Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."

30.7.07

Reconstruction and Stability Ops

Several Bloggers have described the value of simple solutions for complex problems. Last summer, at the STRONG ANGEL III Humanitarian Relief Exercise in San Diego, I met Vinay Gupta. Vinay has the complexion of a south-central Asian, and the voice of a Scottish Highlander. His innovation, the Hexayurt, is another great innovation to provide rapid, relevant relief to people in need:





Vinay is addressing the most overlooked element of Maslow's Hierarchy of Need: the middle tier of "Affiliation".

While many focus on the bottom tiers (food & shelter; security), and post-modernist look at the top (esteem and actualization), the quickest path to stability is by allowing people to preserve their own affiliations.

The irony is that the relief mechanisms of the world do not allow this. The U.N. drops a 100-lb. bag of rice, and the refugee camp grows where the sustenance is delivered. This creates a spiral of disaffect that creates greater security challenges, and delays the restoration of stability.

A better approach, like those postulated by Vinay, is to provide people the means of achieving the lower tiers of Maslow's hierarchy -- while also preserving their native affiliations.

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3 Comments:

At 31/7/07 16:08 , Blogger Kyle M. Ballard said...

My sense is that with affiliation comes the continuity of social networks and social capital. I found your post interesting. I linked to it on my own blog.... thanks for the thoughts!

http://religion-culture-dialogue.blogspot.com/2007/07/affiliation-important-in-post-conflict.html

 
At 1/8/07 06:06 , Blogger deichmans said...

Thanks, Kyle. I appreciate the reference, and think you've identified other ways to enrich the social networks (e.g., your comments on Hawala). I'll be keeping an eye on your Consortium's 'blog now too.

 
At 5/10/07 07:41 , Blogger jwrenn said...

Great story.

Really addresses the disease instead of just trying to treat the symptoms.

I think this is part of the solution to the problem of dissolving culutural identities, that leave people feeling lost, betrayed and then angry, which causes friction in the world.

By providing basic shelter you give them an opportunity to maintain their sense of community - social network. This may well reduce the feelings of isolation and ability for mobs to recruit.

 

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