facilitate collaboration between them. Their members also follow very different training routes. Whilst they often share a critical view of the world, they see its transformation on very different timescales which ought to be complementary. Finally, we must not neglect the fact that the possibilities of negative influence, and even manipulation, are also numerous, especially when we take into account the importance of sponsors in the financing of the two domains.

It is on this relationship between the worlds of humanitarian aid and research that we would like to invite you to reflect in this special Focus of the Humanitarian Alternatives review. We want to allow actors from both of these worlds, and their observers, to suggest practical and theoretical reflections on these issues. We especially hope to come up with answers to the following questions:

  • What are the challenges of collaboration between research and humanitarian aid?
  • Which processes might reinforce collaboration between research and humanitarian aid?
  • How can we better train the actors of these two domains in order to better collaboration?
  • Which influences (positive/negative) can emerge from these partnerships?
  • How can research collaborate with humanitarian action whilst maintaining its independence and rigour?
  • How can humanitarian aid collaborate with research without being hampered by the slow pace of knowledge-production?
  • How are power issues taken into account in these collaborations?
  • What are the particularities of partnerships driven by researchers and humanitarian actors from the Global North, of those driven by researchers and humanitarian actors from the Global South, and of those occurring at the intersection of these two poles?
  • What are the institutional and individual issues involved in these collaborations?
  • How are reciprocal influences and links/conflicts of interest taken into account?

The articles that we are looking for are intended to share experiences, as reflexive texts enabling the authors to share the lessons drawn from their experiences. We do not expect theoretical articles, but authors must ground their analyses in a rigorous approach based on field data.

Call for papers for Humanitarian Alternatives eighth issue

In view of the publication of its 8th issue, to be released in July 2018, Humanitarian Alternatives is calling for papers under its next focus theme “The rise of new technologies: utility, misuses and meaning”. If you are an actor, a researcher or an observer of the international humanitarian community and wish to submit a proposal for an article, please send us a summary and the outline of the paper (2 pages maximum) before March 5th at the following address: contact@alternatives-humanitaires.org. We will respond within 15 days following the reception of your proposal. Continue reading

Coming soon the 6th issue “NGOs and the private sector: threat or opportunity?”

We are pleased to announce the publication of our next issue:

“NGOs and the private sector: threat or opportunity”

Discover below the presentation of the Focus and the summary of the next issue.

Publication dates:
November, 20 – Online
November, 27 – Printed edition

Presentation

For several years, the humanitarian ecosystem has been undergoing a transition. Alongside  traditional actors, the United Nations and NGOs in particular, the private sector (ie companies and company foundations) made a notable entry into the humanitarian field, either in the form of field actions or funding. More broadly, new practices (direct remittance of cash to populations, assistance delivered via lucrative networks [credit cards, mobile phones, drones, etc.] and, beyond that, managerial logics inspired by the business world [certification, evaluation, human resources management, “professionalisation”]) undoubtedly transform the aid sector.

Some see a risk of confusion when others commend a welcome extension of the actions in support of vulnerable populations, with NGOs now able to count on new partners with skills, technical means and funding that are beginning to cruelly lack.

In any case, this transformation generates many discussions and oppositions, sometimes symptomatic of a clash of cultures between companies and NGOs. And we will certainly not get out of it by falling back, as is too often the case today, on an opposition. Isn’t there a middle way between disparaging and the defence of a territory that belongs to no one?

The time has come for all of us to acknowledge this evolution. The aim of this issue is to present a global report on the situation and set the terms of a dialogue between companies and NGOs: is profit/not-for-profit still a relevant frontier? Should we impose limits on companies? What advocacy speech can NGOs carry? Which authority could be the guardian of a shared ethic? In the end, the question is how this addition of private initiatives (because NGOs are also private structures) can serve the general interest, that of suffering populations.

Summary

  • Editorial

Businesses and NGOs: the maturity of the debate – Boris Martin

  • Perspectives

Humanitarian aid in Palestine: reconsidering neutrality through child protection –  Joan Deas & Elise Reslinger

  • Focus : NGOS and the private sector: threat or opportunity? 

Are NGOs the sole purveyors of honourable intentions? – Mathieu Dufour

Reconciliating economics and social concerns: the example of arcenciel in Lebanon – Kristel Guyon

When NGOs and lucrative organisations collaborate: the economic integration of refugees in Ecuador – Lucie Laplace

Partnerships with private operators: the necessary debate among NGOs – Anne-Aël Pohu

  • Transitions

From resilience to localisation, or how slogans are not enough for an in-depth reform of the humanitarian sector – Perrine Laissus-Benoist & Benoît Lallau 

  • Innovations

New challenges in the context of violent urban settings – Oscar Felipe Chavez Aguirre

  • Reportage

Humanitarian Visa d’Or of the ICRC. 2011-2017 : seven years of reflection

  • Culture

Totally Brax
Books: A philosophical investigation and the “Plight of Hospitality” – Lessons from the past to better manage the future

 

To order the printed edition of the next issue

click here

Call for papers for Humanitarian Alternatives sixth issue

In the perspective of the publication of Humanitarian Alternatives sixth issue, in November 2017, the review is launching a call for papers on its Focus theme “Businesses and NGOs: alliance or defiance, threat or opportunity?” If you are an actor, a researcher or an observer of the international humanitarian community, and wish to submit a proposal for an article, please send us a summary and the outline of the paper (2 pages maximum) before July 17, 2017 to the following email: contact@alternatives-humanitaires.org. We will respond within 7 days following the receipt of your proposal.

The final deadline for submitting the article will be September 25, 2017. Please observe that the article must be around 15 000 signs (approximately 2,400 words).

Humanitarian Alternatives
N°6 – November 2017
« Focus » Theme
Businesses and NGOs: alliance or defiance, threat or opportunity?

For several years, the humanitarian ecosystem has been undergoing a transition. Alongside  traditional actors, the United Nations and NGOs in particular, the private sector (ie companies and company foundations) made a notable entry into the humanitarian field, either in the form of field actions or funding. More broadly, new practices (direct remittance of cash to populations, assistance delivered via lucrative networks [credit cards, mobile phones, drones, etc.] and, beyond that, managerial logics inspired by the business world [certification, evaluation, human resources management, “professionalisation”]) undoubtedly transform the aid sector.

Some see a risk of confusion when others commend a welcome extension of the actions in support of vulnerable populations, with NGOs now able to count on new partners with skills, technical means and funding that are beginning to cruelly lack.

In any case, this transformation generates many discussions and oppositions, sometimes symptomatic of a clash of cultures between companies and NGOs. And we will certainly not get out of it by falling back, as is too often the case today, on an opposition. Isn’t there a middle way between disparaging and the defence of a territory that belongs to no one?

The time has come for all of us to acknowledge this evolution. The aim of this issue is to present a global report on the situation and set the terms of a dialogue between companies and NGOs: is profit/not-for-profit still a relevant frontier? Should we impose limits on companies? What advocacy speech can NGOs carry? Which authority could be the guardian of a shared ethic? In the end, the question is how this addition of private initiatives (because NGOs are also private structures) can serve the general interest, that of suffering populations.

Coming soon the 5th issue “Africa: between shadow and light”

We are pleased to announce the publication of our next issue: “Africa: between shadow and light”

It will be available online by July 5th and in the printed version from July 10th.

Presentation of the 5th issue

Like humanity, it is in Africa where, in a way, the modern humanitarian aid was born. In 1968, almost 50 years ago, the embryo of MSF took shape in the reduced Biafra, challenging the ICRC’s hegemony. Above all, by pointing the spotlight on Africa, NGOs and the media unveiled what would almost become the “humanitarian continent” with its many famines and wars also nourishing a victim iconography. It is undoubtedly there when afro-pessimism was born. However, the continent recovered, facing immense challenges (such as the recent Ebola crisis), displaying an encouraging economic growth and exporting its various talents. A wave of afro-optimism then rose. But have we gone too far, too fast, in this pathway? By preferring the idea of ​​an afro-realism, this dossier proposes, without pretending to be exhaustive, to measure the scope of the perils that the continent will have to face, as much as the means it has to confront it. In other words, if the evils of Africa remain, have the humanitarian aid and the way of practicing changed?

Preview our next summary

  • Editorial

The challenges of humanitarian transition in Africa – Virginie Troit and Jean-François Mattei

  • Perspectives

Humanitarian aid as a deterrent in Greece – Arjun Claire

Sheltering, hosting or receiving refugees: the unresolved ambiguities of the La Linière refugee camp  – Franck Esnée and Michaël Neuman

  • Focus : Africa: between shadow and light

Sub-Saharan Africa: worrying clouds on the horizon – Serge Michailof
 
Senegal: The difficulty for NGOs to gain independence from the State – Sadio Ba Gning et Kelly Poulet

The impact of international proceedings for bypassing the State: the example of Madagascar – Christiane Rafidinarivo

  • Ethics

The ethics of care versus humanitarian exceptionalism – Arnaud Dandoy

  • Reportage

Afghan Stories : Waiting for Hope – Sandra Calligaro

  • Culture

Totally Brax

Film : Interview with Jonathan Littell – “Barbarity is well shared : no religion exerts a monopoly over it”

Books : Chronicle of a genocide – Development aid in 350 words – In times of remote-control war – Is humanitarianism on the decline? – A guide to fight against health inequalities

 

Barbara Hendricks’ speech at the European Parliament

March 21st 2017

On the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Barbara Hendricks, singer and Honorary Ambassador for life of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, makes a moving appeal for unity and mobilization for the promotion and defence of human rights before the European Parliament.

A strong and direct speech which remind each of us of our duty to act as “members of the family of Humanity” in order to face the humanitarian crisis we are currently experiencing and questions European citizens about the fraternal future we must build.

“From darkness to light
From injustice to justice
From war to peace
From fear to love
The stakes have never been higher.
We do not have the right to fail,
Not only for our children but for all of the children of the world.
Failure is simply unacceptable. “

A speech that allows to “vibrate with the same string” which last words are a tribute to refugee children, combining the worlds of a Somali refugee with the lyrics of Ella Fitzgerald (Summertime) and Motherless child composed in the United States before the abolition of slavery.

The entire speech is available here (Minute 06:00).

To go further: Also read Barbara Hendricks’ Tribune on the situation in Greece facing the massive arrivals of migrants: Barbara Hendricks, “Greece is an example of solidarity for Europe!”, Humanitarian Alternatives, n° 3, November 2016, p. 188-190, https://alternatives-humanitaires.org/en/2016/11/23/greece-is-an-example-of-solidarity-for- europe/