Complementarity in Conflicts: A Study on Collaborative Humanitarian Action Between Médecins Sans Frontières and Local Responders in Afghanistan and Central African Republic
Complementarity in the context of international humanitarian action is broadly described in terms of collaboration among international and local responders delivering aid in crisis situations. While complementarity is presented as the appropriate intervention model during armed conflict and other situations of violence, there is limited understanding of the factors which affect such a humanitarian response approach. Research was thus conducted in order to gain perspective into the factors that enable and/or hinder complementarity with local actors. Ten individuals from the international non-governmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) having experienced missions in the case study countries of Afghanistan and Central African Republic were interviewed. The research found that complementarity is influenced by a set of factors identified and categorized by the researcher as the ‘Seven Cs’. These include the differing understandings of the ‘concept’ of complementarity; the level of organizational and individual ‘commitment’ to complementarity; the ‘context’ as it relates to specific conflict type, government attitudes, and the nature of civil society; the ‘control’ of power in partnerships; the ‘co-optation’, or substitution, of locally-led responses by international actors; the humanitarian ‘coordination’ mechanisms utilized; and ‘capacity’ levels. The analysis showed that in these conflicts MSF does exhibit complementarity with local actors through certain policies and strategies, practices, as well as values and principles of the organization. However, the findings also demonstrate that MSF is reluctant to adopt complementarity methods of humanitarian response when such approaches are considered to be a departure from the organization’s technically driven, direct service model of providing principled medical aid.
International Relations|Public health
Eckley, Joshua Alexander, "Complementarity in Conflicts: A Study on Collaborative Humanitarian Action Between Médecins Sans Frontières and Local Responders in Afghanistan and Central African Republic" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28090466.