Modern thinking has caught up with the fact that addressing singular issues in isolation does not solve problems. Everything is intertwined; education with health, poverty with education and economic opportunity and so on. The effective way forward is to combine issues, combine resources, combine solutions to problems and combine all players in the field. This is what I have found works in my programs. Provide healthcare so healthier people can then learn, gain education and be equipped to take advantage of economic opportunity and care for their families.
Funding has tended to drop down from the top to middle men and not all has gone directly through to on the ground NGOs. This approach leaves too much latitude and room for error, corruption and misdirection. We need to make use of local grassroots NGOs as the major implementer of program to create sustainable change. We should be connecting with local civil society as they are the stability which will ensure that change is cemented and more local people receive help. I like the idea of cash food vouchers presented at WHS. Give the people autonomy and invest in the local economies by giving refugees buying power. This is a more democratic way and avoids the pitfalls of food aid where the very young and old get left out as the strong get more. You avoid the corruption and middle men lose leverage.
We must maintain a focus on education especially for the displaced and refugee populations so they do not get behind and become a lost generation to education. We must also give a voice and a place at the table to the people who need aid. Action committees should have half their members made up of aid recipients and 10% should be youth. Get these people involved, see what they can do, they are in touch with what is needed and will work. They are living it and are the ones who know.
Change occurs in a series of steps and we should not feel discouraged. We are taking steps one at a time in the right direction to better more effective humanitarian action.
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi