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NORGLOBAL2-Norge - global partner

Holding aid accountable: Relational humanitarianism in protracted crisis (AidAccount)

Alternative title: Ansvarlig bistandsoverføring: Relasjonell humanitær bistand i langvarige krisesituasjoner (AidAccount)

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

In situations of protracted humanitarian crisis, local residents and diaspora groups are key humanitarian actors. They are often the first to assist in emergencies, and they remain engaged throughout the complex crises that may follow. Little is known about how accountability is understood and practiced by (local and transnational) citizens in comparison to professional humanitarians. While the professional sector relies heavily on technical-financial systems, civic humanitarians often depend on trust-based social networks and social media. How is accountability defined and practiced locally at the meeting point between civic and professional humanitarianism in protracted crises? The project is implemented by PRIO, NTNU, Oxford Brookes, Makerere University (Uganda), Centre for Migration Research & Development (Sri Lanka) and Rako Research & Communication Centre (Somaliland). Since the start of the project mid-2020, Emmanuel Viga has been hired as PhD for NTNU; and Ahmed Musa was hired as post-doc (Senior Researcher) for PRIO. The kick-off workshop for the project took place digitally in October 2020, followed by a conceptual team workshop in January 2021. In spring 2021, we conducted a series of methodology workshops, based on needs that the team members identified and taught collectively by the team. The series included participatory methods, humanitarian actor mapping, research in risk areas, Covid procedures, and data handling. Besides these team meetings, each of the case study teams has met regularly to discuss timeline, planning and progress for the country cases. The team has started to map, document, and analyse the moral and social dimensions of accountability both theoretically and as understood and practiced by civic and professional humanitarian aid providers in protracted crises in Uganda, Somalia and Sri Lanka. The project uses the case-study method and in each case, qualitative methods - including participatory mapping, document analysis, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions - will be used to study the normative, institutional and experiential dimensions of accountability perceptions and practices. The PhD has started fieldwork in Kampala and Bidi Bidi refugee camp (Uganda), with support by the supervisors (in the field and digitally). Master student Maja Simonsen Nilsen has been added to the project looking at the gendered dimensions of accountability, doing digital and hopefully in person fieldwork in Kampala. The teams in Uganda and Somaliland have started piloting research methods to do the mapping, both digitally and in person. By developing knowledge about this neglected yet important subject, AidAccount will support the efforts of professional humanitarian actors to improve localisation and thus increase the efficiency of aid delivery. The project works with a 'humanitarian lab' to support knowledge-based policy decisions and improve accountability to both donors and aid recipients. The explicit intention is to cultivate relationships between researchers, humanitarians, policy makers, donors and aid recipients that will lead to sustained interactions and collaborative learning. A first lab meeting was held in Oslo in September 2021 in conjunction with the Norwegian Centre on Humanitarian Studies, discussing the idea of broadening the concept of accountability we developed in a literature-based report with representatives from NMFA, Norad, INGOs, civil society and research. We will continue to engage these stakeholders throughout the project, and plan similar engagements in the case study countries.

In situations of protracted humanitarian crisis, local residents and diaspora groups are key humanitarian actors. They are often the first to assist in emergencies, and they remain engaged throughout the complex crises that may follow. Little is known about how accountability is understood and practiced by (local and transnational) citizens in comparison to professional humanitarians. While the professional sector relies heavily on technical-financial systems, the civic humanitarians often depend on trust-based social networks and social media to provide accountability. How is accountability defined and practiced locally at the meeting point between civic and professional humanitarianism in protracted crises? AidAccount aims to map, document, and analyse the moral and social dimensions of accountability as understood and practiced by civic and professional humanitarian aid providers in protracted crises in Uganda, Somalia and Sri Lanka. The project uses the case-study method and in each case, complementary qualitative methods - including participatory mapping, document analysis, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions - will be used to study the normative, institutional and experiential dimensions of accountability conceptualizations and practices. By developing knowledge about this neglected yet important subject, the project will support the efforts of professional humanitarian actors to improve localisation and thus increase the efficiency of aid delivery. The project furthermore aims to develop a 'humanitarian lab' to support knowledge-based policy decisions and improve accountability to both donors and aid recipients. The explicit intention is to cultivate relationships between researchers, humanitarians, policy makers, donors and aid recipients that will lead to sustained interactions and collaborative learning.

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NORGLOBAL2-Norge - global partner