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Lives in Crises

What Do People Tell Us About the Humanitarian Aid They Receive?

image of Lives in Crises

In May 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit represented a turning point for humanitarian policies. The Summit gave the impetus to seriously reflect on how to operate in environments where people’s needs don’t coincide anymore with existing mandates and sectors. The OECD believes that an effective humanitarian response is the one that addresses affected people’s needs in a timely and efficient manner. One way to measure effectiveness is to ask aid beneficiaries what they think about the aid they get. With this is mind, the OECD initiated a first round of surveys during the cycle 2016-2017 in six countries affected by different type of crisis : Lebanon, Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Somalia and Uganda. Two years after the World humanitarian Summit, the OECD and Ground Truth Solutions took another round of surveys in the same countries, plus Bangladesh. The purpose of this second round of surveys is to assess whether the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, including the Grand Bargain, are having a tangible impact on people’s lives in the most difficult contexts in the world. This paper provides some answers to this question.

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Supporting self-reliance requires a blended set of aid instruments

If humanitarian assistance is not sufficient to meet people’s most important needs, it is even less effective in achieving economic self-sufficiency, for which the lack of economic and livelihood opportunities is the primary grievance for the vast majority of survey respondents. In protracted situations, people want economic autonomy, not prolonged assistance. Because it is not designed to end need, and because it is unpredictable in nature, humanitarian assistance is not the right tool to build sustainable economic opportunities, especially in refugee contexts where strict restrictions can be in place to prevent refugees from participating in the economic life of their host countries. Creating an enabling environment for livelihood opportunities for people affected by crisis should rapidly become a priority for DAC members in their political dialogue with partner countries.

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