Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management

First Advisor

Azim Khan


The need for protection during complex crises is unremitting. Studies spanning the past decade prove humanitarian aid workers are at great risk while working within conflict zones and insecure contexts. This influx is due to the proliferation of politicization of humanitarianism, donor involvement, and lack of communication between involved parties. This exploratory study uses longitudinal data collection by way of semi-structured qualitative interviews. The research examined how humanitarian workers’ need for protection, while providing aid to Afghanistan, will change the future of humanitarian response.

It was concluded that although in the past decade, on-site actors felt they had enough physical protection, especially in regard to rapid-onset incidents, they vocalized the urgent need for psychological protection. The future of humanitarian response must understand that burnout, PTSD, and mental health issues are besetting these workers. Results spoke to the effects of protective protocols set in place mid-way through the crisis in Afghanistan. The impediment of community engagement and restraining aid workers to their offices ultimately created more work. Reflecting on the strategies of humanitarian action employed in this emblematic crisis will have a great impact on many individuals’ futures and should be significant in the tailoring of new operations in humanitarian response.


Asian Studies | Other International and Area Studies