1st Edition

Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism Development Futures?

Edited By Anne Meike Fechter, Anke Schwittay Copyright 2020
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism brings together, under the umbrella terms of citizen aid and grassroots humanitarianism, interdisciplinary research on small-scale, privately-funded forms of aid that operate on the margins of the official development sector.

    The last decade has seen a steady rise of such activities in the Global South and North, such as in response to the influx of refugees into Europe. The chapters in this volume cover a variety of locations in Asia, Africa and Europe, presenting empirically grounded cases of citizen aid. They range from educational development projects, to post-disaster emergency relief. Importantly, while some activities are initiated by Northern citizens, others are based on South–South assistance, such as Bangladeshi nationals supporting Rohingya refugees, and peer support in the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Hayan. Together, the contributions consider citizen aid vis-à-vis more institutionalised forms of aid, review methodological approaches and their challenges and query the political dimensions of these initiatives. Key themes are historical perspectives on ‘demotic humanitarianism’, questions of legitimacy and professionalisation, founders’ motivations, the role of personal connections, and the importance of digital media for brokerage and fundraising. Being mindful of the power imbalances inherent in citizen aid and everyday humanitarianism, they suggest that both deserve more systematic attention.

    Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism will be of great interest to scholars and professionals working in international development, humanitarianism, international aid and anthropology. The chapters were originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.

    1. Introduction: Citizen aid: grassroots interventions in development and humanitarianism

    Anne-Meike Fechter & Anke Schwittay

    2. Demotic humanitarians: historical perspectives on the global reach of local initiatives, 1940–2017

    Bertrand Taithe

    3. Motivations behind citizen aid: Norwegian initiatives in The Gambia

    June Fylkesnes

    4. Development and the search for connection

    Anne-Meike Fechter

    5. Don’t reinvent the wheel: possibilities for and limits to building capacity of grassroots international NGOs

    Susan Appe & Allison Schnable

    6. The legitimacy of Dutch do-it-yourself initiatives in Kwale County, Kenya

    Sara Kinsbergen

    7. Beyond crisis management? The role of Citizen Initiatives for Global Solidarity in humanitarian aid: the case of Lesvos

    Hanne Haaland & Hege Wallevik

    8. Humanitarianism, civil society and the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh

    David Lewis

    9. Citizen aid, social media and brokerage after disaster

    Deirdre McKay & Padmapani Perez

    10. Digital mediations of everyday humanitarianism: the case of Kiva.org

    Anke Schwittay


    Anne-Meike Fechter is a Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Sussex, UK. Her research focuses on forms of privileged migration and development in Southeast Asia, with a special interest in how mobility, and support for others, interlink in the field of transnational assistance.

    Anke Schwittay is a Senior Lecturer in Global Development and Anthropology at the University of Sussex, UK. Her research focuses on representations of development and their links to everyday humanitarianism, as well as the use of design and creativity in global development. Anke is the author of New Media and International Development: Representation and Affect in Microfinance.