Research project

Medical humanitarianism - NGO - Partnerships

This article is a study relying upon forty nine long and open ended interviews of people mainly working for ALIMA and BEFEN, upon the analysis of many documents from the two organisations’ archives, as well as upon several periods of observations in their offices in Montreuil, Dakar and Niamey.

The article tells the story of the collaboration between the two organisations since 2009 and describes the evolution of their relationships. The study shows that what started as a willingness to ‘practice a different kind of humanitarian action’ through North South partnerships progressively transformed into a symbiotic collaboration, which benefited both organisations while creating various tensions. These tensions were at the origin of several exercises of organizational reflexivity. Finally the study shows that this collaboration continuously renegotiated produced behaviours and strategies that allowed both to (tentatively) escape from the modality of paternalistic partnerships between Northern and African NGOs.