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ATHA Community Participation in Humanitarian Relief and Protection: From Principle to Reality

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

According to the Sphere Standards, disaster-affected populations should actively participate into the design, implementation and evaluation of humanitarian programs. Necessitating the involvement of beneficiaries is viewed as a way to lessen the inherent dependency in the aid relationship and inform the decisions of humanitarian planners and managers. However, from a practitioner's perspective, such participation of beneficiaries may become problematic in both the immediate delivery of assistance as well as the design of longer-term programs, particularly in terms of the independence of humanitarian action in times of armed conflict. Furthermore, arguments have been made that such participation in times of crises is for the most part subject to limited options and actual choices. Finally, one may wonder the extent to which leaders of communities, as compared to individual beneficiaries, should be engaged as the traditional representatives of communities' interests and expectations more...



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