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Being accountable to people affected by armed conflicts

Time (GMT +01) 13:00 14:30
Hero image description: An ICRC delegate discusses with a civilian while evaluating the damages to civilian buildings incurred by fighting in Sana'a, Yemen. Image credit:ICRC / Thomas Glass

Contributing chair:

Jacobo Quintanilla @jqg - Community Engagement Advisor, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


Christina Bennett @cr_bennett - Head, Humanitarian Policy Group

Rachel Hastie - Global Protection Adviser, Oxfam GB

Anahi Ayala Iacucci @anahi_ayala - Senior Director for Humanitarian Programs, Internews

David Loquercio @DavidLoquercio - Head of Accountability to Affected People, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


Over the last decade, humanitarian agencies have aspired to be more accountable to people affected by crises, but progress has been limited. Despite many global and institutional commitments and research on ways to increase engagement, meaningful participation with affected people is still often seen as an optional ‘add-on’ to programming activities.

Aid agencies’ resistance to change, operational constraints and the fear of relinquishing power and control are reasons why the issue of accountability remains one of the least improved areas in the humanitarian sector.  This is particularly true in armed conflicts and other situations of violence, where rumours, misinformation and propaganda are rife. The constant change and disruption, unique sets of expectations, and an erosion of trust and proximity make it ever more challenging for humanitarians to engage and be responsible to affected people.

Are humanitarians, and donors, ready to relinquish decision-making power and control? What role does technology play in improving trust and accountability, particularly in conflict settings? Are engagement and accountability ‘just’ a matter of donor compliance?

This event, drawing on the ICRC’s new report on Engaging with People Affected by Armed Conflict and ODI's Humanitarian Policy Group's research on Constructive Deconstruction, helps answer some of these crucial questions. Panellists discuss the challenges and opportunities for humanitarian agencies in better engaging with affected communities in armed conflicts and violence.


Jacobo Quintanilla works as Community Engagement Advisor at the ICRC and co-authored the discussion paper. Jacobo's work at the intersection of community engagement, media and technology spans over 14 years and more than 20 countries. He has previously worked for Spanish media, ActionAid and Internews and is passionate about information and communication as forms of aid in their own right, and the opportunities and risks that technology brings into our lives. Jacobo is a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, judge in the GSMA Global Mobile Awards and has served as board member of the infoasaid project, and as Technical Reviewer for DFID’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund.

Christina Bennett is the Head of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute. She has more than 15 years of experience in humanitarian policy and programming. While at HPG, Christina has focused on analysing the changing humanitarian landscape and its implications for humanitarian principles, architecture and partnerships. Prior to joining HPG, Christina was the Chief of Policy Analysis and Innovation at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), where she led OCHA’s analytical efforts on a range of humanitarian issues, including aid effectiveness, risk and resilience and civil-military issues.

Rachel Hastie is the Global Protection Adviser at Oxfam GB. Rachel has worked for Oxfam GB for more than 20 years, in a variety of roles including managing humanitarian responses in the field, information management, and funding. Currently, she leads a team that provides surge capacity for humanitarian responses, including community-based mechanisms for referrals to emergency and protection services, and the development of community-based protection programmes. Rachel also co-leads the Task Team on Cash for Protection under the Global Protection Cluster, and sits on the Advisory Board for Forced Migration Review.

Anahi Ayala Iacucci first joined Internews in 2010 and today she leads the Internews Humanitarian team as the Senior Director for Humanitarian Programs. Anahi plays a key role in developing Internews’ global humanitarian program strategies; while also closely supporting teams in the field and managing Internews Emergency Response Program. Prior to her current role, she was the Humanitarian Director for Internews South Sudan, where she managed a multimillion dollars portfolio of six different projects before moving to her current position in 2017.

David Loquercio is the Head of Accountability to Affected People at the ICRC, leading the organisation’s efforts towards designing and delivering a humanitarian response that is inclusive and accountable. David first started with the ICRC in 2000, as a delegate in Kuwait. Following missions in IL/OT and Afghanistan, he served as program coordinator, trainer and evaluator within Oxfam's emergency pool. In 2007, he joined the advisory services team at KPMG, before becoming Head of Policy for the Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance (previously known as HAP International), working on the development and roll out of verifiable quality and accountability standards.

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