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Working in fragile and conflict-affected countries can be challenging. So what do you do?

Aid workers already face a number of difficulties working in unstable states. And if the Overseas Development Institute’s predictions — that the majority of the poor will be found in these states years from now — were to come true, aid agencies are in for a “real headache,” says Oxfam GB’s Duncan Green.

Recruitment will sure be tough, according to Green, who said, “[Fragile and Conflict Affected States] are not always the most desirable place to live, raise a family etc.” But work could get better if international nongovernmental organizations follow some of these suggestions, which Green gathered from two Oxfam papers:

  • Engage with nonstate actors.

  • Build trust and capacity first.

  • Help civil society organizations engage with national actors through dialogue.

  • Converse.

The last one, Green advises, should be with as many people as possible and without a prior agenda. Through those conversations, international NGOs would be able to “detect new currents of power and thinking, and react promptly to such changes.”

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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