Whose Ethics Matter? Critical reflections on community engagement in humanitarian action

Humanitarian Governance webinar series
Wednesday 30 Nov 2022, 16:00 - 17:30
Spoken Language
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In this Humanitarian Governance-UNICEF webinar, the speakers underscore the need to critically examine ethics in the application of social sciences for community engagement in humanitarian action.

  • UNICEF logo

    This second instalment of the webinar series convened with UNICEF on 'Dimensions in the application of social sciences for community engagement in humanitarian action' underscores the need to critically examine ethics in the application of social sciences for community engagement in humanitarian action.

Ethical frameworks in humanitarian action help shape how the relationship between stakeholders in the humanitarian arena is defined and how interactions should take place. These forms of ‘moral imaginations’ have recently been criticized for articulating and upholding historically constituted Eurocentric (colonial) structures of power. These critiques highlight, among others, the disempowering ways in which knowledge is produced about racialized, often distant, and vulnerable others and the dismissal of other worldviews/cultures or paradigms. Hence, there has been a growing conversation about the need to decolonize ethics within modern humanitarianism.

Engaging with critical and decolonial perspectives, the panel explores possibilities for creating spaces for negotiating different practices and value systems in ways that foster inclusion and help ground humanitarian action in the everyday realities of people who experience and live with crisis. It reflects on the ways in which social sciences can either perpetuate or challenge the power imbalances when engaging with communities in humanitarian contexts.


  • Walter D Mignolo

    Walter D. Mignolo, semiotician and professor at Duke University. 

    He is one of the founders of the modernity/coloniality critical school of thought. Over the past 30 years, Mignolo’s research and teaching have been devoted to understanding and unraveling the historical foundation of the modern/colonial world system and imaginary since 1500. His research has been and continues to be devoted to exposing modernity/coloniality as a machine that generates and maintains un-justices and to exploring decolonial ways of delinking from the modernity/coloniality.

  • Rachel Kiddell-Monroe

    Rachel Kiddell-Monroe, founder and Executive Director of SeeChange.

    Kiddell-Monroe is a lawyer, a humanitarian practitioner and an advocate. She is a Board Director at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a founding president of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and a professor of Practice at McGill University. Rachel believes putting people and their community first is key to creating a more humane, just, and fair society.

  • Osman Sow

    Osman Sow Clinical Officer with MSF Holland at Magburaka Government District Referral Hospital in Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone. 

    He previously worked for US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Disease surveillance officer in Freetown and also worked for Save the Children as a CHO at the Ebola treatment center in the Red zone Kerry town. He is currently working with SeeChange on an initiative in Sierra Leone.

  • Chrysant Lily Kusumowardoyo

    Chrysant Lily Kusumowardoyo, Country Director of Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Indonesia and the Philippines (ASB), a German-based INGO working in inclusive community-based disaster risk reduction.

    Through her work at ASB, she has the privilege to continue learning ways to establish more eye-level partnerships with the Organisations of People with Disabilities they partner with, including in collaborative research with people with disabilities.  

  • Sione Tu'itahi

    Sione Tu'itahi, Executive Director of the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand (HPF) and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Public Health, Otago University.

    He is the Global President of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) and co-established the Global Working Group on Waiora Planetary Health and Human Well-being in 2020.

Webinar hosts

Kaira Zoe Canete will moderate
Rod Mena is commentator

More information

About the Hum-Gov webinar series

The Humanitarian Governance (Hum-Gov) research project explores the changing dynamics of humanitarian governance in DRC, Ethiopia and Colombia, with a focus on civil society actors and crisis-affected people.

During our monthly Hum-Gov Webinar series guest speakers will contribute with different perspectives around humanitarian governance, accountability, advocacy and alternatives.

The Social Sciences for Community Engagement in Humanitarian Action (SS4CE in HA) project, convened by UNICEF with the support of the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, is collaborating with the Hum-Gov project to curate a series of three webinars titled 'Dimensions in the Application of Social Sciences for Community Engagement in Humanitarian Action' to exchange good practices, perspectives, experiences and identify challenges, key areas, and actions that need to take place for the systematic integration of social sciences (methods, approaches, evidence, capacities) for community engagement in humanitarian action. The webinar series aims to convene perspectives of humanitarian practitioners, communities, and academics across a broad range of social science disciplines and expertise.

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Humanitarian governance: accountability, advocacy, alternatives

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