What moves the experts in our swarm? Daphne Lucas on human resource development

Berlin, Deutschland: Daphne Lucas,, Fachreferentin ÖA Drittmittel und Kooperationenen, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

As a long-time humanitarian worker, what moves me in today’s highly politicized world, which is increasingly defined by geopolitical interests? The first question is how humanitarian aid workers can continue to have access to people affected by conflicts and disasters. An approach defined solely on the basis of people’s need, without compromising core humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality. Trust and acceptance are the basic requirements for so-called safe humanitarian access and thus for the work of humanitarian aid workers worldwide. The same applies more and more to employees in development cooperation, especially in today’s crisis context, in which short-term, rapid emergency aid and long-term stabilizing aid operations overlap at the same time in the same country.

In addition to the further question of sufficient financial resources for humanitarian work, there is also the question of personnel. How can and should international and local humanitarian workers be deployed and trained to meet increasingly divisive challenges? An important framework for action here is the Humanitarian World Summit with the Grand Bargain passed there, including the demands for stronger localization of humanitarian aid and the systematic participation and inclusion of local civil society and communities in the conceptualization and implementation of aid programs. But what do these demands mean in relation to the selection, recruitment and preparation of humanitarian and development aid and cooperation personnel?

Diversity and gender justice concepts are now, 20 years after the last UN World Conference on Women, formally fixed components of the organizational development and personnel policies of many Western aid organizations, as well as the respective ministries responsible in this area. This with varying degrees of success depending on the organization and country and with room for improvement. Especially when it comes to the concrete programmatic implementation of intersectionality and inclusion, i.e. the entanglements between the “multiple multiplicities” and the corresponding cultural and structural changes.

What does the reality look like in relation to the implementation of aid programs? Is the impact of this new organizational development measurable for the people affected? How do those responsible and partners on the spot look at it?

It is more important than ever to involve local state and civil society partners in consultations and evaluations of projects, in the (further) development and implementation of suitable tools and methods. Otherwise the Grand Bargain demands for inclusion and participation threaten to remain empty clichés.


compassorange accompanies organizations of development cooperation in personnel development, preparation for departure and in change processes. In our swarm there are people who are committed to social justice, diversity, innovation and sustainability in different fields.