Review of ‘In the Eyes of Others: How People in Crises Perceive Humanitarian Aid’ Caroline Abu-Sada (ed.) and ‘Dilemmas, Challenges, and Ethics of Humanitarian Action: Reflections on Médecins Sans Frontières’ Perception Project’ Caroline Abu-Sada (ed.)

  • Smith J
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Abstract

Painting pickups pink has become an operational imperative for certain humanitarian agencies working in conflict and other unstable contexts. Drawing on the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, In The Eyes of Others opens with a decision made by the organ-isation in 2005 to repaint its all-terrain vehicles a bright shade of pink. This decision was driven by far more than the desire for a change of aesthetic and is illustrative of a number of emerging challenges that threaten the hu-manitarian space within which humanitarian agencies are able to safely operate; as MSF continued to imple-ment its medical programmes in Ituri Province, the United Nations peacekeeping force active in the region launched military operations with the aim of disarming local militia. The peacekeepers operated in white jeeps that were difficult to distinguish from MSF's own vehi-cles. Fearing that combatants could mistake MSF staff and patients for armed UN soldiers, the organisation implemented measures that it hoped would set MSF apart from other agencies and organisations working in the region. Leaving the pink pickups as a precedential program-matic decision against which to contextualise the discus-sion that follows, the authors proceed to describe MSF's Perception Project, a four-year study implemented between 2007 and 2010. Almost 7000 stakeholders including crisis-affected people, community leaders, politicians, military personnel, MSF employees, and

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Smith, J. D. (2016). Review of ‘In the Eyes of Others: How People in Crises Perceive Humanitarian Aid’ Caroline Abu-Sada (ed.) and ‘Dilemmas, Challenges, and Ethics of Humanitarian Action: Reflections on Médecins Sans Frontières’ Perception Project’ Caroline Abu-Sada (ed.). Journal of International Humanitarian Action, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-016-0001-0

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