Do No Harm: Challenges in Organizing Psychosocial Support to Displaced People in Emergency Settings
Psychosocial assistance in emergencies plays an important role in alleviating suffering and promoting well-being, but it is often a source of unintended harm. A prerequisite for ethically appropriate support is awareness of how psy- chosocial programs may cause harm. This paper under- scores the importance of attending to issues of coordination, dependency, politicization of aid, assess- ment, short-term assistance, imposition of outsider ap- proaches, protection, and impact evaluation. With regard to each of these issues, it suggests practical steps that may be taken to reduce harm and maximize the humanitarian value of psychosocial assistance.