The business of humanitarian action has become infinitely more complex over the past decade. This chapter will examine the environment within which humanitarians work, will propose a framework for understanding the nature of professionalism and will then test humanitarianism against this model. It comments on the key humanitarian values of humanity, independence, impartiality and neutrality. It also discusses knowledge and skills, accountability and the relationship with the client, systems to challenge values and knowledge, holistic approaches and the academic base of humanitarian workers. It concludes focusing on the most blatant gaps and asks, are they fixable or are they so fundamental as to question the notion of humanitarianism as a profession?
Needs are up, spending has been rising: where is the money going?