Blog

The Moral Flaws of the Do-Gooder

I have written fairly extensively on the moral dimensions of aid work and how what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, in terms of aidworker motivations, is not as clear cut as often assumed (examples here and here). I would like to return to this issue in light of recent reports of sexual misconduct at Medecins Sans … Read more

#AidToo – What Now and What Next?

What problems do we face with mapping a way forward in the current crisis affecting the aid sector? This was one of the issues we were tackling yesterday at a timely and engaging conference – Civil Society Under Attack – attended by practitioners and academics, and organised by Angela Crack at the University of Portsmouth. … Read more

Life on Humanitarian Compounds is Removed from Reality – this can Fuel the Misconduct of Aid Workers

My article for the Conversation – addressing a much needed debate on the power imbalances and permissiveness within aid environments. The power imbalance in aid work is under the spotlight. from www.shutterstock.com Gemma Houldey, University of Sussex Sexual harassment, exploitation or abuse – some of which reportedly occurred at Oxfam in Haiti and has involved … Read more

Reflections on the Idealist’s Survival Kit

I have just finished reading The Idealist’s Survival Kit by Alessandra Pigni, a collection of ideas, reflections and tools for understanding and responding to burnout. The book, which is divided into 75 bite-sized chunks containing accounts from aid workers and activists, poetry and passages or quotes from the likes of Brene Brown, Thich Nhat Hanh, … Read more

Aid Worker Images vs Reality

I recently wrote an article for the online academic platform, The Conversation. You can read it below, or go directly to the Conversation website here (and sign up to their newsletter if you enjoy it!) Why a commonly held idea of what aid workers are like fails to tell the full story hikrcn/Shutterstock Gemma Houldey, … Read more