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An increasingly dangerous calling

John Mitchell, Director of ALNAP

On 19 August I was among those attending a wreath laying ceremony at Westminster Abbey to commemorate World Humanitarian Day. This provided an opportunity to remember friends and colleagues that we have lost and also provided a space to reflect on the inherent dangers for front line humanitarian staff. With an unprecedented string of four “level 3” humanitarian crises happening simultaneously in Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and the Central African Republic (not to mention the difficulties in Gaza) there is an even greater need to draw attention to the dangers that field workers face in their day to day work.

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Deepening crisis in Gaza: Lessons for operational agencies

Although this lessons paper was written for operational agencies responding to the humanitarian effort in Gaza in early 2009, its recommendations are still broadly relevant to the current crisis in the region. This paper attempted to look at comparable crises such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Lebanon while recognising that there was no comparable situation. The lessons focus on humanitarian concerns, with some attention on recovery and reconstruction issues.


Between chaos and control: Rethinking operational leadership

Humanitarians often assume that defining a vision for humanitarian response, developing a strategy to achieve this and implementing it are functions performed by a single individual – the leader.

ALNAP’s new research challenges this and suggests that effective leadership in humanitarian action needs leaders, teams and procedures.

Read discussion starter for this study

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Building a better response e-learning course

The Humanitarian Academy at Harvard have released 'Building a better response' (BBR), a new online learning tool designed by and for humanitarian first responders.

These BBR modules, the result of two years of work with a consortium including Tufts University, aim to provide users with a comprehensive and practical introduction to engaging with the international humanitarian architecture. The idea is to build capacity in a manner that improves overall coordination and response to the needs of affected populations.

This e-learning course is internationally available, it is free to use, and can be accessed via mobiles, laptops and tablets. Participants completing all five units will receive a certificate from the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard.

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