Global Conference

Global Conference on Volunteering in Conflicts and Emergencies

Volunteers play critical roles in conflicts and emergencies, and yet we know very little about their experiences and needs, the challenges they face, and what can be done to support them. This conference starts a new global conversation on volunteers in conflicts and emergencies, and invites academics, practitioners, researchers, policy makers and volunteers to be part of it.

Taking place over 3 days, the conference will provide opportunities to explore new data on volunteers in conflicts and emergencies, to identify key issues for future research and to identify opportunities to collaborate and work together to improve understanding and practice.

The conference will draw on findings and experiences from the Volunteers in Conflicts and Emergencies Initiative (ViCE), a three-year research-led development and innovation initiative led by the Swedish Red Cross in partnership with Northumbria University and National Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in Afghanistan, Honduras, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan and Ukraine.

The data of the ViCE Initiative, collected through a listening study methodology, sheds new light on the experiences and challenges faced by local volunteers, and the strategies and mechanisms they develop and adopt to cope with increased risks and vulnerabilities, amid weakened institutional support systems. The findings offer greater understanding of local volunteering in conflicts and emergencies, the changing nature of humanitarianism in contemporary conflicts and emergency settings, and the multiple and overlapping roles of local volunteers as humanitarian and development actors in their own communities.

The research provides a body of knowledge to support and facilitate a volunteer-led approach towards protecting, promoting and recognising local volunteers working in conflicts and emergencies. This conference is designed to start shaping this agenda through a dialogue between academics, practitioners, policy makers, volunteers and other stakeholders.

The conference events have been designed to be participatory, enabling participants to both learn from and discuss the new findings, but also contribute their own analysis, insights and ideas, ensuring that diverse voices help shape a new research and practice agenda around volunteers in conflicts and emergencies.

Below you will find theme papers to be discussed during and after the conference.

  1. Everyday humanitarianism
  2. Unpacking the local
  3. Volunteers and victims
  4. Time and temporality
  5. Gendered experiences
  6. Trauma and psychosocial support
  7. Methodology