Editorial | Do No Harm

In any humanitarian crisis it is not just the governments that come into action but non governmental organisations compliment the overall efforts of the governments. It is no more an unorganised sector, managed by people according to their whims. There are, in fact, standard procedures and established practices, that are followed by these groups and organisations. One of the essential principles that has been publicised world over for these NGOs is to follow DNH approach. It means that while these organisations want to compliment the governmental efforts to mitigate any crisis, they shouldn’t resort to practices that can compound problems. Also they shouldn’t act in ways that open up new problems, or complicate already present problems. It means before these organisations swing into action they should study the problem well, and know where exactly, in what conditions, they are performing their task. For us, in the kind of times we are passing through, the role of charitable trusts, and other humanitarian organisations, becomes very crucial. It is a known fact that our government cannot claim of having all the resources – human and material – that can face the current crisis.

It will need a complimentary act from various civil society formations. But these organisations must synchronize their efforts with that of the government, so that no chaotic condition develops. Since the present crisis is extraordinary it is bound to bring mental and physical pressures on all the individuals who are right now involved in official or voluntary work. In such circumstances it is likely that it can disturb the harmony between the two, thus giving rise to another set of problems. To avoid this harm, the concerned officials and the heads of various voluntary organisations should try to understand each others’ problems and work out strategies accordingly. Those who are working in the interest of people, out of their own volition, are doing a commendable job, but they need to follow standard procedures to be more effective. In the long run, these organisations, as well as the concerned government departments, need to undertake a sensitization programe where the DNH approaches are popularized.

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