Jessica Alexander is a humanitarian aid professional with experience in operations, evaluation and policy. Her career includes global deployments spanning Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. She has conducted large scale evaluations, assessments and policy research for the UN, Red Cross and various NGOs on a range of humanitarian issues including: child protection, shelter, emergency education, coordination, accountability and humanitarian effectiveness. She has also overseen programming in South Sudan, Darfur and Haiti.
Jessica's work has been featured in mainstream media outlets both domestically and internationally including the BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera and her writing published in the Washington Post, Slate, and IRIN News. She is two-time Fulbright grantee who received the award to study the use of child soldiers in Sierra Leone in 2006, and in 2019 to study Japan's approach to disaster risk reduction. She received a Master of Public Health and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University. She is the author of Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid (Random House, 2013).
This short course will explore the concept of accountability within humanitarian intervention. In particular it will look at the contemporary significance of accountability for humanitarian response – when and why it has become an important concept for humanitarian intervention, and specific events that have led to a shift from donors to recipients of aid as the agents of accountability.
Key questions that will be explored include:
- To whom are humanitarian agencies accountable? What are the competing accountabilities and how do these influence program decisions and agency performance?
- Why is accountability to beneficiaries important during a humanitarian response? Aside from ideological views, why should the humanitarian sector be concerned with accountability to beneficiaries? What are its end goals?
- What does an effective accountability mechanism look like? How do agencies implement it?
- Do these work? In what contexts? How is their effectiveness being measured? By whom?
- Who are the main actors in this space? An examination of HAP, ALNAP, Listen First, ECB project, current NGO frameworks used in the field.