Is humanitarian aid work becoming more dangerous? At first glance, the figures in the preview of findings from the forthcoming Aid Worker Security Report seem to bear good news. In comparison with 2013, a year that set an all-time record of violence against humanitarians, major attacks on humanitarian workers declined by over a third in 2014. However the decrease in reported incidents does not guarantee lower levels of risk. In fact, the preview of findings for this year suggests that the registered decrease of roughly 30% in 2014 is mainly due to “reduced or reconfigured operational presence (…) with fewer aid workers deployed to field locations deemed insecure”. As a result of greater insecurity and limited access, risk management measures have led many aid agencies to increasingly rely on local partner organizations for the implementation of programmes. While the localization of aid for sustainability and empowerment has long been on the humanitarian agenda – indeed, “localization” and “nationalization” of humanitarianism are recurring topics in the World Humanitarian Summit consultations – the last two decades have witnessed a significant transfer of risk toward local and national organizations without a corresponding transfer of capacity to mitigate those risks.
In terms of funding, the humanitarian financing system is still the feudal grant of traditional international agencies. Between 41% and 62% of the humanitarian assistance that comes from government donors goes to multilateral organizations, mostly UN agencies. Of the total of almost USD 19 billion that governments spend in humanitarian assistance, only a small percentage goes to NGOs as first-level recipients, and if we look at the funding that is directly channeled through national NGOs, it amounted to only USD 46.6 million in 2014. That is roughly 1.2% of the total given to NGOs, and 0.2% of the total humanitarian funding. While international agencies eventually channel more funding to NGOs, the growth of the humanitarian system in the last decade has translated into a multilayered system of contracts and subcontracts, making it difficult to “follow the money” and obtain aggregate data beyond first-level recipients.
Despite their slight weight in the humanitarian financing system, national NGOs are often the ones ultimately implementing programs on the ground. This shift to local partners is even more acute in high-risk contexts where international humanitarian agencies have difficulty operating. Awaiting the publication of this years’ Aid Worker Security Report and further disclosure of the figures, we expect the analysis of last year’s incidents to confirm previous reports in revealing that most of the victims of attacks are national employees, i.e. those providing aid within their own countries and employed either by international or national organisations. In 2014, 87% of the victims of violence were national staff.
However, statistical evidence does not accurately capture many of the incidents that local staff and national organizations encounter. A number of factors taint the information coming from national organisations, notably, but not limited to, disparities in their reporting capacity, different perceptions of risk compared to international organisations, and distinct approaches to security risk management. As a result, many security incidents involving local staff still go unreported, despite some limited efforts of international aid agencies to strengthen the reporting mechanisms of their local partners.
With humanitarian access becoming more difficult to achieve by international agencies in certain highly insecure contexts, many of these agencies consciously seek others to carry out critical activities. Three quarters of all major attacks against aid operations in 2013 took place in just five countries: Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Pakistan and Sudan. With the exception of the latter, which has been replaced by the Central African Republic in 2014, these contexts continue to top the list of most violent settings for aid workers. Not surprisingly, aid delivery in these conflict settings is often channelled through national and local partners.
However, the increased reliance on local partners, and the subsequent risk transfer from international humanitarian organisations to national aid agencies, has not always translated into better security risk management within the partnership. Although international aid agencies have started to recognize that their risk profile differs from the risk profile of their local partners, and that each has differing capacity to manage their own vulnerabilities, international humanitarian organisations and their local partners haven’t yet found a mutual language around security risk management. This not only affects reporting from national NGOs, but also their capacity to manage risks.
Research published by the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) has tried to make a first step towards a wider debate on partnerships with local organisations and security risk management. EISF’s report aimed to clear some of the confusion around the responsibilities that international NGOs hold towards their partners, and tried to provide a better understanding of the legal and ethical responsibilities of international NGOs towards supporting the protection of their national implementing partners.
International NGOs are transferring risk down the line. However, they are not transferring the capacity required to manage the particular risks faced by local partners in a manner that addresses national agencies’ needs and risk culture. Different contexts require different approaches to security, and mainstreaming security risk management from international NGOs to local partners may not be a lasting solution to sustainably mitigate vulnerabilities and achieve better protection of national and local staff. The disconnect between international NGOs’ approaches and understanding of security risk management, and that of their local partners, is partially a product of a lack of understanding of both the particular risks national staff encounter in delivering humanitarian assistance, and of the traditional mitigating measures that national agencies may employ.
International NGOs need first to understand local partners’ attitudes to security risk management, including the threats, their vulnerabilities and traditional mitigation measures; and then identify their knowledge gaps and the factors that can drive organisational change. Without bridging this disconnect first, any future attempt by international aid agencies to build the protection capacity of local partners will likely be fruitless and short-lived.
I can't help but feeling that, we as the people of the USA, have been beaten down morally over past few years. We have quietly lost hope in many of the things we took for granted as, "always going to be." In a way, we have moved a step or two closer to a more desperate, "this is the way it is." In a way, we have traded in many of our hopes and dreams for survival attitudes. Possibly, this was a master plan or perhaps, just the way things evolve in a developing democracy. Make no mistake, the USA is an evolving and developing democracy. From time to time, it is tested and rebelled against. This is how it either progresses or falls apart, piece by piece. The one common binding to a growing democracy is hope. This hope is what we work so hard for as individuals and as a society. We offer this hope to our children and also, to other nations and peoples through our compassion and humanitarian hearts, which, by the way are fed by a constant stream of "hope."
We have been through, and are about to go through a selection process that has divided us along interesting lines. In actuality, the divisions are more along the lines of those who offer hope and those who think that the status quo needs to be maintained. In my opinion, the status quo has done much to damage "hopes and dreams" and allowed others to profit by growing evil while we, the People of the United States of America, are looking feverishly, for something to believe in and hope for, that will unite us again. As long as we fight among ourselves as to what that is, or who that is, those who wish us harm will continue to advance against us from within and from afar.
We were built upon the hopes and dreams of our forefathers and we grew strong based on the hopes and dreams of those who governed us over the past two and a half centuries. It is time to unite again as a nation with the singular purpose of restoring real hope, real dreams, and a real tomorrow.
Ladies & Gentlemen and Friends of AllHumanity Group:
Dr. Frederick "Skip" Burkle is a legend at Harvard, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, John Hopkins and the Nat. Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Burkle is a Senior Fellow with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and a Visiting Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a Senior Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC, Professor, Department of Community Emergency Health, Monash University Medical School, Melbourne, Australia, Senior Associate Faculty, Department of International Health and the Center for Refugee & Disaster Response, Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutes, and Adjunct Professor, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. In 2007 he was elected a member of the prestigious
Dr. Burkle was appointed Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health, United States Agency for International Development in June 2002. From 2000 to 2002 he was Senior Scholar, Scientist and Visiting Professor, The Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies, the Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University. From 1989 he was Professor of Surgery (Emergency Medicine), Pediatrics, and Public Health and Chair of the Division of Emergency Medicine, University of Hawaii School of Medicine. He is an Adjunct Professor at Tulane, the Uniformed Services University and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University. He graduated from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 1965 and holds graduate degrees from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of California at Berkeley, and a Diploma in Health Emergencies in Large Populations from the University of Geneva.
He is certified in emergency medicine, pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and psychiatry and holds a MPH in public health. He has worked in complex emergencies and refugee care in Viet Nam, northern Iraq, Somalia, the Former Yugoslavia , and Kosovo and in development and health and security in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. He was on the Board of Directors of the International Refugee Committee from 1996 and was Executive Director of the Health Unit for IRC in 1999. He has published over 110 articles and 4 books mostly in the field of disaster management and health. He is a retired Navy Reserve Captain, having served with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions in Viet Nam, the Persian Gulf, and Somalia. He is the recipient of the Gorgas Medal for “groundbreaking work in the field of preventive medicine.”
Dr. Burkle has published over 150 scientific articles, abstracts and book chapters, four books, three on disaster management including Disaster Medicine (1984). He has worked in and consulted on numerous humanitarian emergencies and large-scale international disasters in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. From 2002-03, Dr. Burkle served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dr. Burkle holds post-graduate degrees from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of California at Berkeley, University of Geneva, and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He is qualified in Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and Diploma in Tropical Medicine. He is a retired Naval Reserve Captain and a member of the Board of Directors and Overseer of the International Rescue Committee.
The "allhumanity" project, the brain child of Robert Cipriano has filled a vital gap in global health communications. Allhumanity provides an open and transparent environment and capacity to communicate among the multi-disciplinary professions all of whom are required to help solve crises of today and in the future. Charities need a voice in the decision-makling process vital to the increasingly expanding humanitarian community. A short decade ago those who called themselves humanitarian professionals numbered about 100,000 and has grown today to over 220,000. The "allhumanity" project comes at an opportune time giving us an unprecedented and necessary means to communicate and exchange ideas that we all share responsibility for. We thank Robert's lifelong pursuit to enhance the level of transparency and information exchange in order to help mitigate poverty and its consequences among the most vulnerable of populations...and for the work he has done to make "allhumanity" a success.
Dr. Frederick "Skip" Burkle
The four core passions for AllHumanity are exactly the same as my personal four core principles. I have been driven by these passions for my entire lifetime, however, more so since 1996. These core passions and principles frame my every step and thought as they pertain to directing the progress and steps for AllHumanity Group. Make no mistake when evaluating the motives and choices taken over the years; the core passions are always at the very essence of the processes.
The first core passion/principle is "the children"-- the children in this world who, by no choice of their own, were born in places and into life situations that are dangerous, unhealthy, abusive, unclean, uneducated, fraught with poverty, and contaminated with disease of bodies and minds. The children are my main concern 100% of the time.... 100% of my efforts. I am in constant prayer and continual work toward identifying solutions and situations that will begin to improve the lives of the children anywhere and everywhere. I am dedicated to this first core passion and principal, and I expect the associates that choose to team with AllHumanity to share this core principle/passion.
The second core passion/principle is to continually grow our awareness and abilities to comprehend the state of affairs globally. This comprehension includes the plight of people everywhere, as well as, the condition of relations between historic friends and enemies on the global scene as it pertains to the expression of human rights and freedoms at all times. I believe that by being aware of the world-scene around us rather than just our own 4x4 worlds, we can embrace the conditions in which others endure and, therefore, be moved to impact for the betterment of humanity. To know how others suffer is to be aware of our own abilities to change mankind.
The third core passion/principle is a never-ending faith in the outcome. A childlike burning for the things we can accomplish together has been placed in me.....no matter what, no matter where and no matter what comes against us. There is nothing that will stop AllHumanity from accomplishing the missions for which it was created. I believe that God has laid His majestic hand upon our core missions and will permit no thing, person or principality to trespass against us or defeat us. As such, I have endured a whole host of attacks and hurdles in fourteen years in the progression of our efforts. I have paid the price dearly physically and emotionally; however, I feel that each cross that I carried was one that brought us closer to our common goal which is to love, cherish and empower those of us who are not as fortunate as we may be. How can I stop this outcome or how can you stop this outcome when it is about loving and caring?
The final core passion/principle is do as I am told by my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For me, I can find no greater mission then to serve Him as I serve humanity. I do not call all friends and associates to worship the way I do or to believe in the things I do; however, I do call everybody to embrace the concepts and to pursue with passion the acts that bind us as humans rather than separate us from the love that is so evident and needed today.
Aydin & Hannah Rose Martin
Children with disabilities often struggle in the classroom do to the lack of support that is needed for them to succeed.
Aydin and Hannah Rose Martin are fully aware of the learning curve and disadvantages many of these students face. Combined with a steady growth in classroom sizes, there is undoubtedly a need to provide extra attention to those students with learning disabilities. Created out of necessity, the brother and sister pair cofounded Martin Miracles, Inc.
The goal of Martin Miracles, Inc, which is a non-profit based out of Arizona, is to target students in grades K-12 with learning disabilities, and provide them the extra tutoring they need, through scholarship, to ensure that they reach their full potential. For those students that need the extra attention, Martin Miracles is one of the few, if not only outlets, in which supplemental education is awarded through scholarship.
Martin Miracles – ‘transforming disabilities into abilities one child at a time.’
In business for just a few months, officially launching in April 2015, Martin Miracles has already raised $7,000, and will award its first scholarship on August 1, 2015.
This wasn’t just a spur of the moment idea, in fact, Aydin and Hannah Rose have been working to start Martin Miracles since 2009. Sparked by Aydin’s own hardship, diagnosed with ADHD, the Martin’s realized that tutoring outside the classroom is not only necessary, but very expensive as well.
While Aydin’s personal struggle turned out to be the creation of Martin Miracles, Aydin’s personal triumph is reason to believe Martin Miracles is here to stay. Aydin, along with his sister, are current members of the Honors Society. From early inconsistent learning behavior, to a scholarly standout, Aydin is proof of the impact Martin Miracles can make in a child’s life.