More than (Buzz)Words: Participation in Humanitarian Practice

Panel details

Panel organiser(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online
Number of paper presentations 5


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While the international aid community has come to acknowledge that aid agencies must cede some power to new players, there is also an increasing realisation that the views of people affected by crisis should play a bigger role in humanitarian programme planning and decision-making.

Numerous commitments have been made in connection with normative frameworks such as the Core Humanitarian Standard or the Grand Bargain’s Participation Revolution, to give affected people more say in how aid is being provided. Yet data collected by Ground Truth Solutions indicates that people affected by crisis rarely feel informed and included, creating a stark disconnect between bureaucratic promises of more inclusive participation and any real, practical involvement in aid programmes.

The proposed panel aims to shed more light on this imbalance by asking: Do affected people today participate more closely in the delivery and management of aid than in the past? What have we learned about participation and its benefits? What empirical evidence is there that participation leads to better humanitarian outcomes for affected people? What are the trade-offs that need to be considered when investing in participation? How can we determine the right level of participation, and where are its boundaries?

We invite papers that deal with these and related questions both from a theoretical point of view, as well as through specific examples from humanitarian practice. In particular, panellists are encouraged to present and discuss realistic and practical solutions that facilitates participation of affected people during humanitarian responses. This can be done through practice examples, case studies, evaluative or academic studies.

Ground Truth Solutions would be happy to make data from its feedback surveys available to interested panellists, and/or further discuss paper ideas with interested experts in preparation for the panel.

Date & Time

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Elias Sagmeister