Welcome to our first edition of Humanitarian Summer Reading – we hope you enjoy it!


As we close the year and prepare for the holidays, we’ve been reflecting on the past year. 2016 has seen some big developments for Humanitarian Advisory Group. In addition to launching our new website and becoming a Certified B Corporation, we invested more than $50,500 on independent and pro bono work for the humanitarian sector including mapping the impact of sexual exploitation and abuse by interveners in peace operations, launching our Off the Record series, co-hosting the recent symposium on the Future of Humanitarian Action and attending the World Humanitarian Summit.

Humanitarian Summer Reading

The Women in Blue Helmets: Gender, Policing, and the UN’s First All-Female Peacekeeping Unit, Lesley J. Pruitt

A fascinating account of the first all female peacekeeping unit, deployed from India to Liberia in 2007. This book highlights the importance of ensuring greater gender equality in peacekeeping missions and the challenges that exist to women’s full participation, while examining broader gender, peace and security questions. With the topic of women in humanitarian leadership increasingly coming to the fore, this is a well-timed read further emphasising that we need to walk the talk when it comes to promoting gender equality and women’s full social and political participation – now is the time for change!


The Most Good You Can Do, Peter Singer

In the year that HAG became a certified B Corporation, we felt it was fitting to review this most recent offering from celebrated ethicist, Peter Singer.  Being a social enterprise means actually living the concept of effective altruism, which Singer defines as ‘using a substantial part of our spare resources to make the world a better place’. This aim to broaden our moral horizons explores case studies that support the research that people are more likely to help strangers when they know that others are doing the same. An inspiring and thought provoking read, with plenty of practical application to live a more ethical life.


The Consequences of Chaos – Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis and The Failure to Protect, Elizabeth Ferris and Kemal Krisci

The Consequences of Chaos goes beyond outlining the fallout from the most complex and massive humanitarian crisis the world faces today. It boldly proposes a new “grand experiment”. This comprises not only the steps to address the Syrian conflict and resulting displacement, but also how these may serve as a precedent for common action on other burning humanitarian issues.  It challenges regional organisations, donors, international humanitarian and development actors to think more creatively and to show greater leadership. A timely and digestible read when the humanitarian community is in need some inspiration.
Simple rules for a complex worldHarvard Business Review 
Simple and straightforward rules are effective – but why? And how do we construct them? Based on over a decade of research, Sull and Eisenhart make the case for the utility of carefully crafted and simple rules for taking action in the increasingly complex and rapidly evolving environments we work in. Using case studies, the piece highlights how detailed guidelines, whilst promoting efficiency, leave employees little scope to practice creativity or judgement. Adaptability, creativity and the ability to make decisions enabled by the application of simple rules create better outcomes, and results in a from the ground-up approach.  A thought-provoking read for those interested in fostering creativity, inventiveness and encouraging action and decision making in their workplace.

Chasing Misery: an anthology of essays by women in humanitarian responses, Kelsey Hoppe 

Chasing Misery is a collection of short stories and photographs, all with a female perspective. The stories are captivating and emotive, layered with fear, hope, heartbreak, humour and curiosity. The stories explore the experiences of women at the frontline responding to humanitarian emergencies, providing insight to both the complexity of aid work, as well as the challenges of being a woman in the field. The diversity of the collection of stories is appealing, at times eliciting laughter and tears, and revealing truths about humanitarian response.



Other reading from Humanitarian Advisory Group:

  • Blog | Trump and Humanitarianism – What does Trump mean for humanitarianism?
  • Blog | Women in Humanitarian Leadership – Where are they?
  • Blog | The Future of Humanitarian Action – The World Humanitarian Summit and Beyond
  • Report | Inclusive Humanitarian Action – A Study into Humanitarian Partnership Agency Practice in the Nepal Earthquake Response
  • Report | UNFPA 2016 State of World Population Report – How our future depend on today’s 10-year-old girls. See our contribution at Chapter 5.
  • Report | Women Peace and Security – Independent Interim Review of the Australian National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security 2012-2018
  • Project | Mapping the impact of sexual abuse and exploitation by interveners in peace operations, La Trobe University
  • Think Piece | Selling protection: Does the protection imperative require a social marketing approach?
  • Think Piece | Why we need more women in humanitarian leadership
  • Think Piece | The 3 ways that social entrepreneurship can contribute in the humanitarian space


Image source: http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/summer-reading-guide-16-must-reads-this-summer/