1998 Mellon-MIT Grantees
- "The Role of Land Allocation in Refugee Movement"
- "Practical Options for NGO Coordination: The Role of Information
Collection and Sharing in the 1994 Great Lakes Crisis"
University - "The Evolving Relationship Between the Union of Palestinian
Medical Relief Committees and the Palestinian Authority"
College and Fletcher School - "Security in Refugee Populated Areas"
Science - "Political and Military Mobilization among Refugees"
America and Harvard Center for Population and Development - "Documenting
Strategies for Incorporating Conflict Resolution, Reconciliation,
and Peace-Building into Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies"
University/African Studies Center - "Emergency Education for Children"
Science - "Improving Refugee Statistics"
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and
Summer 1998 and Summer 1999
Role of Land Allocation in Refugee Movement
Partner: Consortium Laos - World Learning, Save the Children/US, and World
successful repatriation of upland tribal refugee groups to Laos depends
on the availability of viable economic opportunities for community members.
For the Hmong of Ban Phathao in Vang Vieng District, this means households
that have traditionally practiced shifting cultivation must adopt new
farming methods centered around irrigated wet-rice cultivation. Such a
transition requires that institutions of communal governance be modified,
or created anew, in order to promote and sustain cooperative behavior
under different socio-economic circumstances.
research project examines the roles that informal institutions of traditional
village governance and formal institutions of the State play in allocating
newly irrigable land within Ban Phathao and in coordinating the management
of the new irrigation system among Ban Phathao and five other communities
in the same command area. The lessons learned from this research have
important policy implications for refugee resettlement efforts elsewhere
in Laos as well as other countries.
Options for NGO Coordination: The Role of Information Collection and Sharing
in the 1994 Great Lakes Crisis
Partner: International Rescue Committee
must be encouraged to coordinate and recognize their mutual impact upon
one another. To that end, this paper provides a descriptive and critical
analysis of the collection and coordination of information regarding situational
issues and refugee needs among the NGO communities working in the Ngara
and Kibondo regions of western Tanzania from 1994 through the summer of
1998. Methodologies consisted of a literature review, a reading of situation
reports and internal memos, and interviews with field and headquarter
staff in the refugee camps in Tanzania, Nairobi, New York and Geneva.
paper examines how information sharing affects the efficacy of refugee
services and offers suggestions for increased sharing through improved
meetings and better-coordinated refugee services. Meetings would be improved
by greater clarity of purpose, transparent management, and more effective
minute taking and minute distribution. With respect to the coordination
of services, the paper recommends increased awareness of the extent to
which services are interrelated.
Evolving Relationship Between the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief
Committees and the Palestinian Authority
Partner: Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
its establishment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian
Authority (PA) has developed authoritarian traits. This is particularly
reflected in its relation with the NGO sector. As a result, the relation
between the PA and the NGO sector is generally non-cooperative and/or
hostile. An exception to this is the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief
Committees (UPMRC), which has maintained a cooperative relationship with
the PA. The UPMRC chose to maintain a cooperative relationship with the
PA in order to promote its vision of health care delivery and to effect
change in national health policy. To achieve this end, the UPRMC pursued
a strategy of gradual extension of cooperation. As an initial step it
established a network to harmonize NGO activities and to create a unified
position towards the PA.
this achievement the UPMRC has been aided by its historic role in the
community, its continuous grass-roots support, and by its clear vision
and strategy to achieve an equitable health care system. After consolidating
its position in the sector of health NGOs, the UPMRC established a policy
dialogue project through its affiliated institute, the Health, Development,
Information and Policy Institute (HDIP). Through the policy dialogue project,
a forum has been created that for the first time brought together health
NGOs and the PA's Ministry of Health. The policy dialogue resulted in
increased cooperation and coordination in several health sectors, thus
leading to the adoption of some of the UPMRC's health policies.
Regis College and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
in Refugee Populated Areas
Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
grant enabled me to research and write a paper, "A 'Security-First' Approach
to Physical Protection in Refugee Camps," which was issued as the fourth
in the Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper
Series of the Mellon-MIT Inter-University Program
on NGOs and Forced Migration. This paper begins with an analysis of
security and safety problems in camps and refugee hosting areas, and then
outlines some ideas about a "security first" strategy, including
the political feasibility of a camp security force in the current international
context, and how such a force would be composed, monitored and controlled.
The paper was disseminated to a number of people in UNHCR (my partner
agency), and from there it received even wider distribution, through Jeff
Crisp with whom I worked at UNHCR.
outcome of this Mellon-funded research is a workshop on "Security
in Refugee Populated Areas" that will be held at MIT in October 1999.
The workshop will be attended by about 25 experts on security and refugees
from a variety of NGOs and international organizations, as well as the
US government and academia.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science
and Military Mobilization among Refugees
Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
research examines the conditions under which refugees and exiles become
involved in political violence. During the summer of 1998, I conducted
fieldwork in Croatia and Geneva. From interviews with NGOs, refugees,
Croatian officials, and UNHCR staff, I completed a case study of a group
of renegade Bosnian Muslim refugees who became refugees twice during the
war in former Yugoslavia. The first exodus ended when the exiles, in alliance
with Serb forces, formed a military force to retake their hometown, Velika
Kladusa. The Bosnian Army pushed the refugees out of their hometown again,
but the exiles were unable to mobilize militarily the second time. In
explaining the different outcomes of each exodus, I developed preliminary
hypotheses about the causes of political violence involving refugees.
the Bosnian case study, I focused on mechanisms that allow refugee involvement
in violence. Those mechanisms include mixed populations (refugees and
militants); refugee influxes perceived by the receiving state as threatening;
manipulation of refugees by leaders; forced conscription; and voluntary
mobilization. From the Bosnian case I found that external political conditions,
especially support from the receiving state, significantly determined
the ability of refugees to mobilize.
addition to presentation at the Mellon-MIT colloquium, I have presented
my research at the International Studies Association (New England) conference
(November 1998) and the University of Massachusetts conference on dispute
resolution (October 1998). The research has also contributed to my dissertation
Roper and Winifred Fitzgerald
Oxfam America and the Harvard Center for Population and Development
Strategies for Incorporating Conflict Resolution, Reconciliation, and
Peace-Building into Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Emergencies
Partner: Oxfam America and Oxfam Quebec
Roper of Oxfam America, Oxfam Quebec, and Winifred Fitzgerald from the
Harvard Center for Population and Development collaborated on research
in Rwanda to help Oxfam Quebec identify strategies for incorporating reconciliation
strategies into all its programming in complex emergencies and their aftermath.
After extensive interviews with peer agency staff, journalists, public
officials, Oxfam Quebec staff, local NGOs, and community members, the
participating Oxfam offices reached several important conclusions. These
include: 1) Reconciliation is a term that has many meanings and carries
significant emotional and political overtones in a context where there
have been ethnically-based killings and reprisals. Many Rwandans found
it ill-advised and even offensive that a foreign funding agency should
consider positioning itself as promoting reconciliation in such charged
circumstances. 2) Good development interventions that meet community needs,
bring people together on the basis of shared interests, are sensitive
to local circumstances and experience, and create room for participation
and dialogue can often play a more effective role in promoting reconciliation
than activities identified under that rubric.
initial results from this study were intriguing enough that Oxfam Quebec
wanted to continue its investigations. It has since become part of the
Collaborative for Development Action's project on Local Capacities for
Peace, a multi-agency effort to identify and test mechanisms to insure
that aid organizations' interventions are constructive and do not inadvertently
African Studies Center, Boston University
Education for Children
Partner: The Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
research began with the premise that educating children during emergency
situations is a widely recognized but rarely addressed need. Field inquiry
on this issue not only confirmed this but also found that the first line
of emergency educators during humanitarian crises are usually not international
education experts but members of forced migrant communities. The implications
of this finding are significant, because much of the emergency education
literature, and the design of many emergency education programs, highlight
the input from and direction by outside expertise.
issue is examined in depth in the final report, which is entitled "Educating
Children During Emergencies: A View from the Field." It features
findings arising from the application of standard anthropological methods
to field research in Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania and internally
displaced communities in Colombia in 1998. Additional findings were drawn
from anthropological field research in Sierra Leone and Sierra Leonean
refugee camps in 1997 and Rwandan refugee camps in Tanzania in 1994. Contextual
interviews were also carried out with emergency education experts and
humanitarian emergency donors in Washington, Brussels, Geneva, New York,
report describes the origins of refugee and displaced community schools
and contrasts them with the United Nations-generated "school kits" that
have been implemented in some emergency settings. It also considers why
more boys than girls receive formal education during emergencies, and
examines a number of constraints to emergency education. The report concludes
with a series of recommendations aimed at bridging gaps between emergency
educators in forced migrant and international humanitarian communities.
"Educating Children During Emergencies" was the featured discussion
paper for a major emergency education conference at the World Bank in
March, 1999 and has been solicited for publication by an education journal.
It will also soon be available on the Global
Information Networks in Education (GINIE) website.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science
Partner: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
this 3 month internship in Geneva, I worked under the direction of Bela
Hovy, Chief Statistician at UNHCR. I assisted with publication of Refugees
and Others of Concern to UNHCR: 1997 Statistical Overiew; researched
and created two historical databases on European asylum recognition rates
and global refugee populations, and researched and answered internal and
external queries. I also participated in updating UNHCR's mailing list
for the Statistical Overview, reorganized binders of country-level
documentation for creation of the databases, and created "information
sheets" that translate key words pertaining to refugees from the
original languages into English, in order to make the data more accessible
to UNHCR staff and other researchers.