Asian Journal of PEACEBUILDING

Volume 4 Number 1 (May 2016)

Table of Contents

Research Article

The Expectations Gap in Humanitarian Operations: Field Perspectives from Jordan

Neven Bondokji pp. 1-28
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The Syrian refugee crisis is characterized by the gap between refugees’ needs and donors’ expectations as humanitarian organizations struggle to meet emergency and development needs. The perspectives of eleven field workers from three levels of field management in the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan shed light on the field dynamics that contribute to this gap. I argue that the expectations gap in humanitarian operations is widened by the inability of humanitarian organizations to accurately communicate refugees’ needs to donors due to a lack of regular and professional needs assessments. Disparities within organizations regarding understanding contexts, adherence to rigid operational standards, and the need to address stressors on the ground also reinforce power imbalances within humanitarian operations and widen the expectations gap. Two effective responses for managing this gap are transparency with refugees and donor flexibility.
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