Building on the capacities of crisis-affected populations: From victims to actors

Pat Gibbons, Ronan McDermott, Sulagna Maitra, Joost Herman

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Attempts to consolidate humanitarian actors into a humanitarian system are occurring alongside efforts to generate greater coherence between humanitarian action, development and peace-building. Whether a strengthened humanitarian system can adhere to the humanitarian principles while engaging in post-conflict societal reconstruction is unclear. This would require humanitarian action to address the victimhood mentality when dealing with affected populations and to seek out capacities as well as needs. In so doing the inherent political nature of humanitarian action and the manner in which it is prone to instrumentalization needs to be recognized. This would assist in generating the sensitivity required in order to ensure that humanitarian action would ultimately support rather than undermine reconciliation and the building of democratic institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-560
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • complex emergencies
  • humanitarian action
  • peace-building
  • reconciliation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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