Tag Archives earthquake

Belonging to and longing for the village: how the earthquake in Morocco reveals the importance of the homeland in shaping diaspora identity

What happens when a country gets hit by an unexpected, highly damaging earthquake? How does the aid this country receives afterwards look like when it has a diaspora community of more than one million people? And how does a tragic event such as an earthquake affect those million people and their diaspora identity? While diaspora identity is often defined by referring to the country of origin, in this article Malika Ouacha discusses how the earthquake in Morocco affected her and led her to foster a deeper understanding of her identity as member of the Moroccan diaspora.

Image by freepik

As I was preparing myself for another day of Family Constellation theory, I heard my husband scream from the living room: “What? An earthquake last night in Marrakech on the scale of 6.8 Richter?!” I didn’t really understand what he meant. “An earthquake? This heavy? But that has never happened before in our region,” I was thinking. At the same time, I remembered that there had been one in 1960 in Agadir, a city some 250 kilometres to the south of Marrakech.

The longer Nicolaas, my husband, continued to read the news article out loud, the more I understood that the news was real, that it really had happened. And that I had to start searching for my phone and call as many people as possible to find out whether they were safe. After trying several times and not being able to reach them, we decided to wait a bit longer. In the following hours, friends and relatives confirmed their safety, but they had a hard time describing what had happened. It was scary, unreal, and immensely tragic. Lives were lost, but initially, no-one knew how many. Thoughts started mulling through my head, and I found myself asking: How do you grieve such an event when you have just recovered from a pandemic which your country [Morocco in my case] barely survived?

Although I feel like I found my home in both two countries, I was fascinated by the instant feeling I experienced right after the news reached us. I live my life miles away, and so do many other diasporans, yet I felt that the affected people’s need for shelter and protection was my own need for a second or two.

Does this mean that one of the two countries is more important? Or that I am emotionally more attached to one compared to the other? I don’t think so, but I wouldn’t want to experience a natural disaster to find out. Therefore, I continued trying to go about life as usual that day, and in the days that followed, while also trying to process what had happened and what this could mean for the future. All the while, I kept having a feeling deep down that nothing would be the same after an earthquake like this one. Because although I was born and raised in Europe and only lived in Marrakech and the High Atlas Mountains for a few years, the annual return of my family and myself to the village we hail from each summer during my childhood and early adulthood resulted in a feeling of everlasting belonging to this specific region.

It made sense to me to respect my parents’ rules to speak only Tachelhiyt, the South-Moroccan language, in our household, even though we lived in the Netherlands, so we could return to the village safely every summer, knowing that my siblings and I spoke the language of the village. I could independently have conversations with my grandparents and cousins, walk to my uncle Mohamed alone, and talk to people on the streets.

My parents were assured of my safety in the village because I could ask a stranger on the street to assist me if I needed help. I could do this in the Netherlands, too, but I always sensed that my parents felt that my siblings and I were safer in the village in the Atlas Mountains, more protected. It seemed as if, even fifty years after having moved, the Netherlands kept feeling like a temporary place of residence to them. They never called it home like I did, although the two places both always felt like home to me.


Diaspora identity: how far is too close?

This lack of a sense of belonging in the Netherlands and the corresponding sense of still belonging in Morocco, which is how many diasporans still feel, is the reason why the earthquake affected more than just properties, workplaces, and human lives that were lost — it also affected diaspora identity despite the distance between those countries we were born and raised in and those countries we originate from. The earthquake made me ask whether we, as Moroccan diaspora, still belong there and whether our roots affect our lives here in Europe.

This left me to question whether our understanding of diaspora identity has really hit the core of both the phenomenon and the theoretical concept. Or if we still hover above its official definitions in academic and political debates. Is it truly just ethnicity and cultural norms and values? Or is it the combination of these three concepts, and our sentiments, our individual emotional household, and the way we view and experience the homeland? I tend to lean towards the latter conclusion given my reflections and analysis of the recent earthquake in Morocco and Turkey earlier this year.


Do we need saving from a permanent saviour?

I’m still reading one after the other request for donations from people who ask for money, food supplies, tents, and other things needed to survive. Yet, a long-term plan from the authorities remained absent until September 14th, when King Mohamed VI, Morocco’s current ruler, according to MAP donated USD 100 million to implement a long-term resettlement plan to rebuild the homes and lives of the victims of the earthquake. Where victims will be relocated to remains unclear, but affected friends and relatives spoke of the king’s act as a “a ray of sunshine during a heavy thunderstorm”.

In a country where the king has the last word in every decision needing to be made, this gesture signifies the presence of the government in a way that the region has never seen, as South Morocco has been and continues to be one of the least developed regions in its entire kingdom. I sensed an unexpected feeling of relief, although I saw many volunteers and philanthropists devote their time and means to the victims much earlier than the king did.

So perhaps the king’s ruling superseded the efforts of international NGOs and other non-profit organizations who were helping the affected people with their best intentions but within their own terms. And perhaps he therefore embodies a permanent saviour, as the king remains the king whose moral responsibility it is to look out after its own citizens. Maybe a permanent saviour saves this part of my identity, too, and therefore that of a diaspora as a collective, as the country is left in better hands now that a long-term plan has been demonstrated. Or maybe he saves, the least to say, only the memory of a country we once knew and still hold on to. Even if it is just in our nostalgic minds.

This could mean that the place my parents call home is left in better hands, and therefore a part of me, too, as it is a place close to my heart where I spent fruitful years in my early twenties and studied anthropology, volunteered at an orphanage, and did my first real ethnographic fieldwork after my graduation. A place where my late parents, grandparents, and ancestors were finally laid to rest, where close friends and relatives have their homes, where they enjoy their workplaces in the (finally post-pandemic) popular touristic medina and the ancient kasbah, and where we continue to meet several times a year. A place where I showed my Dutch husband the forever solid foundation of my Moroccan values and norms, which no lifetime outside of South Morocco could ever suppress.

Opinions expressed in Bliss posts reflect solely the views of the author of the post in question.

About the author:

Malika Ouacha is a Lecturer & Researcher at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands.

Are you looking for more content about Global Development and Social Justice? Subscribe to Bliss, the official blog of the International Institute of Social Studies, and stay updated about interesting topics our researchers are working on.

COVID-19 and Conflict | Between myth and mistrust: the role of interlocutors in managing COVID-19 in Haiti

Mistrust in state-provided information about COVID-19 has characterized citizen responses to the pandemic in Haiti, preventing the effective management of the virus. This article shows that this mistrust is rooted in a number of historical, political, and social factors, including the perceived mismanagement of past crises. In the wake of resistance to pandemic measures and failure to adhere to regulations, local organizations can play an important role in contexts with low institutional trustworthiness.

To date, Haiti has managed to register a relatively low number of COVID-19 infections and related deaths. Initial concerns regarding the potential devastation COVID-19 could cause in Haiti were related to insufficient sanitary standards and medical facilities necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the proper treatment of infected patients. However, it turned out that the misunderstanding of COVID-19-related information was another major challenge that prevented people from taking preventative measures and going to hospital when infected.

Some studies conducted during the cholera outbreak in 2010 have pointed out that extreme poverty and low levels of education can cause mistrust in information on health instructions (Cénat, 2020). Nevertheless, these narrow explanations disregard the historical and socio-political background that has nurtured the mistrust of the population in public institutions that is also visible in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local organizations have played a central role in addressing the Haitian community’s disbeliefs around COVID-19, stepping in as interlocutors in the fight against the spread of the virus.

Over the past few years, discontent with the performance of the state has led to extensive protests. On many occasions, people have called for the resignation of the president and the dissolution of the government, denouncing its inability to manage past crises, claiming a lack of accountability, and citing worsening inequality. Furthermore, the community’s anger has been extended to international institutions, particularly the Core Group[i], the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). They are blamed for intervening in Haiti’s internal politics and supporting the current regime, thus keeping the president from resigning (AFP, 2019).

Such anger at, and mistrust in, people in power has been constructed historically. The importation of cholera to Haiti by a UN agent in 2010 as well as successive governments’ mismanagement of the consequent outbreak, the lack of accountability for and the dissatisfaction with the 2010 earthquake responses, the exposure of PetroCaribe fund-related corruption, and the widely reported sexual abuse scandal are just some of the cases that have led to widespread mistrust of those in power.

Damage already done?

When the first COVID-19 infection was confirmed, the government immediately declared a health emergency, imposing restrictive measures and undertaking information campaigns to raise awareness of the pandemic and the necessary sanitary measures to be taken through broadcasts on television, radio, and social media, or by means of vehicles circulating in suburbs with speakers mounted on their roofs[ii]. Despite these efforts, due to the general mistrust and lack of legitimacy of the current government, not only protests against ‘lockdown’ measures and the refusal to adhere to them, but also disbelief surrounding the disease led to the spread of rumours and misinformation (See also Dorcela and St. Jean, 2020). “People think of COVID-19 as a political matter”, said a head of a local youth group.

Hearsay varied from the government having invented the virus to receive money from international aid agencies or diverting attention from the internal political issues[iii] to the hospitals testing a new vaccine on the Haitian population. The disbeliefs were such that people ended up claiming that those showing the same symptoms of COVID-19 were not infected by the virus, but with a different disease that they called ‘Ti lafyèv’ (‘small fever’)[iv], which was assumed to be easily treatable with ‘te anmè’ (bitter tea), therefore ensuring that hospital visits (and testing) were ‘not necessary’.

Given the misinformation, on the one hand people have not taken the virus seriously and therefore failed to follow preventative measures, while on the other hand panic was created and people stigmatized, which prevented them from going to the doctor and accelerated the spread of the virus. Additionally, some acts of sabotage of medical services were reported.

Countering disbelief, panic, and stigma, some local leaders and organizations took important initiatives to disseminate correct information and to help the communities cope with the government measures. For example, Doctors Without Borders and Gheskio, a leading Haitian healthcare institution, trained volunteers as field officers to spread information about the virus by visiting people (what it is, how to protect oneself, which hospitals to go to, etc.). In this regard, Dr. Pape, a founder of Gheskio, argued that “poor people are not stupid. [They] want to make sure that what you’re telling them is real.”[v]

Other civil society organizations (CSOs) also took various initiatives to communicate with people. While some initiatives used campaign music or held quiz contests with questions about COVID-19, allowing participants to learn about the virus while having fun, others visited street vendors and residents, going door to door with information leaflets to clear up the misunderstanding, to remind people that the virus is still present, and to ask them to wear face masks and wash their hands even if others do not follow the measures. Also, the CSO Ekoloji pou Ayiti established hand-washing stations in Furcy and its members stood at the stations to explain to the users which precautions and preventative measures to take, as well as how to make homemade sanitizer.

Thus, in places where the legitimacy and credibility of the government is disputed, such as Haiti, interlocutors such as CSOs and other local organizations can significantly contribute to effective crisis management. The above examples once again highlight the vital role of local actors in articulating and ‘narrowing down’ key messages and practices among the population that are central in managing the spread and effects of the virus.


AFP (2019) “Haïti: l’opposition manifeste contre « l’ingérence internationale » (Haiti: the opposition manifestes against the « international interference »”. Available at: https://5minutes.rtl.lu/actu/monde/a/1413480.html (Accessed: 14 December 2020).

Cénat, J. M. (2020) “The Vulnerability of Low-and Middle-Income Countries Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Haiti”, in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 37 (101684). Doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101684

Dorcela, S. and St. Jean, M. (2020) “Covid-19: Haiti is Vulnerable, but the International Community Can Help”. Available at: https://www.the-hospitalist.org/hospitalist/article/224836/coronavirus-updates/covid-19-haiti-vulnerable-international-community-can (Accessed: 19 July 2020).


[i] Refers to a diplomatic group composed of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, the EU, France, Germany, Spain, the US, and the OAS.

[ii] Telephonic conversation with a physician in Port-au-Prince on 4 July 2020 and with a health professional in Les Cayes on 20 July 2020.

[iii] Telephonic conversation with a physician in Port-au-Prince on 4 July 2020.

[iv] Telephonic conversation with a health professional in Les Cayes on 20 July 2020.

[v] See Feliciano, I. and Kargbo, C. (2020) “As COVID cases surge, Haiti’s Dr. Pape is on the frontline again”.

This article is an outcome of research conducted by the authors between June and August 2020 as part of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam’s ‘When Disaster Meets Conflict’ project. The research aimed to analyze the tensions between top-down measures implemented to face the COVID-19 emergency and the bottom-up responses and mechanisms seen among local leaders and institutions in Haiti. Methodologically, it was conducted by doing a secondary sources review and remote interviews with a number of Haitian health professionals.

About the authors:

Angela Sabogal is a sociologist who graduated from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. She is currently finishing an MA degree in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies ISS of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has six years of working experience in social project management in Colombia and Haiti.

Yuki Fujita is MA degree student in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her major at the ISS is the Social Policy for Development. Before coming to the ISS, she worked in the diplomatic corps in Haiti for two years from 2017 to 2019.

Are you looking for more content about Global Development and Social Justice? Subscribe to Bliss, the official blog of the International Institute of Social Studies, and stay updated about interesting topics our researchers are working on.

Revisiting ethnographic sites as an ongoing knowledge production practice

Is it important for ethnographers to revisit the sites where they conduct their research once their projects have been completed? Returning to the site where I conducted my fieldwork six months later indicated that the answer is both yes and no. It makes me believe that ethnography practice is an ongoing knowledge production project, as people’s perspectives and practices are always evolving.

In January 2020, just before COVID-19 was classified a global pandemic, I made a journey to the site where I did my research six months prior. I had fruitful discussions with those I had engaged with for my research: about their definition of art as a form of activism (a main finding of my research), research as a knowledge production process where researchers and participants can work together, as well as about the dialogue between academic discourse and practices in the field.

When I conducted fieldwork for my Master’s degree at ISS in Pemenang village in Indonesia in July 2019, my ethnographic objective was to explore how a small art community called Pasir Putih navigated life after an earthquake devastated Lombok, the island on which the village is situated, in 2018. I immersed myself in the community for a month, stayed in their houses in order to observe their daily life activities, and conducted semi-structured interviews with them. I consider my study a mini-ethnography because while one month was quite short and what I did cannot be considered an exhaustive ethnography, I did more than interviewing the Pasir Putih artists. I did participant observation to investigate “the strange in the familiar” in the artist’s everyday lives—and to help me understand what’s beyond the things the research participants explicitly mentioned in the interviews.

As an organization, Pasir Putih strongly values knowledge production and knowledge-sharing activities, and so the initial agreement was that because they let me to stay with them for a month, I had to come back and share the research results with them. They often asked me, “What does the outsider think of us? About our conceptions of the arts?” Furthermore, for them it was important to have a conversation about the research that involved them as participants. As Sibawaihi, one of Pasir Putih artists, told the other people in community before I presented the research results, he believed that research would help them to reflect on their position as artists in the village community.

Pasir Putih is a small art community formed in January 2010 by five undergraduate students in Pemenang village and now comprising 13 active members, of which only two are women. Most of the research community members have a Bachelor’s degree in different fields, such as communication and education studies, and none of them have attained an art degree through formal education. They have attained their skills in art by doing. When I was in the field, the artists also contributed to the community as teachers for extracurricular art subjects in junior high schools in North Lombok. On their website, Pasir Putih define themselves as an “…organisasi nirlaba egaliter berbasis di Kecamatan Pemenang, Lombok Utara, Nusa Tenggara Barat oleh pegiat kultural, aktivis media dan seniman sejak tahun 2010” (“an egalitarian non-profit organization initiated and run by cultural and media activists and artists in Pemenang District, North Lombok since 2010”).[1]

After discussing my research with the community, they told me they felt my research encouraged them to define what it is that they do as artists. Sibawaihi mentioned that being involved in the research and hearing about the findings has made them realize that what they do as artists is important for people around them. I saw their work as ‘art as activism’, while the community used art as a way to express their value in the society around them. This idea of ‘art as activism’ was based on the theories I had engaged with during my Master’s research, and it differed from the idea the research participants had of themselves. Yet they found it an interesting observation. For them, art is what they do—not just for the village community, but also from and by the village community. They rejected the term ‘activist’ to avoid being considered superior to other people in the village.

They were also interested in how research could be seen as a part of the “documentation of knowledge” that might be useful now or in the future. They saw my research as “an archive for what we do that can be consulted in the future”. Interestingly, they were curious about what my lecturers at my university thought of art. “Did your teachers agree with our definition of art?” one asked. In other words, Pasir Putih artists were engaged in knowledge production not only during the research process, but also after that.

Oka, one of the artists who was a research participant as he initiated a film screening project to re-engage village communities after the 2018 earthquake, said that he was interested in the term ‘ethnography’. He related the methodology to what they do as community artists, such as staying in different villages to screen films. From Oka’s perspective, living in communities for several months is key to an ethnographic research methodology, because it helps the researcher to understand the research subject by regarding their daily practices as well as through daily conversations. Yet he felt that my stay should have been longer for me to be able to get a better grasp of their activities.

From my perspective, it was fascinating to have follow-up discussions with the research participants and to learn that they also benefited from (if I can use this term) the exchange of knowledge during the research project. As some of them expressed in the discussion, the findings of the research help them to reflect more on their perspectives and practices as artists/activists in the community. In addition, they saw my research as “archiving initiatives” related to what they had been doing, although the language barriers (I wrote the thesis in English) meant most of them could not access what I wrote. I saw the discussion that emerged about their art perspectives and practices among the Pemenang village community when I revisited the site as an interesting dialogue between academic research and practices in the field. Furthermore, ‘revisiting the site’ can be seen as an attempt to create more equal relations between researchers and the research participants in the field.

If I think back to the fieldwork, however, I realize that it was difficult to make the artists fully engaged in the research and vice versa. Given the time constraints, it was difficult for me to be fully involved in their projects. The data mostly came from semi-structured interviews rather than informal conversations with the artists. This means that my initial plan to create more equal relations with the participants was not fully successful. Despite that, the observations of the artists’ daily activities enriched the findings from the interviews.

[1] http://pasirputih.org/tentang-organisasi/, accessed on 27 September 2019

Image: Lize Swartz

About the author:

Daya Sudrajat is a researcher and policy advocate in inclusive education issues based in Jakarta, Indonesia. She has a strong interest in knowledge production in marginalized communities and this led her to write a thesis about art as alternative development practice in North Lombok, Indonesia. She holds a MA degree from ISS Erasmus University of Rotterdam.

Are you looking for more content about Global Development and Social Justice? Subscribe to Bliss, the official blog of the International Institute of Social Studies, and stay updated about interesting topics our researchers are working on.

Eight years after Haiti shook: where has all the money gone? by Avagay Simpson

UntitledAbout the author:

Avagay Simpson is a recent graduate of the International institute of Social Studies with a Master’s degree in Development Studies specialising in Governance and Development Policy. Prior to studying at the ISS, she worked with Office of the Contractor-General, one of Jamaica’s key anti-corruption organisations. She also worked for several years in project implementation focusing on enhancing governance locally and nationally in Jamaica and the Caribbean. She also holds a graduate degree in International Relations.

Eight years after the earthquake that in 2010 crippled the small country of Haiti, scores of Haitians still have not been able to rebuild their lives despite billions of dollars pledged in the form of humanitarian aid. Recent research on the dynamics of the Dutch partnership SHO for humanitarian assistance in post-disaster Haiti shows that an overreliance on trust within partnerships decreases operational effectiveness and transparency, and that more checks and balances are needed to ensure that financial aid reaches those Haitians still in need.

The struggle continues

Eight years have come and gone since an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale on 12 January 2010 devastated Haiti and ripped apart its community. The earthquake caused the displacement of millions of Haitians and the death of over 300,000 people, although this number remains inconclusive. It was labelled as the first major urban disaster in recent history, leading to humanitarian aid pledges totalling over US$13 billion.

While eight years have passed since this tragic event, the United Nations reported that by 2017, many Haitians were still residing in camps and more than 2 million people were still in need of humanitarian assistance. Given the disjuncture between the total amount of aid pledged and those Haitians still requiring help, a burning question that scholars, journalists, and humanitarian practitioners have sought to answer is: “Where has all the money gone?”

Partnerships: Too untransparent?

Multiple explanations have arisen for why responses to the Haitian disaster were ineffective and produced a chaotic post-disaster environment. One of the many views is that the coordination of international relief efforts posed a major challenge to relief efforts, in addition to the lack of accountability in the disbursement of received donations. Partnerships forged between NGOs and international organisations have become commonplace particularly in the humanitarian relief sector due to the belief that such partnerships could maximise economic benefits for partners and strengthen organisations’ individual efforts through collaboration.

However, a number of scholars, such as David Lewis in his book Non-Governmental Organisations, Management and Development, have suggested that civil society partnerships receive less respect than intended due to the degradation of the term ‘partnership’ following extensive scrutiny over the past years. Considering this tainted image of partnerships, Lewis argues that the management of NGOs and the inter-agency partnerships they create need to be reviewed.

With this in mind, my recent research* attempted to provide some answers to questions pertaining to this ‘black hole’ of humanitarian aid in Haiti by reviewing partnerships among civil society NGOs and organisations, with particular attention paid to partnership dynamics such as transparency and accountability. It comprised an analysis of the Dutch NGO emergency relief efforts in Haiti during 2010 by exploring the collaborative processes of Dutch NGOs through the Stichting Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties (SHO) partnership. Network governance theory allowed for a closer look at the governance of this network and the effect of governance dynamics on upward transparency and accountability.

The SHO: Too large to handle?

The SHO is a Dutch platform comprising nine development organisations such as Oxfam Novib, UNICEF and Save the Children that calls for and manages public donations for humanitarian aid following disasters. Following the Haitian earthquake, the SHO raised €112 million through public donations following extensive media campaigns. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs donated approximately €41 million, or one-third of the total, to the SHO for disaster relief efforts.


However, the Dutch public and government, like the international community, questioned the efficiency and effectiveness of the use of donated money for the benefit of disaster-affected Haitians. The Netherlands Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer) with its mandate of checking the efficient and effective spending of public funding in its 2010 expenditure report found that “the funding flows in Haiti are not sufficiently clear and it cannot be determined what part of the aid funds is received by which international umbrella organisations, fellow aid organisations and the organisations’ own field offices” (Court of Audit 2011: 5). This report, alongside the IOB Evaluation Assisting Earthquake Victims: Evaluation of Dutch Cooperating Aid Agencies (SHO) Support to Haiti in 2010 by the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB – Inspectie Ontwikkelingssamewerking en Beleidsevaluatie) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, were the key foci of this study.

The research found that the SHO in its relief efforts in Haiti made use of a network of 36 organisations that excluded local Haitian civil society organisations, NGOs and government organisations. The member organisations operated in five different modalities. This resulted in a number of issues related to the coordination and implementation of programmes and relief efforts, including: extensive management chains; increased transaction costs; the duplication of activities; value clashes resulting in operational challenges; and multiple accountability disorder due to the presence of multiple principals and agents. This made it difficult to trace the funds and to assess whether they were effectively and efficiently expended.

Overreliance on trust

The SHO network and the independent functioning of each participating organisation in implementing their activities created a complex system that resulted in major challenges related to oversight and a lack of transparency regarding the spending of public funding.

The SHO and its member organisations relied on trust in each other to ensure that each activity was implemented in accordance with the principles of transparency and accountability and to the standards governing emergency humanitarian aid. This strong level of trust ignored the fact that individuals are rational beings that in group settings will not necessarily act in the common interest of the group, but may pursue certain objectives based on self-interest.

The study found that the interests of not only individual actors is of concern, but also those of the individual organisations in the extended network, as their interests may differ from that of the SHO and its members. The lack of strong oversight mechanisms by the SHO to determine if there was a breach and its inability to hold actors accountable or apply sanctions weakened the veracity of the reports and work done, resulting in the questions of transparency and accountability of the aid given in Haiti.



The SHO’s example shows that heavy reliance on trust is a major issue requiring a thorough review by all organisations working in the humanitarian aid sector. The recent disclosure in October 2017 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) of instances of fraud by officials involved in combating the Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014-2016 amounting to €5.2 million heightens the need for NGOs as well as international organisations to review their approaches and to recognise the need for adequate checks and balances.

In an emergency humanitarian relief context that is complex, uncertain, and often political in nature, sound policies and transparent processes contribute to sound governance. Such measures also control unintended meanings and consequences while simultaneously acting as barriers against the purposeful exploitation of resources that ultimately prevents aid from reaching those in need.

Picture credit: RIBI Image Library

*In partial fulfilment of a recently attained MA degree in Development Studies at the ISS.
Dutch Court of Audit (2011) ‘Accounting for Haiti Aid Funds 2010’, November 2011, The Hague: Netherlands.