The humanitarian system is challenged by rising demand for its services, as increasing numbers of people are affected by crisis and disasters, while its approach is rooted in the supply-driven paradigm of the last century. The traditional approaches to the provision of assistance and protection continue to prevail despite successive attempts at reform. Nick van Praag set up Ground Truth Solutions with the goal of encouraging aid agencies and donors to adopt an approach to humanitarian action that is more responsive to the lived experience of refugees and displaced people. In this session, he will describe how his organisation is working to enable better humanitarian action in places as disparate as Afghanistan and Uganda, and how it is faring in a system that is steeped in the status quo.
Nick van Praag is Executive Director of Ground Truth Solutions, an organisation he set up in 2012 to encourage moves towards a more responsive and effective humanitarian system. GTS’s methodology enables affected people to have their views included in the way humanitarian organisations respond to crises. The GTS team is now working with the UN, INGOs and the Red Cross movement in some 20 countries. Activities range from setting up a common feedback system in the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to assisting the OECD DAC to track the impact of humanitarian action in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Haiti, Lebanon, Uganda, Somalia, and Uganda.
Nick’s previous career includes a decade at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and more than 20 years at the World Bank. His interest in promoting better ways of engaging with people affected by humanitarian disasters stems from his conviction that including the perspective of ordinary people can transform the way the humanitarian and development systems work. Nick is British and lives in Vienna, Austria. He studied in France, Italy, the U.K. and the United States.