Effectiveness of humanitarian action in protracted crisis : case of the health sector response in Lebanon’s border town of Arsal
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An international response to a humanitarian crisis brings together a variety of actors. Different missions, agendas and capacities provide a breadth of potential, but encounter great risks when attempting to address people and societies affected by crisis in an effective way. Because of the principle of impartiality, one of the core humanitarian principles – humanitarian action – is always supposed to be needs based. Especially in the context of a protracted crisis, a needs-based approach to a humanitarian crisis is an important pillar that shapes how effective humanitarian agencies are in achieving appropriate and relevant humanitarian action and subsequently meet expected results. This Master’s thesis documents and analyzes the various ways health care providers are implementing a needs-based approach with the example of the international health response in Lebanon’s border town of Arsal. Due to the existing gaps and needs of health care services in Arsal, paired with decreasing donor support, the effectiveness of the provision of health care services is of significant concern. The way in which humanitarian actors are implementing a needs-based approach is thus analyzed and under critical investigation in order to understand how effective NGOs are when providing health care services in this area. This analysis aims to encourage operating organizations to critically reflect on their current approaches. Moreover, this work should be the basis and incentive for the UN and NGOs to innovate and improve their mechanisms and processes in place to meet people’s health needs more effectively.