Think pieces

The 3 ways that social entrepreneurship can contribute in the humanitarian space

There is a global movement underway. It challenges our assumptions about how businesses make money and what they do with it. It demands that businesses make social change central to their business models; not an add-on or afterthought. This movement is social entrepreneurship. Within the humanitarian world we are motivated and enlivened by a desire to see social change. Yet somehow we are less comfortable with the use of business to achieve that social change. And yet the sustainability and efficiency of the business world has much to offer as a model for humanitarian problems. So how can social entrepreneurship contribute to humanitarian action?

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Why we need more women in humanitarian leadership

Women are under-represented in leadership globally and across sectors. In 2016 in Australia one quarter of organisations reported that they still have no women (none!) in key management positions. Analysis of gender equality in the humanitarian world tells a similar story. As of January 2016, there are 29 UN Humanitarian Coordinators globally and only 9 of these are women. As the professional humanitarian workforce worldwide consists largely of women – up to 75% – this disparity is absurdly at odds with the rhetoric about empowerment and equality within the sector. Why is it important? Why hasn’t it been done already? What can and must be done?

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Selling protection: Does the protection imperative require a social marketing approach?

Today, too much of the clarity and conviction of protection messaging and communication seems to have been lost. Protection is still considered a priority by many humanitarian actors; indeed it is a core mandate to organisations such as UNHCR and ICRC. However, a legalistic and theoretical narrative seems to have replaced the compelling narrative of the late 1990s and 2000s. This contributes to a growing sense of confusion and frustration with regards to protection amongst humanitarian actors. So why has the protection discourse lost the clarity and conviction it carried in the late 1990s? And how can we reclaim it? This paper suggests that some of the explanation lies in the increasing complexity and inaccessibility of protection messaging. It further suggests that part of the solution may lie in applying a social marketing approach to protection communication.

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