Working in areas where many have weapons, like here in the Central African Republic, is extremely challenging. It requires careful planning to keep NRC’s staff safe and avoid putting people we work with in further danger. Photo: NRC/ Vincent Tremeau.
Reaching those who need it most, even in dangerous situations.

When doors close or dangers intensify, people affected by conflict are often denied life-saving help from humanitarian workers. NRC is working to overcome barriers that prevent us from reaching those who need help.

States and other actors that control territory have the responsibility to meet the basic needs of their people. If they are unable or unwilling, they should give access to humanitarian actors instead.

However, humanitarian actors often struggle to reach people in need. This can be because of dangerous situations, ongoing fighting, denial of permission from authorities, poor roads, and lack of funds.

Challenging the way we think

Overcoming barriers often requires new and creative thinking. We have stepped up our research on ways to help people without a large presence of workers on the ground. For instance, we are testing out how we can use cash programmes and electronic cash transfers in dangerous areas.

We are also exploring technological options such as big data and modelling to learn more about people’s locations and needs where we have trouble reaching them.

Partnering with the locals

In many places that are difficult to access, NRC works with local partners.

Such partnerships help us overcome barriers to access, improve the quality of our programmes and strengthen the capacity of local actors that can continue the work after NRC withdraws. 

Training our employees

An important part of working in a conflict is to ensure our people on the ground know the humanitarian principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence – and use them to solve the problems they face.

We therefore provide trainings to our staff on humanitarian principles, principled access and humanitarian negotiations.

Advocating rights

Ensuring that people have access to services and protection is at the core of NRC’s work. In addition to providing services ourselves through our local partners, we advocate that states and parties to a conflict uphold their responsibilities towards the populations, that the humanitarian system responds where the needs are greatest, and that donors support these efforts.