Home Analysing problem-solving in the ICRC’s Water and Habitat Department

In the paper, Ahmad Kazouini brings together over ten years’ experience working for the ICRC with his scholarly interest in humanitarian leadership. The result is a deep and illuminating qualitative enquiry into decision making in the Water and Habitat department of the ICRC.

Kazouini identifies challenges, including lack of clear systems and the short-term nature of yearly planning cycles. The paper straddles the scientific (engineering) and the ‘heart’ – as it explains in one of its conclusions:

'One participant gave an example of his work that he presented to his senior engineer, who told him: “this proposal is without any heart”. It took him time to understand what that means. This is exactly the reflection that is needed in WatHab: “designing with heart”.’

The research advocates for the importance of creating new and more inclusive solutions, while keeping in mind the realities on the ground and the impossibility of satisfying everyone.

Academic contributors