Development Responses in Conflict Zones

“humanitarianism” in conflict zones

Currently, many countries are experiencing international and civil conflicts where many lives have been taken and millions of people have been displaced from their homes, and now live as refugees. The development of countries with ongoing armed conflict has been halted or destroyed by such strife and the people fleeing as refugees are stuck in harsh and uncertain circumstances and futures. This panel will explore development practice through the humanitarian responses to the crisis in the world’s conflict zones including refugee settlements. Should development, security, and diplomacy even be intertwined? It is important to ask how institutions, agencies, and NGOs take action in these zones and how their work impacts the communities they work in, as well as the ongoing conflicts. How do these development organizations intervene and respond to issues like food shortage, education, socio-economic opportunities in these crisis zones? A fundamental aspect of this panel will be discussing how these current responses of development are innovated to provide feasible solutions to issues for refugees in temporary settlements. Should forms of development focus upon empowering the local people to lead their own ‘development,’ or is such self-generated improvement impossible in the midst of volatile and contentious politics which is why institutions keep turning to orthodox solutions of humanitarian responses?



Chris Houston

Chris Houston is the Senior Program Officer for Grand Challenges Canada managing the Humanitarian Grand Challenge program. Prior to joining Grand Challenges Canada, Chris completed his bachelors in Risk Management from Glasgow Caledonian University. He worked as an Associate Vice President for Marsh Risk Consulting before his humanitarian career. Since then has worked for Médecins Sans Frontières in Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, Turkey, Ethiopia and Pakistan as a Logistician, a Project Coordinator and a Deputy Head of Mission. He served on the board of directors of Médecins Sans Frontières Canada from to 2012 to 2018. He has worked for the Canadian Red Cross in Lebanon and Nepal evaluating and overseeing health projects. In early 2017, he managed logistics and operational support for World Health Organisation in Yemen. He co-founded kid-E-care pediatirc urgent care clinic in Toronto and teaches the Complex Humanitarian Emergencies module at University of Toronto’s Global Health Education Initiative.


Christopher Tuckwood

Christopher Tuckwood is the co-founder and executive director of the Sentinel Project , a Canadian NGO dedicated to assisting communities threatened by mass atrocities through direct cooperation with the people in harm’s way and the innovative use of technology. He has focused on leading Una Hakika, which is the Sentinel Project’s mobile phone-based information service which monitors and counters incendiary rumours linked to intercommunal violence in Kenya. Chris also helped to replicate this misinformation management model in Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda with plans to expand to South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Jordan. Alongside geographical expansion, the Sentinel Project's misinformation management work is now looking at the potential role of new technologies which enable larger-scale approaches to this problem. Chris has also worked on the Sarus Humanitarian Aerospace initiative, which looks at social benefit uses of unmanned aerial vehicles, and developing the Hatebase online hate speech monitoring initiative.


Dr. Reina Neufeldt

Dr. Reina Neufeldt is a seasoned scholar-practitioner in reflective peacebuilding. For more than seventeen years, she has worked with non-governmental organizations to design, monitor, evaluate and learn from peacebuilding and conflict transformation programming in settings of deep-rooted conflict. She is currently an Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College and the University of Waterloo. Before becoming a professor, she worked for non-governmental organizations on peacebuilding. Between 2000 and 2007, Dr. Neufeldt worked as a peacebuilding Technical Advisor at Catholic Relief Services, based in Baltimore and Southeast Asia. She co-authored two foundational peacebuilding training resources: “Peacebuilding: A Caritas Training Manual” (2001) and “Reflective Peacebuilding: A Planning, Monitoring and Learning Toolkit” (2007). More recently, Dr. Neufeldt published the book Ethics for Peacebuilders: A Practical Guide (2016; Rowman & Littlefield). She continues to consult with NGOs on peacebuilding monitoring and learning as well as conduct independent research on local peacebuilding. Dr. Neufeldt holds an MA in Social Psychology (York University) and a PhD in International Relations (American University).