Humanitarian Crisis Relief: How NGOs Save Lives - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1102 Words
Date:  2023-01-16


Humanitarian organizations are tasked with ensuring that human life is restored to normal to specific populations that are devastated by an inevitable calamity. When disasters strike; either natural or human made, local or global non-governmental organizations source for resources from donors and pass them down to the people that need them urgently (Dencik & Allan, 2017). Without such organizations, then communities would have felt the full descent of the calamities, and it would have them more time to recover. This statement studs the importance of such organizations and highlights the benefits of respecting them. A dissection of the matter relays risks that the humanitarian organizations face, and this paper focuses on the strategies that the organizations can take to mitigate the risks and maximize the output of their processes. It is noble to note that people are the central piece of a humanitarian organization (Heaslip, Kovacs, & Haavisto, 2018). The services and products from the organization are collected from people with excess resources or who have the willingness to give, are meant for people struck by disasters and calamities, and people conduct the operations.

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There are numerous risks that humanitarian organizations face and before they launch operations in a specific jurisdiction across a specified timeline, they must assess them and know how to reduce them or work around them (Jachens, Houdmont & Thomas, 2019). Three sets of pieces in the humanitarian puzzle can get affected by risks; they are the workers, the people requiring the aid and the resources; this includes equipment that the humanitarian crew is carrying and the products planned for distribution to calamity victims. Risks that humanitarian organizations face are not homogenous; they are almost the same that any organization; profit or non-profit face in their daily operations (Metcalfe, Martin & Pantuliano, 2011). After organizations calculate the risks, they must include their reputation in the equation. Most of these organizations are independent, and they want to remain unbiased so that they can attract many donations when they are needed. Due to these some organizations avoid operating in highly volatile jurisdictions, impartiality is paramount in this field. Donors that are the base of humanitarian services usually have a set of objectives that they relay to the organizations before they donate, and sometimes they conflict with the main missions and visions of the organizations. A study into the matter reveals that these demands sometimes offer a compromise, and this leads to the senescence of the humanitarian organizations.


All the risks that these organizations face are classified into three. Contextual risks, programmatic risks, and institutional risks. The three have different jurisdictions, and they independently affect the operations of the organizations (McCallum, Liu, See, Mechler, Keating, Hochrainer-Stigler & Szoenyi, 2016). Contextual risks refer to the factors that the organizations have no or little control and this includes the failure of state organizations to offer security, poor communication, and transport systems to coordinate their operations, immense corruption within a jurisdiction, diplomatic ties between the country that the organization originates from and the country receiving the aid, humanitarian crises (Schneiker, 2018). Sometimes the country receiving dictates the number of organizations that can access the hit area and the kind of operations they can conduct.

Programmatic risks relate to the operations of the humanitarian organizations in the areas that are affected by a calamity. Each organization has a set of objectives, missions, and visions. Sometimes the goals are too high or the surrounding environment that does not allow for timely progress (Green, 2015). This risk displays risks that other parties can suffer due to the programs of a humanitarian company. There is the acknowledgment that there may be numerous humanitarian organizations in a jurisdiction and that the activity of one may affect the programs of the other. In a highly volatile area; especially one that the locals are fighting against each other, one community may attack the other when they notice that they are receiving large amounts of help. This threat is also passed to the humanitarian workers, and this disrupts operations.

Institutional risk refers to the internal risks that a humanitarian organization faces before and during its operations. Part of the problem may be that the organization loses its human resource due to fear or insecurity (Dijkzeul & Sandvik, 2019). As stated in the earlier parts, some donors who give substantial amounts of donations may require the organization to have different objectives from their own, and this confuses. Humanitarian organizations are always under the scrutiny of laws, national security concerns, and politics. When they follow all the rules and guidelines of the various parties, their options are reduced, and they are sometimes forced to abandon their duties. The other risk is that donors may fail to show up due to the complexity or simplicity of the calamity; donors tend to avoid politically volatile circumstances.


Collaboration is the most effective way to minimize risks. Here independent humanitarian organizations are advised to liaise with international organizations like Red Cross and united nation bodies (Ozdamar & Ertem, 2015). Crowd donations is another mitigation that organizations can use to reduce the risk of donors pulling out, and the organization remaining cash strapped (L'Hermitte, Bowles, Tatham & Brooks, 2015). Organizations are also urged to train their workforce on simple defense skills and working under pressure. This aspect ensures that the workforce endures in diverse environments and stick to the main objective.


Dencik, L., & Allan, S. (2017). In/visible conflicts: NGOs and the visual politics of humanitarian photography. Media, Culture & Society, 39(8), 1178-1193.

Dijkzeul, D., & Sandvik, K. B. (2019). A world in turmoil: governing risk, establishing order in humanitarian crises. Disasters.

Green, D. (2015). Fit for the Future? Development trends and the role of international NGOs.Oxfam GB.

Heaslip, G., Kovacs, G., & Haavisto, I. (2018). Cash-based response in relief: the impact for humanitarian logistics. Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 8(1), 87-106.

Jachens, L., Houdmont, J., & Thomas, R. (2019). Effort-reward imbalance and burnout among humanitarian aid workers. Disasters, 43(1), 67-87.

L'Hermitte, C., Bowles, M., Tatham, P., & Brooks, B. (2015). An integrated approach to agility in humanitarian logistics. Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, 5(2), 209-233.

McCallum, I., Liu, W., See, L., Mechler, R., Keating, A., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., ... & Szoenyi, M. (2016). Technologies to support community flood disaster risk reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 7(2), 198-204.

Metcalfe, V., Martin, E., & Pantuliano, S. (2011). Risk in humanitarian action: towards a common approach. HPG Commissioned Paper. London: ODI.

Ozdamar, L., & Ertem, M. A. (2015). Models, solutions and enabling technologies in humanitarian logistics. European Journal of Operational Research, 244(1), 55-65.

Schneiker, A. (2018). RiskAware or RiskAverse? Challenges in Implementing Security Risk Management Within Humanitarian NGOs. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy, 9(2), 107-131.

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