Building Aid Workers’ Resilience: Why a Gendered Approach Is Needed


Gritti, Alice. 2015. “Building Aid Workers’ Resilience: Why a Gendered Approach Is Needed.” Gender & Development 23 (3): 449–62.

Author: Alice Gritti


The concept of resilience is increasingly earning attention in development and humanitarian literature. Agencies and organisations are interested to learn about resilient communities, and keen to support the goal of ‘building resilience’ in developing countries. However, there is comparatively little interest in the resilience of aid workers themselves. This article will discuss the need to support aid workers to build resilience, for their own well-being and also for the effectiveness and sustainability of the essential humanitarian and development work they do. It will advocate for the need of embracing a gender-focused approach in the study of aid workers’ resilience, and more generally, in the study and promotion of aid workers’ well-being. The article draws on a qualitative study which found international women aid workers face specific stressors within the organisations they work for, in working relationships with national staff, and in their personal life. Humanitarian and development organisations need to adopt a gender-focused approach to resilience in the provision of psychosocial support for staff working in development, and emergency relief/humanitarian aid.

Keywords: aid workers, gender, psychological stressors, well-being, resilience

Topics: Development, Gender, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations

Year: 2015

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