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Managing Humanitarian Relief: An Operational Guide for NGOs

This book was written based on my years of hard earned experience in the field and backed up with an extensive survey of current best practices across the aid sector. The book's 21 chapters are designed to help the reader from the start to the end of a successful assistance project. 

Synopsis: Armed conflicts, natural disasters and environmental degradation result in human misery, and the common response is to want to help. Responding effectively to humanitarian disasters is far from straightforward, however, and relief workers often find themselves in a world of uncoordinated, highly competitive agencies where the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to provide relief is far from clear.

Managing Humanitarian Relief is aimed at the relief worker who in the midst of these complex situations is putting together a programme of action to help people in extreme crisis. It provides humanitarian relief managers with a single comprehensive reference for many of the management issues they are likely to encounter in the field. Designed for the generalist and for those in management positions, the book provides enough background for readers to understand the topics quickly and to put them into practice in the field. Its easy-to-use format includes essential information checklists, tables, diagrams, sample forms, and no-nonsense tips from practitioners to help readers in emergency situations.

The second edition brings the reader up to date with recent humanitarian reforms; the use of GIS and mobile technologies; tents and other temporary constructions and building materials; funding innovations; economic recovery, cash and vouchers, and microfinance.

Managing Humanitarian Relief is essential reading for humanitarian practitioners as well as volunteers and others involved in humanitarian supplies provision. It is equally helpful to thought leaders, policy makers and educators.

Table of Contents:

Prelims [About the author| Foreword| Preface to the first edition| Preface to the second edition| Acknowledgements| Acronyms]

1. Understanding emergencies and disaster-affected populations
2. Understanding disaster-affected populations and programme sectors
3. Managing in emergencies
4. Carrying out an assessment
5. Launching in a new country or area
6. Establishing an office and accommodation
7. Preparing a proposal and negotiating with donors
8. Managing human resources
9. Planning, managing and reporting on a project
10. Dealing with stress
11. Overseeing finance and accounting
12. Setting up a logistics and procurement system
13. Handling transport and maintaining vehicles
14. Communicating using radios and satellites
15. Working with local partners and contractors
16. Building internal capacity
17. Dealing with the media
18. Managing security
19. Monitoring and evaluating a project
20. Coordinating with other organizations
21. Closing an emergency programme


Back Matter [Appendix | References| Useful websites| Glossary of common terms| Index]

Praise for the 2nd edition:

"Dr. James has built upon his prior work to address one of the most critically important topics in the aid world; that of managing field programs and leading teams. His emphasis on practical field skills has made his book an important addition to our humanitarian leadership training, and essential reading for all of those who oversee humanitarian programming. His book represents an important step toward professionalizing humanitarian aid."
(Michael VanRooyen, Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative & Humanitarian Academy at Harvard University)

"I strongly recommend Managing Humanitarian Relief by Eric James. Besides being very knowledgeable it also has the great but rare virtue of clarity. It actually can be of value to a wide variety of practitioners." (Martin McCann, Chief Executive, RedR UK)

"Managing Humanitarian Relief is a critically important resource for practitioners -- a remarkable roadmap for responsible engagement in the field. This book is also extraordinarily valuable for students who aspire to careers in scholarship or practice around humanitarian issues." (Eric Schwartz, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, and Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, currently CEO of Refugees International)

"Disasters and emergencies are by their nature chaotic. Eric James's practical advice, based on many years of experience, will be a bedrock for those who must turn the chaos of future relief operations into coordinated support for people affected by disaster. The updated Managing Humanitarian Relief fills a real gap in the market." (Robert Hodgson, Hon Coordinator, RedR International)

"In this second edition Eric James has clearly articulated the new trends in humanitarian relief making it not only a wide ranging informative overview of the entire humanitarian sector but a very current book for now and the immediate future." (Andy Bastable, Head of Water and Sanitation, Oxfam Global Humanitarian Team)

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