Daniel Maxwell

Daniel MaxwellResearch Director for Food Security and Complex Emergencies; Professor; MAHA Director

In 2008, he was asked to chair the newly formed Department of Food and Nutrition Policy in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. Since 2012, he has directed the Masters of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) program. Prior to coming to Tufts, he was the Deputy Regional Director for CARE International in Eastern and Central Africa, based in Nairobi. From 1995 to1998, he was a Rockefeller Post-Doctoral Fellow the International Food Policy Research Institute. Prior to completing his PhD he worked for Mennonite Central Committee for ten years in Tanzania and Uganda.

His recent research has focused on food security and livelihoods in protracted crises, impact assessment of livelihoods and disaster risk reduction programming, and the measurement of food security – in terms of both early warning and assessment, and the impact of programming. He is the co-author, with Chris Barrett of Cornell University, of Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role (2005), which has already had far-ranging impacts on food aid practice and policy; and co-authored with Peter Walker, Shaping the Humanitarian World (2009). In 2010 he was a co-author and editor of the FAO/WFP Report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI) that focused on protracted food security crises. Most recently, he was the guest editor for a special edition of the journal, Global Food Security on the 2011-2012 famine in Somalia.

He holds a B.Sc. Degree from Wilmington College, a Master’s Degree from Cornell, and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

For all of Dr. Maxwell’s publications, please download his CV at the top of page.

FIC Publications

Trajectories of international engagement with state and local actors: Evidence from South Sudan
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What can international aid policymakers and practitioners learn from the history of international engagement with South Sudan prior to and during the current conflict? This paper traces shifts in international…

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The Somalia Famine of 2011-2012
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The Somalia famine of 2011 was the first instance of actual famine in nearly a decade, and to date the worst famine of the 21st Century. In retrospect the disaster…

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The Return to Violence in South Sudan
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By Daniel Maxwell, Phoebe Donnelly | February 2016

South Sudan became the world’s newest country in July 2011, but internal political struggles resulted in renewed violent conflict in December 2013, affecting nearly half the country’s population and displacing some…

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Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy: Implications for Humanitarian Response
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By Dyan Mazurana, Daniel Maxwell | February 2016

This policy brief presents the implications of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy for the people they strive to assist, Sweden’s own humanitarian policy and operations, and more broadly the whole humanitarian…

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Narratives of Famine Somalia 2011
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This paper is important reading for anyone working in or on Somalia because it presents the famine of 2011 from the perspective of those who lived through it in their…

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Facing Famine Somali Experiences in the Famine of 2011
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In 2011–12, Somalia experienced the worst famine of the twenty-first century. Since then, research on the famine has focused almost exclusively on the external response, the reasons for the delay…

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Surveying livelihoods, service delivery and governance: baseline evidence from South Sudan
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In 2012, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with inputs from SLRC, implemented the first round of an original sub-regional panel survey in South Sudan aimed to produce data…

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From post-conflict recovery and state building to a renewed humanitarian emergency: A brief reflection on South Sudan
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By Daniel Maxwell, Martina Santschi | August 2014

Since December 2013 – only two and a half years after becoming an independent country – South Sudan has been mired in a deep political, military, and humanitarian crisis. This…

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Another Humanitarian Crisis in Somalia? Learning from the 2011 Famine
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By Daniel Maxwell, Nisar Majid | August 2014

After two reasonably good years of recovery, 2014 appears to be shaping up as a difficult year for Somalia. Donors and agencies are ringing alarm bells about deteriorating conditions. There…

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Looking back to look ahead? Reviewing key lessons from Operation Lifeline Sudan and past humanitarian operations in South Sudan
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This paper reviews large-scale humanitarian operations in South Sudan, focusing on what lessons can be learnt from Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS). The paper is structured as follows: The first section…

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Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine and the Greater Horn of Africa Crisis 2011-2012 Desk Review of Literature
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On July 20, 2011, the UN declared a famine in South Central Somalia, which killed some 260,000 people (Checchi and Robinson 2013). Though Somalia was the worst affected country, the…

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Livelihoods, access to services and perceptions of governance: An analysis of Uror and Nyirol counties, South Sudan
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This report is based on qualitative fieldwork conducted in Uror and Nyirol Counties, Jonglei State, South Sudan and a household survey conducted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…

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Resilience, Food Security Dynamics, and Poverty Traps in Northern Ethiopia Analysis of a Biannual Panel Dataset, 2011-2013
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Humanitarian assistance or safety net programs may be able to prevent mortality or reduce malnutrition in the face of shocks or crises, but households, their communities, and their institutions may…

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How do Different Indicators of Household Food Security Compare? Empirical Evidence from Tigray
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By Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla | September 2013

With recent food crises at both regional and global levels, and renewed commitments from major donor countries to address chronic hunger, food security is more prominent on the policy agenda…

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Response Analysis and Response Choice in Food Security Crises: A Roadmap
By Daniel Maxwell, John Parker | February 2013

The term ‘response analysis’ implies that response choices are made solely on the basis of evidence and analysis. However, many factors contribute to how agencies select a response, and ‘response choice’ does not always involve an evidence-based, analytical process.

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The Use of Evidence in Humanitarian Decision Making ACAPS Operational Learning Paper
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This paper reports the results of a study undertaken during 2012 by Tufts University for the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), as part of the latter’s “Operational Learning” strand of work….

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Resilience and Livelihoods Change in Tigray, Ethiopia
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Resilience is the ability of an individual, a household, a community or an institution to withstand a shock or setback of some type and recover, or “bounce back,” after a…

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Response Analysis: What Drives Program Choice?
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By Daniel Maxwell, Heather Stobaugh | August 2012

This research considers “response analysis”: the analytical process by which the objectives and modality of program response options in an emergency are determined. The research question was whether improved analysis drives program response choices in humanitarian food security interventions?

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Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in Northern Uganda and Karamoja
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This paper synthesizes current evidence on how people are recovering their livelihoods and accessing basic services and social protection interventions in the conflict-affected regions of Uganda’s Greater North.

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Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in South Sudan
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This paper summarizes the existing literature on livelihoods, basic services and social protection in South Sudan; presents a brief analysis of this literature, and lays out potential research questions for the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC).

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Addressing Integrated Coordination in Food Security Crises A Brief Assessment of the Role, Mandate, and Challenges of the Global Food Security Cluster
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By Daniel Maxwell, John Parker | October 2011

In May 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) formally launched the global Food Security Cluster (FSC) as the UN’s global mechanism for coordinating food…

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Final Report: Africa Community Resilience Project Tsaeda Amba Woreda, Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia Research Program on Livelihoods Change over Time
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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs encompass many different kinds of activities, but share the fundamental objective of enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, reduce and manage risk, whether…

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Institutional Assessment Report: Africa Community Resilience Project Tsaeda Amba Woreda, Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia Research Program on Livelihoods Change over Time
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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs encompass many different kinds of activities, but share the fundamental objective of enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, reduce and manage risk, whether…

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Baseline Report: Africa Community Resilience Project Tsaeda Amba Woreda, Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia - Research Program on Livelihoods Change over Time
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Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programs encompass many different kinds of activities, but share the fundamental objective of enhancing the capacity of vulnerable communities to identify, reduce and manage risk, whether…

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Targeting in Complex Emergencies Darfur Case Study
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By Helen Young, Daniel Maxwell | April 2009

Can community-based approaches to the targeting of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies improve participation and reduce targeting error? Although the literature suggests that community-based targeting works best in slow-onset emergencies…

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Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance
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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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Targeting in Complex Emergencies Somalia Country Case Study
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Can community-based approaches to the targeting of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies improve participation and reduce targeting error? Although the literature suggests that community-based targeting works best in slow-onset emergencies…

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Targeting in Complex Emergencies South Sudan Country Case Study
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By Daniel Maxwell, John Burns | May 2008

The population of Southern Sudan was caught in a civil war from 1983 to 2005. During the war, several major famines led to a massive food aid intervention by the…

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Review of WFP Food Assistance Programming Practices in Southern Sudan
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The World Food Programme has been providing humanitarian food assistance to vulnerable communities and groups in Southern Sudan for over twenty years, but circumstances have changed following the signing of…

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Research

Planning From the Future

The Planning From the Future project aims to influence the direction of ‘non-traditional’ and traditional humanitarian actors to help them deal with a rapidly changing and potentially increasingly vulnerable world.

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Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium Generating stronger evidence on conflict situations

The Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium aims to generate a stronger evidence base on how people in conflict-affected situations make a living, access basic services like health care, education and water, and perceive and engage with governance at local and national levels.

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Promoting Agriculture, Health, and Alternative Livelihoods (PAHAL) in Nepal

This USAID-funded five-year project (2014-2019) aims to improve food security, resilience, and livelihoods for poor and marginalized communities in select areas of rural Nepal.

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The Humanitarian Evidence Program

The Humanitarian Evidence Program produces a series of evidence syntheses to distill humanitarian evidence and communicate it to key stakeholders in order to enable better decision-making and improve humanitarian policy and practice.

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Gender, Sex, and Age in Humanitarian Response

This page brings together multiple projects related to gender, sex, and age in humanitarian response.

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Livelihoods Change over Time Responses of Communities and Agencies to Chronic Crisis
By Daniel Maxwell | September 2013

The overarching objective of the proposed research is to enhance the understanding of how livelihoods change in response to stress and crisis, and to improve humanitarian practice in responding to disaster and improving livelihoods.

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Livelihood Programming for Disaster Risk Reduction Kenya, Nepal, and Haiti

This FIC study is designed to improve our knowledge of livelihoods in the context of a disaster (before, after, and during), evaluate the impact of specific interventions intended to reduce risks, help articulate livelihoods approaches to DRR programming, and aid policy makers, donors and agencies in designing and implementing better and more effective DRR programming.

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News Items

Feinstein participation at WHS highlighted by Friedman School
June 21, 2016

On June 20, 2016, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy featured the following article: The world is witnessing the highest level of human suffering resulting from conflict and…

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Dan Maxwell interviewed by Nutrition Magazine
June 9, 2016

In an interview with the Friedman School of Nutrition and Science Policy’s Nutrition Magazine, Dan Maxwell explains why the 2011 famine in Somalia did not have to happen. Read the…

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Dan Maxwell addresses the announcements plenary at WHS
May 29, 2016

On May 24, 2015 Dan Maxwell addressed the announcements plenary at the World Humanitarian Summit. The plenary was a forum that ran parallel to the main plenary at the summit…

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Feinstein faculty sign humanitarian scholars commitment at WHS
May 25, 2016

Dan Maxwell, Helen Young, and Antonio Donini joined the more than 60 scholars present at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and signed the Statement of Commitments from Humanitarian Scholars at…

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Feinstein faculty participate in the World Humanitarian Summit
May 10, 2016

The first ever World Humanitarian Summit took place in Istanbul, Turkey on May 23-24, 2016. The summit aimed to set a forward-looking agenda for humanitarian action that addresses future humanitarian…

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Dan Maxwell discusses his recent book about the Somalia Famine
April 27, 2016

Dan Maxwell recently discussed his book, Somalia Famine: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures 2011-2012, on several occasions.  In his remarks at Tufts, he noted that “while Somalia may be considered old…

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Dan Maxwell discusses upcoming World Humanitarian Summit
April 8, 2016

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will be held in Istanbul May 22 – 24, 2016.  Hailed as a “once in a generation” opportunity, the WHS must come to grips with…

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Feinstein Research featured at the World Conference on Humanitarian Studies
March 8, 2016

Two Feinstein/Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) research projects were presented at the World Conference on Humanitarian Studies: Teddy Atim helped organize the “Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Humanitarian Crises” panel….

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Feinstein International Center faculty course offerings – Spring 2016
January 20, 2016

The spring semester has begun at The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and Feinstein International Center Faculty…

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Dan Maxwell, Rachel Gordon and SLRC colleagues release new Working Paper on South Sudan
May 28, 2015

Dr. Dan Maxwell, Rachel Gordon and their colleagues on the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) project have just released a new working paper on questions and challenges raised by a…

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Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance students present capstone projects
May 7, 2015

On May 7, 2015, two students of the Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) program presented their capstone projects. Lulwa al-Khilani presented a thesis titled “Displaced and Stateless: Palestinian…

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