Humanitarian assistance was long deemed to be apolitical and above the fray where corruption was concerned. However, by the early 2000s it was quite clear not only that aid was going astray, but indeed that simply by introducing “free” resources into extremely resource-scarce circumstances, humanitarian agencies were putting themselves at great risk of both financial and reputational harm. Turning a blind eye to this issue was only condoning bad practice on the part of staff, local partners, local authorities or contractors who were capturing the benefits of assistance, at the expense of emergency-affected populations for whom the assistance was intended.

This study, commissioned by Transparency International, was intended to compile the evidence base for improved practices by humanitarian agencies.  Case studies were conducted in seven disaster zones, in collaboration with the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development institute.  Transparency International took the findings and developed a good practice review to mitigate the risk of corruption in humanitarian assistance.

Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance

Leaders in the humanitarian community have resolved to do more to address the risks of corruption in relief efforts. Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance documents perceptions of corruption in humanitarian...

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Preventing corruption in humanitarian assistance: perceptions, gaps and challenges

This paper examines perceptions of corruption and its effects, documents best practices, and outlines gaps in understanding. It suggests recommendations for improving the capacity of humanitarian agencies to prevent and manage the risk of corruption. Published in Disasters in May 2011.