Aid under fire: people, principles and practices of humanitarian aid in Angola

Title Aid under fire: people, principles and practices of humanitarian aid in Angola
Funded by NWO, personal VIDI grant
Collaboration Disaster Studies, Wageningen University
Time 2006-2011
Brief Description Humanitarian aid prides itself for delivering principled aid that is needs-based, neutral and independent. These principles, defined by the Red Cross and subscribed to by 300 agencies around the world, are meant to forge the trust needed to get access to people in need while protecting the safety of the aid workers. However, numerous other actors too provide aid or otherwise intervene in conflict situations. This is particularly clear in the country of Angola that has known conflict since 1961. Different external actors have intervened in the country for a diversity of motivations. The question is what difference it has made whether aid was provided by principled humanitarians or by other parties? How do humanitarians secure their status as neutral organisations and is their aid really more need-based?

The research focuses on the humanitarian complex through studying everyday practices of policy and decision making and by following programmes at the interfaces of intervention. The core of the research consists of two PhD projects that focus on the impact of aid on both livelihoods and rural institutions in Angola, and a multi-sited ethnography on the understanding, motivations and practices of major international stakeholders in the Angola conflict.

Researchers Dr. H.K. van Dijkhorst, Prof. dr. ir. D.J.M. Hilhorst, Dr. M. Marcelino Serrano
Key Publications D. J. M. Hilhorst (2013): Disaster, Conflict and Society in Crisis pp. 284 , London and New York

H. van Dijkhorst (2011): Rural realities between crisis and normality , Wageningen. December 6, 2011

M. Marcelino Serrano (2012): Strengthening institutions or institutionalising weaknesses. January 30, 2012

D.J.M. Hilhorst (2007): Saving Lives or saving societies? Realities of relief and reconstruction

B. Jansen, D.J.M. Hilhorst (2010): Humanitarian space as arena Development and Change pp. 1117 – 1139

J. Herman, D. Dijkzeul, D.J.M. Hilhorst (2010): Social Dynamics of Humanitarian Action Disasters pp. S127 – S129

D.J.M. Hilhorst, M.M. Serrano (2010): The humanitarian arena in Angola 1975-2008 Disasters pp. S 183 – S 201