A profile of Tawhidul, a humanitarian

Posted on: March 17, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

Please, if you are a humanitarian worker from the so-called “global South” click here. And now, A profile of Tawhidul, a humanitarian “I really like working for my organisation. This is not for the money, of course, it is to see different parts of the world and how people are suffering … and how I can help.” -Tawhidul Hamid This is a profile of one humanitarian worker, but his story is not unusual. Indeed, there are countless national humanitarian workers all over the globe with stories very similar to his.  Worldwide there are over 500,000 humanitarian workers, and approximately 90% of them are national workers. My goal is to have both the larger academic and global communities know more about national aid workers. A common stereotype I have encountered both among my students and colleagues is that aid workers are global North white people that are sacrificing their lives and ‘saving…

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A teamhouse Christmas in Kabul

Posted on: March 17, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

Christmas in Kabul, 2018   Context Begun in 1971, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) remains a major and respected global player in the humanitarian ecosystem with over 45,000 team members providing comprehensive medical care in over 70 countries worldwide. MSF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, and continues to maintain high standards for both medical care and ethical organizational operation. Beginning in the 1980s the MSF movement wisely fissioned into a confederation of [mostly] autonomous associations, each an independent legal entity in the country where they are based. There are MSF national offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the USA. There are also branch offices in Argentina, the Czech Republic, Republic of Korea, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates. Unique among INGOs, in 2017 96% of MSF’s over…

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A call to national humanitarians from research team

Posted on: March 10, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: 'Global South' survey

A call to national humanitarians from the research team Have your voice heard! What good can come from this survey? Why should humanitarians from the ‘global South’ take the 15-20 minutes to fill out an online form? This method of reaching out to humanitarians has its challenges, to be sure, but we are committed to pushing through these difficulties.  I asked my research team to speak directly to their counterparts around the globe. where is some of what they said. Samuel Humanitarian consultant Samuel Lemma Kibret based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia had this strong message, “Humanitarian and development organizations are a hidden world where injustice is prevailing. This research is very important as it focuses on hearing voices of humanitarian and development workers that try to contribute in changing the lives of needy but are being pulled back by injustices. Please take the time to have your voice heard.”   Hero…

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Methodology notes and ethnocentric assumptions

Posted on: March 5, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: 'Global South' survey

Methodology notes and ethnocentric assumptions Some thoughts on the methodology Our survey has been live now for a couple weeks, and the response has been, by any measure, weak.  To date 40 people have started the survey (27 in the ‘long’ version and 13 the ‘short’ version, all in English). Exploratory research  The target population for this global survey of humanitarians from the ‘global South’ is, well, exactly that. According to ALNAP there are over 500,000 national humanitarians serving globally. Realistically, there is no means possible to make every one of these women and men aware of this survey, nor would it be possible to translate the survey into the many dozens of languages and dialects used by this global population. Translating the survey from English into Arabic, French, and Bangla makes it possible to reach, perhaps, a sizable majority of the half million national humanitarians.  That said, we can…

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Some early results from global humanitarian survey

Posted on: February 26, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: 'Global South' survey

Some early results from global humanitarian survey Quick update With just several dozen responses so far, to call this even preliminary data seems premature.  All of the responses have been to the English versions of the survey, 10 from the ‘short’ and 26 from the ‘long.’   Scanning the data thus far, I am already struck by a few of the narrative responses. Emotional toll In her comment responding to the question “In general, do you like your job as a humanitarian (aid or development) worker?” one female humanitarian working as permanent national staff stated, “I think I would like it more if took care of the people working in the space. A lot of what we do [is] physically and spiritually taxing and I sometimes feel that there aren’t a lot of spaces where we get to revive and rejuvenate ourselves. We are unfortunately expected to move to the…

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The research team for the ‘Humanitarians from the ‘global South’ survey

Posted on: February 20, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: 'Global South' survey

The research team for the ‘Humanitarians from the ‘global South’ survey   The team This global survey project has been in the works for many months and is an extension of research I have already done in the Philippines and Jordan. Dozens of humanitarians have read, commented on, edited, and even added questions to various drafts of this survey. Our common interest is in hearing the voices of ‘global South’ humanitarians and then bring these voices into conversations that might inform meaningful dialogue in various forums. Min Wah Voon has 14 years experience in the development and humanitarian sector with various UN agencies and NGOs in Asia, the Pacific, and Washington, DC. She has been working with the Rohingya refugee population and the local Bangladeshi host community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, since 2008. In July, 2018 Min Was reached out to me for counsel on an essay she was writing…

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National humanitarians: you are invited to share your voice

Posted on: February 19, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: 'Global South' survey

“Humanitarian and development organizations are a hidden world where injustice is prevailing. This research is very important as it focuses on hearing voices of humanitarian and development workers that try to contribute in changing the lives of needy but are being pulled back by injustices. Please take the time to have your voice heard.” -Sammel Lemma, Ethiopian humanitarian Listening to humanitarians from the ‘Global South’ Our invitation to share your voice If you are a humanitarian worker (aid or development) from the so-called ‘global South’ you are invited to share your views by responding to our global survey. More detailed information about this research can be found linked here and you can meet the research team here. By ‘global South’ we mean people from nations in red in the image to the right. There are two versions of the survey, each in three languages. The ‘long version’ with 50 questions may take near…

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A global survey targeted at national humanitarian workers

Posted on: February 14, 2019 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: 'Global South' survey

A global survey targeted at national humanitarian workers English, French, Arabic, and Bangla versions are now live. A global survey targeted at national humanitarian workers In the last seven months I have been working with humanitarians in several nations drafting a wide-ranging survey instrument. Our goal now is to get the word out as broadly as possible and, ideally, find ways to reach all national humanitarians, making them aware of the opportunity to share their voice via this survey. Our target population includes humanitarian aid and development workers that are from and are working in the so-called ‘global South.’ The purpose of this survey is to learn about the views and lives of national humanitarian workers and then to share this knowledge with the humanitarian (aid and development) community.  Tentative plans have been discussed to hold one or more mini-summits among thought leaders in various locations, including Iraq, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia. At…

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Global South or Global North: where are humanitarians from and where do they work?

Posted on: December 26, 2018 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

Updated 14 Feb 2019 Where are humanitarians from and where do they work? A question My research into the humanitarian ecosystem in general, and more specifically into the lives of the humanitarian workers themselves, has lead me to many questions.  In the context of this research, perhaps the most globally important questions concern where humanitarians are from and where they work. In the context of assessing some of the promises made in the ‘Grand Bargain‘, this question is important because it probes into a significant indicator of ownership and agency. So, below is my question in table form, where GN = Global North and GS = Global South, and the intended goal is to have a percentage in each cell. For example, in 1960, we would need to know, based on the total number of people working in the humanitarian sector, what percentage are from the ‘Global North’ and work…

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Skyping in as the Grand Bargain unfolds in Iraq

Posted on: November 26, 2018 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: General posts on the humanitarian aid industry

Looking in as the Grand Bargain unfolds in Iraq The setting On November 22nd -Thanksgiving Day in the US- I was fortunate to be Skyped into the Grand Bargain Localization Workstream Demonstrator Country Field Mission final report session taking place at the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI) offices in Erbil, Iraq.  I was invited to attend the meeting by Hero Anwar, Deputy Director of Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health (REACH), a LNGO in northern Iraq.  I am working closely with Hero as part of my continuing research on national humanitarian workers. My interviews with her have been extraordinarily useful, as evidenced by my last post. This is the second such Localization Workstream Demonstrator Country report, the first taking place in Bangladesh in September. There were approximately 40 people in the room, including the the nine member Mission Team which included donors, INGO representatives, and UN officials. Several NCCI members also Skyped in…

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