Towards the World Humanitarian Summit: #ReshapeAid

Aid should be distributed in ways that reinforce community solidarity, without pitting people against one another. This is recommendation No.4 of ATD Fourth World’s contribution entitled, “How humanitarian aid can reinforce communities by seeking out the most disadvantaged,” submitted for the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit (WHS).

In the spring of 2016 the United Nations will convene the first ever World Humanitarian Summit. For over a year already, it has been seeking input from humanitarian NGOs, volunteers, government officials, and people themselves affected by humanitarian crises. One global consultation meeting is taking place from October 14 – 16. The goal is “to look for global solutions to [such] global challenges” of climate change, food and energy insecurity, and water scarcity.

ATD Fourth World’s other recommendations encourage that:

1) Every project should have someone responsible for understanding which people are the most isolated and worst off, in order to develop partnerships with organizations acting in solidarity with them;

2) More aid and funding should be directed to local actors who know the context best; and

3) The decision-making processes should be slowed down in order to incorporate lessons learned and to change dysfunctional mechanisms concerning staffing, funding, and program evaluation.

While we are not a humanitarian aid organization, our recommendations to 2016’s World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) come from our experience in emergencies: beginning with families made homeless by World War II in Europe; and over thirty years in Haiti, the Ivory Coast, and the Central African Republic, where natural disasters and armed conflict have taken a heavy toll. ATD Fourth World’s paper draws as well on the experience of members of the international Forum on Overcoming Extreme Poverty, based in Thailand, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere. It also draws on contributions to a webinar organized by ATD Fourth World in December, 2014 with Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, and Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights.

Read the .pdf of ATD Fourth World’s full contribution to the World Humanitarian Summit here. Click the World Humanitarian Summit logo below to find out more and add your thoughts on humanitarian aid.

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Photo top: Central African Republic, December, 2013: A young ATD Fourth World activist facilitates educational and cultural activities for families who took refuge at the Bangui airport.