Document Type

Honors Project

Abstract

Local staff makes up nearly ninety percent of all humanitarian aid workers, yet they are rarely acknowledged. This paper addresses the dearth of literature on local humanitarian aid workers. In this ethnographic study, I examine the role of local aid workers in responding to a refugee crisis as part of the global system of refugee relief. Based on fieldwork conducted in Eastern Cameroon and Geneva, Switzerland, this thesis argues that local humanitarian aid workers are a vital bridge between international aid organizations and refugee populations and that a more in-depth examination of local aid workers can illuminate the broader framework of humanitarian aid. By using life narratives, I identify how local aid workers envision their own strengths and challenges, gaining an important insight into an often forgotten, yet integral, component of humanitarian aid and refugee relief.

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