NGO

Meaningful Participation and Humanitarian Intervention: Whose Aid-Work Is It Anyway?

Currently, little enforceable policy exists to police standards of meaningful participation—the involvement of affected populations—in crisis relief and humanitarian interventions. While this is somewhat unsurprising given the nexus of state-led and charitable activity in this field, it has nevertheless created significant complications pertaining to the sustainability and effectiveness of crisis relief efforts. Further than impairing the practical recovery of affected populations, lax policies of meaningful participation perpetuate dangerous neo-colonial stereotypes as western celebrities involved in campaigns like Comic Relief and, increasingly, individuals partaking in voluntourism reinforce the ‘White Saviour’ stereotype—a trope popularised more through the advent of social media. With reference to some specific case studies, this piece will explore why meaningful participation is paramount for the creation of sustainable solutions to humanitarian crisis, consider the impact of the digital age on these debates by exploring the ‘#NoWhiteSaviours’ campaign on social media, and ultimately suggest how state-led and charitable efforts in this field could be better regulated.

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CURRENT WAITING TIMES