The Humanitarian Ecosystem: Examining the Role of Migrant Assistance in Quito, Ecuador

By Dani Douglas, under the supervision of Kim Wilson

A team of researchers from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy spent nine days conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Quito, Ecuador as a part of the Financial Integration in Displacement (FIND) Project. Through conversations with 25 migrants, government officials, and humanitarian professionals we found that five main actors provide the bulk of humanitarian assistance to migrants in Quito; the Hebrew International Aid Society (HIAS), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the UNHCR, the Ecuadorian Red Cross, and Quito community members. Each offers a unique form of support to meet the particular needs of migrants of various legal statuses and at different points in their migration journeys. And each simultaneously relies on the others for referrals and outreach to the Quito community. This report shows that interconnectivity between actors makes up the “humanitarian ecosystem” of Quito and that the model of collaboration between international and local actors is essential for migrant-hosting cities.

For questions, please reach out to Professor Kimberley Wilson at

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