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Our blog: 'Mind the Gap'

For humanitarians moving forward

Methods & Tools for Meaningful Community Engagement

There is a clear fatigue among communities in humanitarian settings towards the overwhelming and often imposing presence of humanitarian actors collecting information in times of crisis, often duplicating efforts, and limiting genuine engagement. It is crucial to address this major limitation by maximizing existing and trusting community and partners’ network, assets, and activities, as well as to adapt the way we work with communities. We recommend using community engagement methods that move away from the ‘traditional’ yet often counterproductive top down ‘focus-group discussion-only’ format which tends to create unbalanced relationships between interviewers and interviewees. We reviewed existing methods borrowed from ...
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World Humanitarian Day 2020

What drives humanitarians to continue save and protect lives despite conflict, insecurity, and risks linked to COVID-19: women voices from the field We are pleased to introduce you to amazing women humanitarians who are doing wonders all around the world to support their disaster-stroked or disaster-prone communities, and tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges! We selected these incredible women to pay tribute to their dedication, commitment, and inspiring vision. They are running around bringing positive changes in their communities, but we rarely read about them in the news. That is why we wanted to shed the lights on them today and listen to their ...
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World Refugee Day: Localizing innovation to address displacement challenges

Can innovation and technology help us do a better job in displacement settings? Our latest blog post explores good (and less good) practices with regards to innovation and technologies addressing displacement. It recommends more investment in localized innovation processes and solutions, while suggesting how to best capitalize on ‘external’ technologies. By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS. For the 20th anniversary of World Refugee Day, UNHCR released its global report on displacement: more than 1% of the world population is forcibly displaced today.[1] Yet, despite billions of dollars spent annually[2], the aid community has thus far failed to address the deep root causes ...
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Practical Best Practices on Humanitarian-Development Nexus

Last week, UNICEF asked Mindset-PCS to share best practices on humanitarian-development nexus. Here is a rapid overview of core recommendations. As the nature of emergencies changes and development challenges are more concerning than ever before, current ways of conceptualizing and providing humanitarian and development assistance are being challenged. There is a need to find faster, cheaper, more effective, and more sustainable ways to support and work with communities affected by crisis, displacement and structural vulnerabilities. In such context, the international community has been advocating to connect the once-separated humanitarian and development sectors. The ‘nexus approach’ requires humanitarian and development actors ...
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Where are the women from the Global South in humanitarian panels?

By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS. A few weeks ago, while preparing a panel on humanitarian funding, my colleague Karen and I received an uplifting message from a potential speaker: “I will be happy to join the panel provided that the panel selection will genuinely guarantee gender balance and diversity”. As we are striving to champion gender equality, diversity, and inclusiveness in all levels of our work, we were thrilled with such pledge. Yet, it was one of the rare times, in 13 years of humanitarian work, that I came across such a conditionality from a guest speaker. The humanitarian profession, compared to many other ...
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“SDG money: Exploring institutional fundraising pathways for innovation”

As part of Google’s SDG accelerator, Karen and Ophelie from Mindset-PCS facilitated a session**, on May 19, on “SDG innovation money: Exploring institutional fundraising pathways”, for 11 amazing start-ups. * * * The humanitarian and development sector is not an impenetrable fortress for start-ups as many may think. It offers (maybe hides?) a multitude of funding opportunities that may not be obvious to entrepreneurs who are often more familiar with traditional innovation funding mechanisms. In this session, we explored three concrete pathways to obtain innovation funding from institutional donors and (inter)governmental agencies: 1) grant-making; 2) direct partnerships (bilateral and triangular ...
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It is time to be genuine with our do-no-harm approach

By Ophelie Namiech, Mindset-PCS ** As humanitarian practitioners, we hear a lot about do-no-harm. Many of us have had to fill up that ‘do-no-harm’ box in calls for proposal countless times. We have learned, sometimes at our own expenses, that activities should not exacerbate nor create tensions or inequalities. Yet, too many activities still disrupt the social, economic, cultural, and natural environment of the communities where we work. Sometimes, we are even too busy with our own experience, assumptions, and responsibilities to realize that our presence does undermine community relations and structures. Community engagement has been recognized as a core ...
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The silent pandemic we don’t hear about

By Ophelie Namiech, senior advisor in humanitarian affairs** While the COVID-19 pandemic is raging around the globe, another yet more silent tragedy is unfolding in front of our eyes. Violence against women and girls is bursting everywhere. Prior to the virus, 30% of women in a relationship experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence from their partners during their lifetime. The gloomy reality of violence against women and girls is now exponentially soaring due to the current global health crisis. Since early April, half of the world’s population has been on lock-down. This means that at least 30% of women in partnerships are currently ...
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Combating effectively COVID-19 in fragile environments with WASH resilience

By Jose Luis Martin Bordes, Senior WASH specialist and advisor (Mindset-PCS’s pool of advisors)** “We don’t have enough water to drink and cook our food, so where will we get water to wash our hands frequently?” lamented Anna, a resident of the Kibera slum, when the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Kenya was announced in March. Anna is a single mother of seven children making a living as a nanny in the most populated slum of Nairobi – and largest urban slum in Africa.[1] In Kijiji Southlands slum, also in Kenya, Beatrice is well-aware of the coronavirus risks but ...
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Welcome to ‘Mind the gap’, our latest humanitarian community blog

Dear fellow humanitarians and MindSeters, In this challenging time of Coronavirus, we face fear, uncertainty, emotional and geographical distance, isolation, disease, and an overwhelming influx of information. We can no longer rely on our comforting routines, and are forced to construct new habits to adapt to this changing reality. A locked-down world is painfully trying to combat an invisible yet hideous shadow constantly lingering over our heads. Yes, we are in a crisis.  Yet, despite this unsettling reality, we are witnessing a surge of inspiring community coping mechanisms and good practices everywhere.  We are discovering ways to band together, tapping ...
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