Humanitarian Aid Should Be Coupled With Resilience-Building Programs To Address Famines

Washington Post: Letters to the editor: Humanitarian aid isn’t enough to address famines
Kathleen Colson, chief executive and founder of the Boma Project

“In Africa and the Middle East, where 20 million people are in danger of starving to death, famine may seem like a result of ‘natural’ catastrophes such as drought, but it cannot be addressed without looking at the consequences of human action or inaction. … The arid and semi-arid lands of northern Kenya have seen cycles of humanitarian aid over the past 50 years, and, although these efforts have saved lives, they treat residents as passive beneficiaries, trapping them in cycles of vulnerability and dependence. Humanitarian aid is also often limited in its ability to reach remote areas and is at risk of being diverted by opposing factions. While humanitarian response is important, it must be coupled with proven, holistic, resilience-building programs to help residents make a meaningful transition from dependence to self-reliance, even in the face of severe and frequent shocks such as climate change and conflict” (4/17).