A major theme in humanitarian discourse over the last 25 years, effectiveness has been a central concern for those seeking to reform humanitarian practice and governance. Research on humanitarian effectiveness has taken the concept at face value, exploring what is effective, how to be more effective, and what the impact has been of individual initiatives. With effectiveness at the forefront of strategic discussions within Save the Children and across the humanitarian sector, the Humanitarian Affairs Team (HAT) felt that there are important questions to be asked:
- Why has effectiveness become an organising ideal for humanitarians?
- What is the character of the ‘humanitarian effectiveness agenda’ that has been constructed of initiatives to improve humanitarian performance?
- Why is effectiveness understood in the way it is, and what are the implications of all this?
Setting out to investigate the forces and motivations that have shaped the humanitarian effectiveness agenda, its influence over humanitarian action, and how its contribution to notions of success relates to the circumstances and aspirations of people in countries affected by crisis, we planned seven field studies (Central America, Liberia, Niger, the occupied Palestinian territories, the Philippines, South Asia and the Syria region) to provide insight into different understandings of effectiveness and the interests involved in forming these understandings. The Echo Chamber and the accompanying Essays on Humanitarian Effectiveness are the culmination of a research project that started in October 2014 in partnership with the University of Manchester’s Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute.
Download the complete version of The Echo Echo Chamber: Results, Management and the Humanitarian Effectiveness Agenda or just the summary.
This report has been produced as a discussion paper and does not reflect Save the Children policy.
Photo credit: Hedinn Halldorsson/Save the Children.
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