Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Negotiating Humanitarian Access and Civil Military Coordination in Burkina Faso, Haiti, and Ethiopia: Key Challenges and Lessons Learned

In collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), this research project will compare different types of humanitarian responses in three different country contexts. Each response context will feature heavy non-state armed group involvement and/or the presence of an ‘assertive state government.’ An assertive government is a state that has taken hostile stances and/or actions against the delivery of external humanitarian assistance, despite the lack of internal capacity or will to provide needed assistance themselves.

This research effort will deepen and expand the understanding of the critical role civilian-military coordination plays during humanitarian responses in contexts with restricted access. It will aid in the development of evidence-based research to document best practices and key challenges in both manmade and natural disasters where either state governments or NSAGs (or both) have historically blocked external aid.

The project has three primary objectives:

 1.  Conduct key informant interviews with humanitarian responders (humanitarians, NGOs, local civil society, local emergency management) in three contexts (Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia) in which WFP civmil played a significant role

2. Use a grounded theory approach to identify common themes around civil-military coordination in restricted access environments as well as possible solutions that were implemented in these environments

3.  Disseminate research findings on key innovations and challenges to key stakeholders within WFP and beyond