Just Emergencies Episode 5: The Ethics of Closing Humanitarian Projects

Episode 5 Image

There are many issues that come to mind when we think about setting up humanitarian responses: recruiting well-trained staff, funding and resource allocation are just a few. One thing we might not automatically consider is how best to close such projects and do so ethically. Associate Professor Matthew Hunt (twitter: @MHuntMcGill) does spend a lot of his time thinking about and researching the ethics of closing humanitarian projects, and in Episode 5 of Just Emergencies, he joined us to discuss some of the issues that (can) arise during this process.

Listen to the full episode and read the episode transcript

“Partly it’s about the temporal horizon of concern: the acute phase of the disaster or humanitarian response and then looking at what comes afterwards.”

As he was interviewing humanitarian workers about the ethics of resource allocation, Dr. Hunt noticed that many people were struggling with another type of ethical issue: how best to close humanitarian projects. How can a project be ended without ‘pulling the rug out’ from under a community? Is it better to phase a project out entirely or hand it over to local NGOs and Ministries of Health?

To find out, listen to Episode 5 of Just Emergencies: The Ethics of Closing Humanitarian projects


NGOs: Non-Governmental Organisations

Links and Further Resources:

International Committee of the Red Cross

Gustave Moynier

Please see the work of:

Associate Professor Lisa Eckenweiler

Professor Henry Richardson

Associate Professor Jennifer Rubenstein


‘Just Emergencies’ is produced and edited by Rebecca Richards and made with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Our intro song is ‘The sun comes up, I come down’ by Silicon Transmitter.

Our outro song is ‘Surge and Swell’ by Pictures of the Floating World.

Both are available under an Attribution-Noncommerical-ShareAlike3.0 Creative Commons License from Free Music Archive.

Image by Chang Duong on Unsplash.