Posted: May 24th, 2022
ARE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS EFFECTIVE IN DELIVERING HUMANITARIAN AID?
The number of people in need of aid has increased enormously in the past few years. This has also led to the need for interventions by international organizations, whose number has also significantly risen as the world progresses through crisis and disaster management. The international bodies are made up of members of states who come together under similar values and mandates to help aid in disaster management and saving of life. Some of the key international organizations include the United Nations, which has been at the forefront of offering assistance to developing countries and continents such as Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world. The organizations have been making strides, but scholars have questioned their effectiveness in delivering humanitarian aid. Therefore, this paper will analyze the effectiveness of international organizations in providing humanitarian aid. The objective of this study will be to determine the perception of the recipients of humanitarian aid towards international organizations. The study will be premised on descriptive research design, a design in qualitative research. The data collection methods will include interviews, case study analysis, and online surveys, which will be used to collect secondary data. Researchers and other humanitarian organizations will use the study’s findings to deliver aid to the people.
Since the beginning of time, human beings, in one way or the other, have required help from one another. Factors such as violence, natural disasters such as floods, fires, drought and famine, political crisis, wartime crisis, insecurity, and pandemics have necessitated the need for relief among citizens of different states in the world. The number of reported disasters and people affected by disasters has increased tremendously over the past fifty years. A country’s local government may be in a position to help its people, but sometimes interventions from other states and governments may be needed. If the government requests or accepts external aid, several international humanitarian organizations and actors may chip in to support disaster response and disaster response preparedness. International organizations have been formed in the recent past to help deal with the humanitarian crisis and to offer relief aid to countries affected. .
The primary role played by the international organizations is offering relief aid, which needs to be unique to individual emergencies and is subdivided into different categories depending on the type of relief aid required. Over the past few years, many humanitarian agencies and corporate and private organizations have grown enormously. In addition, while they may have different mandates, values, strategies, goals, activities, and actors, they primarily function under one theme of universal humanitarian principle.
According to the Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 1 in 29 people needs humanitarian assistance and relief aid, which means that organizations have to be established to offer the aid. Data shows that in 2022 over 247 million people will require humanitarian assistance and protection. Pandemics such as the recent COVID-19, which shook the humanitarian sector to the core, have contributed significantly to the rise in the number o people in need of humanitarian aid. The pandemic continues to take a heavy toll in developing countries while civilians continue to be affected the most by conflict and extreme cases of poverty. Some international organizations, which deliver humanitarian aid, include United Nations, which has other entities under it, including UNDP, UNHCR, and UNICEF, which play the following roles.
Works in promoting the rights of children and caring for millions of children in need of aid
This organization helps in achieving the eradication of poverty, reducing inequalities and exclusion.
This organization works to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find refuge for refugees in other states.
Acronyms and Abbreviations
UN- United Nations
WHO- World Health Organization
UNICEF- the United Nations Childrens Fund
COVID-19- Corona Virus 2019
UNCHR United Nations Refugee Agency
Humanitarian and International organizations are supposed to be at the forefront of delivering effective responses, but they cannot produce consistent and optimal results. This paper will therefore seek to analyze the effectiveness of International Organizations in delivering humanitarian aid. The paper will aim to stimulate further studies about humanitarian effectiveness and what this will mean for various international organizations.
The core universal mandate of the aforementioned international organizations is to decrease morbidity and mortality, enhance well being, alleviate suffering, uphold human dignity and uphold the quality of life .Many people however believe that international humanitarian organizations have been unsuccessful in delivering their roles through issues such as lack of coordination, biasness, and the duplication of services. This has instead failed to meet the needs of those in crisis-stricken countries.
This thesis aims to examine how effectively International Organizations deliver humanitarian aid. The study will be done by analyzing the problem of corruption concerning international aid and discussing international aid delivered to crisis-stricken areas countries and how effective the aid is to the people.
Are international Organizations effective in delivering humanitarian aid?
1. The hypothesis to inform the study will be that international organizations are not always effective in their delivery of humanitarian aid, especially when the international players have their organization’s interests vested.
2. International organizations are sometimes biased in their delivery of humanitarian and relief aid.
Importance of Humanitarian Aid
It helps in saving a life- this is the first reason why humanitarian aid is important. The main aim of humanitarian response when people are affected by disasters or conflicts is to prevent loss of life. Humanitarian aid plays a critical role in limiting the effects, loss of life, and suffering caused by disasters. It becomes possible to reduce the impact of disasters on countries through effective humanitarian action.
It helps in rebuilding and Developing Livelihoods
One of the impacts of crises, conflicts, or disasters is the loss of livelihood. Humanitarian aid is crucial in assisting people to rebuild their livelihoods and return to the position of being able to provide for themselves and their families. Without aid, many people and communities may not recover from the crisis. Through projects meant to re-establish businesses and provide jobs, people can get back on their feet. This could be through cash donations, business micro-finance, and the provision of resources and tools for the development of livelihoods. International organizations such as UNHCR works at helping refugees settle and get back into their lives by providing funding and making contributions toward business opportunities
Works to Ensure Preparedness for Future Crises
Humanitarian preparedness may take many forms, which include the provision of aid supplies, building systems aimed at improving future responses, and helping vulnerable communities. Preparedness is essential in saving lives when disaster hits. Being prepared for a disaster means having mechanisms so that when disaster hits then people can be assisted quickly and effectively. People living in areas, which are prone to crisis, must become well prepared with humanitarian aid.
They Work to Provide Education to Children in Disaster-Prone Areas
Millions of children lack the opportunity to have access to education around the world. this may be a result of conflict, natural calamities, or poverty. International organizations and humanitarian actors are always at the forefront in ensuring that they provide education to children who may not have the opportunity to go to school. in recognition that education is crucial to a child’s development, it becomes the mandate of international organizations to provide children from marginalized areas a chance to attend school.
Humanitarian aid is also offered through programs such as “education in emergencies” when schooling is disrupted by the crisis. International organizations work to ensure that education continues for these children.
Functions of International Organizations
International organizations draw is comprised of at least three states, which have activities in the states, and the members are bound by a formal agreement. These international organizations serve many diverse functions, which include the collection of information, monitoring trends, delivering services and aid, settling disputes, and providing platforms and forums for a bargain. The organizations can also help in fostering cooperative behavior by providing political forums through which different states can work in unity. Together with other organizations such as NGOs, which have almost similar functions, international organizations are also useful as they mobilize public support, monitor the effectiveness of foreign aid, and in providing information and the required proficiency.
International organizations also function for aggregation and Articulation
The organizations bring the interested states into the same sets of frameworks to show their interests in the world society. IO also play the role of an instrument and actor in the international system, this means that they are used by their members to achieve their foreign and sometimes their domestic policy objectives.
Humanitarian Organizations and Different Types Of International Organizations
Humanitarian organizations offer aid to people who suffer, particularly victims of conflict, famine, and natural disasters helping them get back on their feet there are different categories of relief and humanitarian organizations
Actions against Hunger: the organizations work to save the lives of people suffering from hunger by providing them access to food and safe water for their livelihoods.
Doctors without Borders – is comprised of doctors and other health workers who assist populations in distress and those who have been injured. International Rescue Committee, is a body, that assists people displaced by wars, natural disasters, or persecutions.
There are two major types of humanitarian organizations international governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations. IGOs are those that are created through intergovernmental agreements such as the UN and the African Union (AU). International non-governmental organization from the latter definition refers to any international organization, which is not created by any means of intergovernmental agreements. Among them, including Red Cross, and Doctors without Borders among others.
Ineffectiveness Of International Organizations in The Delivery of Humanitarian Aid
According to Archers, theoretical contribution, he observes that many international organizations may lack the ability to have an impact on the international political, social, and economic systems.
International Aid does not benefit people in need
Many studies conducted in this field suggest that international organizations have been ineffective in their delivery of humanitarian aid. There are many efforts at funding humanitarian efforts however looking at statistics of the international budgets of countries such as the third country, the levels of progress appear to be low this being in comparison with the huge sums of money received. For example, one study showed that Africa as a continent gets about $50 billion of foreign funding annually, but still, there is a great discrepancy because the aid seems to benefit a few people while leaving over 600 million people who live below the poverty line .
International Aid promotes corruption and Dependence
International aid promotes and strengthens the occurrences of corruption in countries where the menace is already prevalent. For many countries especially those, which make up sub-Saharan Africa this, is the case. According to Transparency International, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the largest recipients of foreign aid, which has the worlds lowest-ranked countries in many areas of development and governance. This has shown that international aid only reinforces the number of funds and resources available to the elite groups in the countries to embezzle. The funds are not distributed evenly among those in need among the population; instead, they are used in dishonest procurements and unlawful tenders.
There is a need for aid-dependant countries to have good governance and policies to ensure good management and effectiveness of aid delivery by scholars and researchers. The effect that international aid could have on the effectiveness of governance and policymaking in disaster-stricken countries has also attracted the interest of researchers and scholars. Many studies conclude that dependence on aid can be harmful to institutional quality by weakening accountability, and corruption and alleviating the pressures to change inefficient policies and institutions.
(Tornell and Lane 22-46) provide a theoretical model that predicts that the receipt of international aid leads power groups to increase their appropriation rates which leads to no gain in the welfare. One of the examples highlighted in Tanzania whose increase in international aid levels in the 1980s led to the enlargement of the public sector and the creation of more opportunities for corruption. International aid also fuels corruption by increasing the size of resources, fought over by interest groups.
International Organizations are Biased: Donors are biased in helping people in need
In the recent case o crisis in Ukraine Humanitarian, organizations have been accused of being biased toward some groups in need. Ukraine has been a war zone in the past weeks after Russia invaded its states. Following the most recent attack by President Vladimir on Russia, over 2 million people have been trying to flee the country, which has also long been a home to immigrants and students from around the world with people from countries such as Nigeria, India, Morocco, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. They too have been affected greatly by the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. In their efforts to flee the country, however, they have been facing discrimination from the locals. Some of them have reported being denied a chance to board vehicles leaving the country. International organization offering aid to the country has also been accused of giving priority to white people and leaving the others. International organizations such as the United Nations High Commission on Refugees also confirmed that there have been cases of discrimination in helping the people at the borders. Black organizers and other people of color have been forced to empower themselves and coordinate on ways in which they will help their other members in Ukraine since humanitarian organizations are failing them.
Roles of International Organizations in Resolving Conflicts
International organizations have been at the forefront in mediating conflicts and, to some extent, been shown to be effective, however little has been done to analyze how effective the organizations have been at resolving conflicts among members states and territorial conflicts, which are the leading causes of war. The wars caused the lead to the need for humanitarian aid. Most studies on regional international organization and their impact on conflict management focused mostly on third-party mediation. However, most scholars have questioned the effectiveness of international organizations in mediating and solving conflicts among states. The ongoing war between states such as Russian and
Ukraine is a clear indication that efforts to mediate the conflict by international organizations are ineffective. One of the international organizations with the mandate of solving conflicts between states is the EuropeanUnion, which can force its members into arbitration to resolve conflicts. Since territorial disputes are one of the leading causes of war, which translate into the humanitarian need for aid, it becomes important to examine how effective the international organizations are at preventing conflicts.
Shortcomings of International Organizations
It is argued that international organizations may be prone to failure in their attempts to be involved in complex, tightly coupled systems of different states. The organizations also fail when they serve as substitutes for long-term solutions to foreign problems or responsibility for domestic or international policy(OECD 03).
Failure in Governance by International Organizations
International organizations are sometimes accused of being poorly managed and spending too must on costs instead of working on the required initiatives. In one of the recent studies, it is suggested that WHO, which is one of the international organizations, spends over $200 million on travel only, but this amount does not correspond to the money spent on specific programs. The same expose also criticizes the lifestyle of WHO’s director-general who is accused of traveling in first class. These accusations show that leaders of the organizations may be misappropriating funds and do not use resources to serve the organizational mission and values.
Poor Leadership within the Organization
There is a deeper problem, which pertains to the questionable credentials of the individuals elected to chair and lead the organizations. Great efforts are put in place to recruit leaders through democratic processes, which often leads to the elections of problematic individuals. One of the instances is the election of Saudi Arabia to the UN Commission on the status of women even though the country has been widely known for government-sanctioned gender inequality. Such an example puts the reputation of the international organization to question.
Challenges faced by International Organizations
One of the challenges faced by international organizations is related to funding. The bodies are funded through contributions made by member states, which means that a countrys contribution is determined by its GDP. Most countries are defaulting on their payments to the international bodies due to the failure of their economies. This is a great blow to the international organizations capacity to deal with numerous challenges going on in the international communities.
The use of the international organizations by its member states as instruments also has had adverse effects on their development.
Theory and Hypothesis
H1: International Organizations are not always effective when the international players have their organizational interests vested.
This chapter will present the methodology used in the study to achieve its set objectives. This chapter will therefore cover the research design, data collection, and procedures, variable definition/Conceptualization, Operationalization, and measurement as well as the analysis techniques to be used.
The study will have two key sets of variables. The study will measure independent and dependent variables to test cause-and-effect relationships.
The independent variable, which is the cause of the study, will be the shortcomings of international organizations in affecting humanitarian aid.
Dependent variable- the deliverance of humanitarian aid
The concept of humanitarian aid cannot be measured directly but it can be operationalized in different ways
The study makes use of the descriptive research design, one of the qualitative research designs, and follows various other studies to analyze the effectiveness of international organizations. A study conducted by (Safarpour020) used the qualitative case study design where the data was collected using semi-structured interviews and used purposeful sampling method. The strategies recommended in the study were then used to evaluate the effectiveness of the data. Using the conventional content analysis method, the data were analyzed.
The results from the study identified the challenges and the barriers facing humanitarian aid donor’s management during an earthquake in Kermanshah. Some of the barriers include communication and information, traffic control, and managerial and structural barriers.
The conclusion from the study was that there is a need for the adoption of effective management and appropriate policies concerning humanitarian aid that can improve the performance and management of humanitarian organizations.
ICRC studies the negative effects of humanitarianism using contextual case studies in disaster-prone areas. The conclusion from the study shows that humanitarian aid can influence the conflict for the better or for worse. The study further suggests that there is a need for analysis of each situation to lessen the negative effects of humanitarian aid.
Case Study research design has evolved over the past years as a useful tool for investigating trends and specific phenomena.
The method will offer additional insights into what gap exists in the delivery of a given phenomenon and why one implementation strategy will be suitable over the other. The study will highlight studies, conducted on the research topic and analyze them to get links and create patterns of information.
The researcher will use interview schedules to collect data. Interviews are mainly used to examine the views, experiences, and beliefs of individuals on specific matters. This form of qualitative research provides a deeper understanding of social phenomena, which would be obtained from other methods. Therefore, this study will employ the use of semi-structured interviews, which will be used. The interview schedule will consist of several key questions, which will help define the areas to be highlighted, which is the effectiveness of the international organizations in delivering humanitarian aid. The main aim of the interviews will be to establish the respondents reactions to humanitarian efforts by international organizations.
While using the Online Surveys, the participants will be required to respond with detailed responses to explain their perspective or their experiences. The aim will be to reveal opinions, experiences, accounts, and narratives about international organizations and humanitarian aid. The main advantage of online surveys is that the researcher will be able to collect a great number of responses in a short period compared with a face-to-face survey, which might take longer.
Data Analysis techniques
There will be three main forms of data to be evaluated: Data from the case study and data from the online surveys and interviews. The researcher will use the deductive analysis approach, which involves analyzing qualitative data based on a structure that was set by the researcher. The research will use the questions on the survey and the interview schedules as the guide to analyzing the data. The approach is considered because it is easy to use especially when the researcher already has an idea of the responses they are going to receive. This method of data analysis aims at collecting data, which can support the hypothesis.
As the Problem facing the world becomes more complex, there is a need for cooperative solutions. If the international organizations are to become effective in delivering humanitarian aid and effective instruments o global governance, there will be a need for better management and better accountability. Adoption of rules in line with the election of suitable leaders will be required. Policies for Accountability for the resources and funds given to the crisis-stricken countries should be put in place.
To ensure that international organizations are effective, concepts such as digitalization should be considered. This allows humanitarian aid organizations to improve collaboration and communication to deliver aid more efficiently. Digital technologies will be effective in giving people in need of assistance a voice as well as access to services. Although the adoption of digital technology is being upheld, there is still a big gap in developing countries.
Preparedness to deal with disasters should also be upheld in developing countries. Many disasters and crises occur in states which lack preparedness; thus, increasing the levels of preparedness is important.
Humanitarian aid has been proven important because it offers life-saving assistance to individuals affected by conflicts, poverty, and disaster. International organizations have been created to reduce the effects of crises on communities, aid in recovery, and improve preparedness for risk emergencies. Some of the key roles played by these organizations are saving lives rebuilding livelihoods, controlling climate change and environmental management, ensure there is education in areas hit by disasters international organizations have not fully been effective in offering humanitarian aid. They have been accused of promoting corruption, poor leadership, and being biased and discriminative towards certain countries among other accusations. This has therefore called for action aimed at combating the issues.
Archer, Clive. International Organizations. Routledge, 24 Oct. 2014.
Bauhr, Monika, and Naghmeh Nasiritousi. How Do International Organizations Promote Quality of Government? Contestation, Integration, and the Limits of IO Power. International Studies Review, vol. 14, no. 4, 2012, pp. 541566, www.jstor.org/stable/41804154. Accessed 21 Apr. 2022.
Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 | Humanitarian InSight. Hum-Insight.info, hum-insight.info.
Lyons, Juliette. Foreign Aid Is Hurting, Not Helping Sub-Saharan Africa. Le Journal International – Archives, 13 Oct. 2014, www.lejournalinternational.fr/Foreign-aid-is-hurting-not-helping-Sub-Saharan-Africa_a2085.html.
OECD. Strengths and Weaknesses of International Support. Www.oecd-Ilibrary.org, 21 Aug. 2012, pp. 4962, www.oecd-ilibrary.org/development/improving-international-support-to-peace-processes/strengths-and-weaknesses-of-international-support_9789264179844-7-en, 10.1787/9789264179844-7-en.
Tornell, Aaron, and Philip R Lane. The Voracity Effect. American Economic Review, vol. 89, no. 1, Mar. 1999, pp. 2246, 10.1257/aer.89.1.22.
United Nations. Deliver Humanitarian Aid. United Nations, 2021, www.un.org/en/our-work/deliver-humanitarian-aid.
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