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.