Empowering people and communities

We believe that people affected by conflict and armed violence should play a central role in deciding their aid. They know their environment and what they need. After all, they’re the ones concerned.
Today, people can convey their needs and ask for help thanks to new technologies. SMS or social media for example permits beneficiaries in certain situations to communicate with aid organizations from anywhere. Technology can support the humanitarian response, ensuring a two-way dialogue between people affected by conflict and those trying to help them. But technology should not replace vital face-to-face discussions.

With reliable, first-hand information, we tailor our activities according to people’s needs and vulnerabilities and seek to strengthen their ability to rebuild their lives and cope with future crises. We also seek their feedback on whether their needs are met.

But empowering people and communities is easier said than done. It requires the capacity to listen to all those involved, to understand the culture and mores and to carefully consider local dynamics. If we can achieve this then we can truly partner with beneficiaries and know that our help is what will provide the greatest, long lasting benefit. 

  • Sexual violence and remedies

    For Navi Pillay, High Commissioner on Human Rights, prosecutions and condemnations are not sufficient in bringing the women justice. These women should be involved in the proceedings and be invited to speak about what sort of compensation they need.
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  • Kenya: "My assessment of aid"

    Safina Bavuga, a Congolese refugee in Kenya, describes the humanitarian assistance he has received in Kakuma camp and proposes some improvements that could be made to improve the livelihoods of people living in the camp.
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  • Self-employment in Somalia

    The short road to self-employment in Somalia: ICRC vocational training
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  • Kenya: We don't need aid

    Photographer Boniface Mwangi explains why he believes Kenyans should not be on the receiving end of international aid.
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  • Yemen: Supporting women in prisons

    Itidal Abdu Nasser Ahmed explains how she is helping female prisoners rebuild their lives.
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  • Crowdsourcing for humanity?

    Juliana Rotich from Ushahidi explains what crowdsourcing is, who can use it, and how it can help.
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  • Kenya: Empowering communities

    In conversation with James Kisia, Deputy Secretary General of the Kenyan Red Cross.
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  • Empowering people and communities

    ICRC president Peter Maurer talks about engaging people, understanding their needs and empowering them to cope with extreme situations of violence.
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  • Serbia: Empowering the elderly

    In conversation with Vesna Milenovic, Secretary General of the Serbian Red Cross.
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