Q&A: Conflict res, Labeling goods, Short-term gains, Networking, Vulnerability & Capacity Assessment, Sex Workers & HIV/AIDs

Submitted by Aid Workers Network on October 18, 2003 - 5:34pm.

Topics included:

  • Conflict resolution training
  • Labeling humanitarian goods
  • Stakeholders preferring short-term financial gains
  • Networking a group of local NGOs
  • Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment
  • Sex workers and HIV/AIDS
  • Key Lessons From Liberia

Can you offer any insights or pointers to useful information/contacts on these topics? Thank you.

Responses to the previous questions are summarised below. Please continue the discussions online at Aid Workers Forum or e-mail exchange@aidworkers.net.

New Questions


Lynnet Chaurura in Botswana asks, "Can anyone recommend training on Conflict Resolution Techniques?" Join the discussion online at Aid Workers Forum.


Marc Devalckeneer seeks advice on marking humanitarian goods in a way so that everyone, even those who can't read the language, knows what is in the package. Join the discussion online at Aid Workers Forum.


Rachael Nweneka in Nigeria asks, "What approach can be used to tackle stakeholders that prefer instant monetary assistance to the long term benefits of technical assistance?" Join the discussion online at Aid Workers Forum.


Aid Workers Network has moved into a new office at 35-39 London Street, Reading UK. We are part of a development education centre with bookstore and cafe, about 30 minutes from London. Members and friends are welcome to join us on 23rd October 2003. Details from info@aidworkers.net.



Paul summarizes points from the book "Networking for Development." To start, invite all interested parties to a meeting on common interests and objectives. Establish a core group to oversee initiatives, coordination, and management. The core group must remain cognizant of members' ideas and needs, avoid centralisation, and remember the network's objectives. Funding is important, but user-supported networks are often strongest. Emma provides a short presentation of the Black Sea NGO Network's development. She recommends the book "Measuring the Immeasurable: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of Networks." Bev, part of Kubatana.net, an Internet directory of NGOs based in Zimbabwe, says, "We are very keen to share our experience and skills." If there is no Internet connectivity, Matthew reminds us that physically meeting with area NGOs is a viable alternative. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


Joseph tells us that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent have many examples of vulnerability and capacity assessments (VCAs) on their website. Graham adds that the website also has a VCA toolbox and guideline that is useful at the community level. He says VCA is a flexible tool and its design and use depends on the objectives. For example, if the objective is to define the role of society in a disaster, then the design should include methods for engaging all participants during the disaster. Other objectives might require other, less-powerful tools. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


Solomon notes that micro enterprise schemes address a root cause of people turning to sex work: poverty. David has worked with sex workers in Bangladesh and has strong feelings on this issue. The key is ability to make their own choices. He believes a more effective approach than microfinance is to help them organise to provide their own services, especially health and education for their children. Mark tells us that IRIN just published a report from ICASA on programs that target female sex workers and overlook male sex workers. He also mentions "Hustling for Health," a practical guide promoting health and safety through better access to good services. Other manuals and programs suggested include "Making Sex work safe", the Cross Border Initiative--Corridor of Hope program in Zambia, and Lusaka-based NGO TASINTHA, which rehabilitates sex workers. Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum.


Past experiences in Liberia taught that:

  • The most successful projects started with clear objectives and qualitative as well as quantitative indicators.
  • Reintegration programs benefited from early situation analysis.
  • Good coordination between agencies was key to effective needs assessment and improved individual agency effectiveness while enhancing overall assistance.
  • Food-for-work programs can take a development perspective from the start.
  • In the early stages, targeting based on actual need was more effective than universal programming; conversely, the "whole community" approach was important in the long term.
  • The most successful programs involved communities in their identification, design, implementation, and maintenance.

Continue the discussion at Aid Workers Forum

Aid Workers Exchange 08-OCT-03 ISSN 1478-5137

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