Jacobo Quintanilla @jqg - Community Engagement Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Rachel Hastie - Global Protection Adviser, Oxfam GB
Anahi Ayala Iacucci @anahi_ayala - Senior Director for Humanitarian Programs, Internews
David Loquercio @DavidLoquercio - Head of Accountability to Affected People, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Over the last decade, humanitarian agencies have aspired to be more accountable to people affected by crises, but progress has been limited. Despite many global and institutional commitments and research on ways to increase engagement, meaningful participation with affected people is still often seen as an optional ‘add-on’ to programming activities.
Aid agencies’ resistance to change, operational constraints and the fear of relinquishing power and control are reasons why the issue of accountability remains one of the least improved areas in the humanitarian sector. This is particularly true in armed conflicts and other situations of violence, where rumours, misinformation and propaganda are rife. The constant change and disruption, unique sets of expectations, and an erosion of trust and proximity make it ever more challenging for humanitarians to engage and be responsible to affected people.
Are humanitarians, and donors, ready to relinquish decision-making power and control? What role does technology play in improving trust and accountability, particularly in conflict settings? Are engagement and accountability ‘just’ a matter of donor compliance?
This event, drawing on the ICRC’s new report on Engaging with People Affected by Armed Conflict and ODI's Humanitarian Policy Group's research on Constructive Deconstruction, helps answer some of these crucial questions. Panellists discuss the challenges and opportunities for humanitarian agencies in better engaging with affected communities in armed conflicts and violence.