Grappling with change – another sector talks about their environment

J., an anonymous blogger at AidSpeak, has a post talking through the tensions of military people taking on humanitarian work, which puts them into the place where civilian aid workers have been for a long time – Humanitarian Space (the final frontier).

Having uniformed, armed soldiers doing the same thing that aid workers do blurs the distinction between those whose primary job is building things up (aid workers) and those whose primary job is blowing things up (soldiers).

That creates confusion for everyone involved especially those on the receiving end of humanitarian aid who watched things get blown up.

J.’s post is dealing with the realization that various militaries probably won’t be dropping their humanitarian aid work anytime soon. That means it will be important for the aid community to figure out how to work with and deal with the military community.

J. suggests three areas the aid community needs to work through:

  • “Humanitarianism” is increasingly the mandate of military organizations.
  • We need to understand The Military, but we don’t.
  • The Aid Industry currently lacks the tools for engaging with the current CIVMIL reality.

I mention this post not because I have anything to contribute to their conversation. I am not a part of the aid community, merely a respectful observer from a distance.

I bring it up as an example of how one person in another community is trying to deal with the changing circumstances of his/her environment. We can all learn from their conversation.

In my community, which is CPAs working in the nonprofit accounting and audit area, we need to have conversations similar to what J. has started.

Your community needs to start those conversations.

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