Thoughts on humanitarian action...

Humanitarian action normally has the aim to save lives, reduce suffering, poverty and help to maintain human dignity. Well, that's the summary for me from working in the humanitarian field.

I've noticed that when humanitarian action is mentioned, just like development assistance, it is mostly tailored to the Middle East, Africa and in some cases, South America. A good number of the organisations leading in this field are from Western countries, these countries would like to save the world albeit being wishful thinking.

All humanitarian assistance is worthy and directly impacts lives. I can say that for a fact as I work in that area. The joy derived from witnessing the emotions of a beneficiary is PRICELESS!

However, in the light of recent attacks, it is slowly dawning on everyone that nowhere in the world seems to be safe these days... There have been constant attacks by armed groups in different parts of the world and the Western countries are targets for various reasons.

Some of the "holy wars" that are being fought might not make sense to some of us, but the ones in it are willing to die for the cause for which they fight. Unfortunately, we all are caught up in it - innocent, guilty, old and young, every living thing!

Some of the most powerful countries have been hit hard recently by very well planned attacks. Some of the countries might have anticipated that this COULD happen but one can never be prepared enough for danger. In the same way, the developing and poorest countries that have similar issues continue to rely on these same Western countries that are in some way learning to deal with these attacks. Where does a balance come in?

What if, not very long from now, these humanitarian agencies have to pull out of the countries they help in order to save their own countries and citizens? It might get to the point where each country will have to pick up their pieces. If this eventually happens, what will be left of, or what will happen to the developing and poor countries that tend to wait for other countries to think for them/constantly rely on help from Western countries? 

Should every country not take up the responsibility to survive/get back on its feet? Or take up the challenge for their own development?

Note - These are random musings of mine on this subject and I have chosen not to ponder too hard or tailor it on one direction but to leave it open for discussion. So, let's hear your thoughts on this?


  1. Nice write up Ene, although I think that nature abhores vaccum and the gap left by foreign aid will be filled somehow(that is me being optimistic). But on the practical side, Africa givernments have been too wasteful; am wondering when they will wake up to their responsiblities to their citizens?. Nigeria in this instance is yearning for a leader, not politicians. Hope I made sense.

    1. Yes you made perfect sense. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Emeka. Yes, we need leaders but who are they if not us? While we all keep shying away, the politicians will keep doing what they know best. Don't you think?

  2. Yes I agree, we have to make a stand sooner or later.


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