Securing Access: Maintaining Presence & Proximity in Insecure Settings

Release Date: 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The ICRC delivered water and food to Nahr al-Bared on Saturday, but access to thousands in need remains limited. Hugh Macleod/IRIN

If the audio player above does not load, you can listen to the podcast here.

This podcast is produced in partnership with Humanitarian Outcomes.

Recurring violence against civilians and humanitarian aid workers affects both the quantity and quality of protection and assistance reaching the most vulnerable populations. It also requires a reassessment of how humanitarian professionals plan and strategically implement aid delivery in insecure environments. Global data indicate that there is a relatively small pool of international aid agencies that consistently work in the most dangerous countries, and not enough to meet demand. This results in significant gaps in assistance where it is needed most.

In conversations with key experts and practitioners, this podcast will consider how to compensate for this gap and ensure continued presence and proximity in insecure environments. The podcast will build upon the preliminary findings of the “Securing Access in Volatile Environments” (SAVE), research project of Humanitarian Outcomes and the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), which has been researching the ways in which organisations gain and maintain humanitarian access and sustained proximity to vulnerable populations in highly insecure environments, namely in Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria. Panelists will discuss lessons for retaining access while ensuring the delivery of quality aid in insecure locations. This podcast will address the following questions:

  • How do we improve our understanding of humanitarian presence, particularly given the reluctance of organizations to share information on their operations in insecure environments?
  • What enables certain organizations to maintain access and quality programming despite insecurity, while others cannot?
  • How have humanitarian practitioners navigated the challenges of negotiating access and consistent presence in insecure settings? What methods or tools are needed to continually enhance access in these constrained environments?
  • What are the implications of operating in environments with reduced visibility, oversight, and increased reliance on local and national partners?

Expert Commentators:

John Caccavale
Research Associate, Humanitarian Outcomes
Twitter: @jtcaccavale
Will Carter
Senior Researcher, Humanitarian Outcomes
Katherine Haver
Partner, Humanitarian Outcomes
Twitter: @kchaver
Shaun Hughes
Head of Programme at United Nations World Food Programme, South Sudan
Twitter: @ethiopiashaun
Andre Heller Perrache
Head of Programs, MSF UK
Abby Stoddard
Partner, Humanitarian Outcomes
Twitter: @AbbyStoddard
Rehan Zahid
Policy Officer, WFP
Steve Zyck
Independent Researcher/Consultant
Twitter: @SteveZyck



pedro cordero de ciria's picture


may be we need to be present in these endroits giving more power to the staff from the área. This will increase, for sure, the expense in training, monitoring, supervisón.

I think organizations which invest more in local staff can have more presence and understanding of the local situation/dynamics and can be better and more effective operations.

A way of increasing access and operations in complicate environments can be to deal with all parties in a conflicto, constant relationship with local leaders, knowing from them their needs and getting also from them information regarding different topics, security among others and may be giving them a rol as mediators in from of local armed actors.

Implications: less control of operations, less quality in programmes.


i suggest we have experts in various affected areas who will be ready and willing g to rush to such sites for emergency aid and to always be present even before such events to sensitize the population the effects of living in such dangerous environments for disasters can occur at anytime so they should be sensitized on relocating to better sites and for the government to provide them shelter before and after such disasters.


Legal practitioner and consultant.

SIMON MUREU's picture

TRUE   and we must als think about what type of goverment we are to deal with

chaplain Simon mureu,

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Allows content to be broken up into multiple pages using the separator: <!--pagebreak-->.
  • Allows breaking the content into pages by manually inserting <!--pagebreak--> placeholder or automatic page break by character or word limit, it depends on your settings below. Note: this will work only for CCK fields except for comment entity CCK fields.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Recent Tweets

Our Sponsor

A Program Of

All materials © 2014 Harvard University

Back to Top

Back to Top