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Urban webinar #6: Humanitarian interventions in situations of urban violence

Thursday 23 January 2014

The audio of this webinar is also available below.

To download this file, click on the soundcloud logo above and then on the arrow under the track.

This webinar launched ALNAP's lessons paper on urban violence. Topics covered included context challenges, organisation engagement, and long term strategies. 

For more information, see ALNAP's Urban violence paper by Elena Lucchi.

Q&A Snapshot:

What are the challenges in a context not covered by international humanitarian law?
EL: Resistance to a humanitarian presence may be high from both the state, concerned with issues of prestige, whilst criminal gangs have a poor motivation to uphold international humanitarian law.

KS: Internally, the groups humanitarian agencies will encounter in such a context are not straightforward, unified opposition forces but criminals of the state. There is a lack of political ability from outside actors to negotiate because of the host state regarding the context as an internal, criminal matter.

How do organisations decide when to engage in situations in urban violence? What are effective 'entry points'?
KS: It is important to distinguish between settings such as Aleppo and those in Latin America, where urban violence is endemic and perhaps more suited to the decades long, transformational work of World Vision.
With this mixed mandate, we need to continue to develop the diagnosis tools to recognise where the most endemic violence, and thus greatest needs are.

You mentioned for World Vision this is a longer term strategy. Have you found any specific operational entry points? For example on child friendly space?
KS: Yes, especially in regards to our resilient risk strategy in Latin America, where we have a community resilience and risk programme model that identifies specific challenges. Communities, in contrast to traditional models that often regard natural disasters as the biggest risk, are frequently more concerned with endemic violence.

This entry point led us to working with young people, aiming to reduce patterns of violence, from household to national level.

Much of the work drawn upon in the Urban Violence Lessons Paper was from MSF and ICRC. How were the decisions to engage made, and which entry points did you see as being successful?
EL: In terms of good examples of entry points, many include providing visible services, such as offering basic healthcare in low income neighbourhoods, and from there setting up more initiatives such as addressing sexual violence.

Another entry point concerns working with vulnerable young people to prevent them joining gangs. From there, responding to more core issues of violence prevention can be easier.

What do you think are the big questions that still need to be answered?
EL: How do we conduct assessments and develop these tools? How can we monitor and evaluate these interactions? How can we conduct more holistic interventions, and not just development or relief?


Paul Knox Clarke

Head of Research and Communications


Elena Lucchi

Consutant in Humanitarian Affairs


Kevin Savage

H-LEARN Associate, Quality and Strategy - Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs

World Vision International

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