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 about humanitarianism.  Having read my book Aid Worker Voices she thought that I might have some useful feedback.

Our conversations eventually turned to my current research and she very quickly encouraged me to include the humanitarians working in Cox’s Bazar in my studies of ‘national’ aid and development workers. We have been working together closely for the past several months on this research.

Min Wah connected me with Tawhid Hamid who is from Bangladesh but deployed just now to Afghanistan. His input was critical in early stages of survey construction.  Another team member introduced to me by Min Wah is Sifat Reza from Bangladesh.  I am working with her on reaching out to humanitarians working in Cox’s Bazar.

Samuel Lemma Kibret lives and works in Ethiopia and has a long history in both the humanitarian sector and working with a INGO/NGO focused consultancy firm called Karamara Consultancy Service which is based in Addis Ababa. His work there has a focus on  operational and academic research – baseline, assessment, evaluation of programs/projects. He is experienced at working in different cultural settings from rural Ethiopia to international staffs and scholars from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and Americas. 

I was introduced to Samuel through a mutual friend based in Erbil, Iraq.  He in turn connected me with Kenyan humanitarian Lucy On’gera.

Hero Anwar Brzw is Deputy Director of Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health (REACH), a LNGO headquartered in Erbil, Iraq and is a past executive board member for the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq (NCCI). Hero has worked in the humanitarian sector in Iraq for nearly 2 decades and most recently was a member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (ISAC) Localization Works Field Mission team, traveling to Bangladesh late last summer to help learn how localization efforts were progressing, particularly in the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya response.

I was introduced to Hero through my colleague J, who described her as an ‘amazing woman’.  He understated.  I have been Skyping frequently with Hero for the past five months and each time learn more about the inner workings of the humanitarian sector in Iraq. For more on Hero and her work in Iraq look at this and this. She shares my passion for hearing the voices of Iraqi humanitarians and for sharing with both the sector and the wider public a more accurate, nuanced, and meaningful picture of the lives of humanitarians and the issues they face.

Heba Ayouby has over ten years working experience in Recruitment within three industries: Hospitality, Information Technology and Humanitarian Aid. Of the three she is most passionate about Humanitarian Aid. Growing up in the middle eastern countries of Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arabi Emirates, she continued her bachelors degree in Political Science and Human Relations in Montreal Canada, and did graduate work at Hult International Business School in the UK, earning her MBA . Heba is a avid believer in research, data and its outcomes, and is happy to be part of this endeavour. Heba is also a coffee lover!

Additional contributors
My research focus on national ‘global South’ humanitarians began with a collaboration with Voster Tembo who at the time worked with Habitat for Humanity-International in Lusaka, Zambia. He helped me begin to formulate the core of this research.  My blogs describing our data were enticed by Arbie Baguois, a young humanitarian from the Philippines, and he and I collaborated on the survey of Filipino aid and development workers.

My long time colleague J and I then talked about doing similar research in Jordan.  In Amman I met and worked with many humanitarians and got wonderful support and guidance from Jordanian humanitarian Lina Maraqa, a multi-year veteran of the sector.  Mahmoud Shabeeb, Hanadi Riyal, and Hala Abu-Maizer, all from Jordan, have been exceptionally generous with their time and feedback especially in earlier stages formulating questions for that version of the survey.

Through this research I was put in contact with Maryann Naman, an Iraqi working in northern Iraq for a major INGO. Maryann has also been working with me for many months.

Humanitarian Annalisa Addis, an Italian expat living now in the UK, has provided unwavering support through editing, suggestions, and true friendship throughout this and my previous research.

Most recently, I have been working with translators who have made it possible to have the survey available not only in English but also in Arabic, French, and Bangla.  My good friend and Elon University colleague Ahmed al Fadaam has be a steadfast supporter and has done all of the Arabic translations, Alice Perseval, a student from France doing two years at Elon University, has done the French translation, and Shahreen Srabon is working with me just now to get the Bangla versions live.

To be clear
To this point the feedback, support, and colleagueship contributed to this project has been substantial and is deeply appreciated. Though this has been a truly collaborative project, all failings of the survey design, methodology, or any other aspect of the project are all my responsibility.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback please contact me by clicking here or by emailing


Tom Arcaro

Tom Arcaro is a professor of sociology at Elon University. He has been researching and studying the humanitarian aid and development ecosystem for nearly two decades and in 2016 published 'Aid Worker Voices'. He recently published his second and third books related to the humanitarians sector with 'Confronting Toxic Othering' published in 2021 and 'Dispatches from the Margins of the Humanitarian Sector' in 2022. A revised second edition of 'Confronting Toxic Othering' is now available from Kendall Hunt Publishers

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:


Comments are closed.