Empowering local communities within humanitarian response
Through 12 years of familiarizing myself with the humanitarian world, I have never seen so many organizations looking to revamp their approach to delivering humanitarian aid.
It has taken a long time to break free of the old ways of doing things. The old system of simply dropping rice and blankets has worked to a great degree, and many humanitarians were not willing to take a chance on new approaches, and rightfully so with lives and livelihoods on the line.
That being said, the biggest revelation might seem obvious in retrospect. Yet it's only over the past few years that humanitarians have started to think more about the affected communities playing a bigger and more active role in their own emergency response and recovery.
One way is to enable more two-way communication with affected communities to allow them to have a voice of their own to communicate what specific support is needed and where they need it. The common goal of any humanitarian response should be minimalist – only intervene when necessary and for the shortest time possible.
The more we can empower populations to become resilient and better prepared to play an integral role in their own emergency response, the less the international community will need to get involved, or at least shorten the duration of any involvement.
Things like social media and simple internet connectivity allow the voices of those affected to be heard around the world. Enabling people to communicate allows them to tailor any response and recovery in a way that is most effective for them. This is huge!