The Neighborhood Approach: integrated local response

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Together with Project Concern International and funded by USAID, RedR UK will be working to strengthen and promote the Neighborhood Approach; a set of guidelines that aim to create an integrated, holistic and inclusive approach to urban humanitarian response.

While the humanitarian community continues to improve the accountability, effectiveness and coordination of emergency response, there is a growing recognition that substantial challenges remain. Humanitarian organisations are often so narrowly-focused on what they deem to be “life-saving activities” that they fail to take basic steps that can put in place the foundations for self-sufficiency, recovery, and resiliency. In worst case scenarios, they can actively undermine efforts by communities to support their own recovery and leave them more vulnerable to disasters in the long term. 

Aid workers respond after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. © PCI Global
Aid workers respond after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. © PCI Global

Haiti earthquake, 2010

In Haiti in 2010, many agencies engaged in the emergency response to the earthquake struggled to adapt to the urban context. Shelter programs struggled to deal with complex situations related to rubble removal, perceptions of land tenure, and lack of space and hundreds of thousands of households were housed in camps, many for up to five years, where they were unable to adequately start the recovery process and rebuild their lives and livelihoods. A study conducted by John Hopkins found that households that were able to return quickly to their neighbourhoods benefitted from greater economic and food security and were ready to start the recovery process sooner. 

In the wake of the earthquake, PCI Global, with funding from USAID, developed draft guidelines for the Neighborhood Approach, to meet the need for a more integrated, holistic, and inclusive approach to humanitarian programming. However, despite an emerging consensus among humanitarian actors on the importance of taking a settlements approach to humanitarian assistance, its application has been limited and inconsistent.  

Rebuilding earthquake damage in Haiti. © PCI Global
Rebuilding earthquake damage in Haiti. © PCI Global

The Neighborhood Approach Project

Together with PCI and funded by USAID, RedR UK will be working to support a better understanding and implementation of the Neighborhood Approach. We’ll be running a series of workshops exploring aspects of the draft guidelines from the perspectives of Programming (Washington DC), Implementation (Port-au-Prince) and Coordination (Geneva).  Workshops participants will have the opportunity to learn how the Neighborhood Approach is applied to a humanitarian response while contributing to the consultation process of the guideline development. The finalised guidelines will then be shared with the humanitarian community through a face-to-face training event in Washington DC.  

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