Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks
HNPW 2023 (17-28 April 2023)

Session title: ‘The only right we have is to receive’ - is participation impossible in the face of deep-seated power imbalances?
28 Apr 23 (09:00-10:30)
Focal points• Ms Hannah Miles, Austria (ShowEmail)
• Ms Elise Shea, Ground Truth Solutions (ShowEmail)
Reference networks and themesAAP, H2H
Register for outcomes and follow-up
 UTCTime at venueLanguage
28 Apr 23 (07:00-08:30)28 Apr 23 (09:00-10:30) English

As it stands, people’s sense of disempowerment is so strong that they often don’t even try to engage with aid providers. “The only right we have is to receive, because we don’t know anything about what the people in charge of aid are doing,” said a woman in Les Cayes, Haiti. People need to know that their voices, knowledge, skills, experiences, and perspectives matter.

Through a panellist discussion with CDAC Network, Internews Network, Jireh Doo Foundation, and On Our Radar, facilitated by Ground Truth Solutions, this session will explore the root reasons for this sense of disentitlement, as well as discuss best practices for communicating people’s rights, encouraging their engagement, and how to collect honest feedback.


    According to perception data collected across nine responses in 2022 by Ground Truth Solutions:

    1. Most people do not think their community was consulted.
    2. People report a lack of opportunities to meaningfully participate in decision-making.
    3. Despite this exclusion, people still demand a seat at the table. Most respondents express that it is important that their communities are able to influence how aid is provided.


                1. Presentation of the problem
                2. How can humanitarians best communicate people's rights, encourage their engagement, and collect their honest feedback?
                3. Why do people feel like they do not have a right to participate?
                4. Shouldn't it be people's responsibility to participate? What are aid provider’s responsibilities when it comes to encouraging meaningful participation?
                5. Questions & answers

                Expected outcomes:

                Participants will gain a nuanced understanding of the reasons why crisis-affected people feel that they do not have a right to participate in decision-making about aid, as well as best practices for how humanitarians should communicate people's rights, encourage their engagement, and collect honest feedback. Participants are encouraged to use this discussion to inform reforms to their aid programming so to better enable affected people to meaningfully participate in decision-making about the assistance that impacts their lives.


                Rosie Jackson, Director of Policy & Innovation, CDAC Secretariat

                Rosie Jackson has been working in humanitarian programming for 18 years in slow and rapid onset crises as well as complex emergencies. Her career has focused on expertise and policy leadership in food and economic security, vulnerability analysis and participation. She has lived in Romania, Pakistan, Zimbabweand Swaziland as a programme lead and as part of a decade in Save the Children's Humanitarian Technical Unit, has been on the ground in more than 25 crises in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Middle East and Haiti. Rosie has been a thought leader in cash transfer policy and practice. She was critical in the formation of CaLP and has worked with UNHCR, UNOCHA, RCRC and INGOs on policy development since 2015. Rosie joins CDAC from FCDO where she was the Humanitarian Cash Policy Lead.

                Stijn Aelbers, Senior Humanitarian Advisor, Internews Network

                Stijn Aelbers is Internews’ Senior Humanitarian Advisor - formerly working for the Belgian public broadcaster as a radio journalist, he has worked for UNFPA in Uganda on maternal health and has joined Internews in 2013 to help design and support efforts to increase communication, participation and accountability in humanitarian crisis. Among other things, he set up an Emergency Radio Station in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, coordinated the Internews Ebola-programmes in Liberia and Guinea, advised the CCCM cluster in South Sudan on Communication with Communities and rolled out projects dealing with Misinformation as an opportunity to listen more carefully to people in crisis during the Mediterranean Refugee Response, after the earthquake in Nepal, Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, with Congolese refugees in Uganda, the Rohingya in Bangladesh and across 13 countries during the COVID-19 Pandemic. He’s an advocate of accountability and a fan of Elisa (“Let it go”) and he's also part of the global advisory team of Signpost, the H2H-Network, and the CDAC-Network.

                Manu Samuel Seth, MEAL Manager, Jireh Doo Foundation

                Manu Samuel Seth is a computer scientist and data analyst who works for Jireh Doo Foundation (JDF) as the Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Manager. In his role, he leads the JDF team on innovation and accountability to affected populations and coordinates third-party monitoring activities for JDF in more than 8 states. Seth is also a member of the Community Engagement and Accountability working group in Nigeria. Previously, he worked as the MEAL officer on the Nigeria Joint Response, a consortium of 12 organizations working together to provide holistic support to vulnerable populations in northeast Nigeria .He has a passion for designing and implementing systems that make life and work easier and better for humanity.

                Clare Kiely, Managing Director, On Our Radar

                Clare has worked in the social change sector for over 20 years and is currently Managing Director at On Our Radar. On Our Radar's mission is to amplify unheard voices working with communities so they can shape the future. We do this by; Working with communities to build confidence, conviction and capacity to tell their own stories for change; Working with organisations to embed coproduction and community led storytelling at the heart of their communications, strategy, programme design and learning; Working with Media outlets to change the story, co-producing powerful and high quality community stories and sharing these with mainstream and institutional audiences. Clare joined Radar from Comic Relief where she was Head of Funding and was instrumental in the shift to direct funding for African organisations, inclusive and participatory grant making and ethical storytelling. Clare is passionate about people powered change and the power of stories and lived experiences to shift attitudes and build power at a community level.