What is it about?

This paper presents a 20-month fieldwork analysis of the challenges faced by international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in armed conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR). Employing a mixed-methods approach, the analysis maps logistical risks and highlights key obstacles to successful humanitarian deployments in complex and constantly changing environments. The paper provides practical recommendations for INGOs to focus on in conflict zones, including the need for a multidimensional approach to achieve successful deployments, securing the acceptance of local communities and conflict parties, maintaining a secure stock of energy, and effective communication, cooperation, and collaboration with UNOCHA. Through the analysis, 268 common risk factors across eight categories during five deployment phases are identified, and a multi-criteria method is used to evaluate these risks based on criticality and NGO responsiveness, resulting in valuable insights and concrete recommendations.

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Why is it important?

This groundbreaking study offers a profound exploration of the multifaceted challenges and risks associated with humanitarian logistics in armed conflict zones, with a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) – regions that are emblematic of complex humanitarian emergencies. By delving into the lived experiences of local NGOs and interacting with International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), this research sheds light on the intricate operational, security, and ethical quandaries encountered by humanitarian entities in these conflict-ridden areas. The insights garnered are not only timely, considering the intensifying global conflicts and mounting dependence on humanitarian aid but are also pivotal for enhancing the efficacy and safety of humanitarian endeavors in such volatile contexts. This study stands out for its emphasis on localized experiences and its rigorous, evidence-based approach, providing invaluable insights and actionable recommendations that can shape policies, strategies, and discourse related to humanitarian interventions in Africa and beyond. It serves as a crucial reference for academics, practitioners, policymakers, INGOs, and all stakeholders engaged in humanitarian actions in conflict-affected regions.


Conducting this research has been an extraordinary collective journey, both intellectually and humanely. Having the opportunity to interact with dignified and resilient populations, despite the enduring sufferings, has been an honor and an invaluable source of learning and reflection for us as researchers. Each encounter has strengthened our shared conviction about the importance of contextualizing humanitarian action to resonate with the realities and aspirations of local populations. Our collaboration with the three INGOs has been particularly enriching, opening horizons of understanding and creating a space for mutual dialogue and reflection essential for grasping the complexities of humanitarian intervention in conflict zones such as the DRC and CAR. Interacting with the coordinators of the various UN clusters and blue helmets deployed in this area has been a source of astonishment and admiration, witnessing their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication to alleviate suffering and provide vital support in an extremely precarious environment. We are filled with deep gratitude for all the encounters and learnings this study has brought forth. Our aspiration is that the findings and reflections contained in this publication can foster constructive dialogue and enhanced collaboration between local actors, international entities, and United Nations agencies. Together, we believe in the possibility of advancing more adapted, respectful, and impactful humanitarian interventions for communities torn apart by armed conflicts, in Africa and across the globe.

Faculte des Sciences et Techniques de Settat

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Mitigating risks and overcoming logistics challenges in humanitarian deployment to conflict zones: evidence from the DRC and CAR, Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management, September 2023, Emerald,
DOI: 10.1108/jhlscm-04-2023-0031.
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