Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Nursing

Supervisor

Berman, Helene

2nd Supervisor

Donelle, Lorie

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

The increase in humanitarian emergencies has left aid organizations searching for ways to better serve populations affected by disaster, and women have often been among those excluded. This study utilized a critical narrative methodology to explore the humanitarian aid response to the 2010 earthquake from the perspective of Haitian women, seeking to understand their experiences and stimulate change through raising awareness of their voices in scholarly literature. The findings highlight the barriers and facilitators to humanitarian aid, which include the gaps in addressing the psychological effects of trauma, lack of accountability, the manipulation of aid, the resiliency of women, as well as the historical context of Haiti’s colonial history within which the humanitarian system operates. The implications of these findings support incorporating a social justice and gender lens into nursing education and practice, encouraging nurses to reflect upon and acknowledge our own positions of power and privilege in post-disaster settings.

Summary for Lay Audience

The impact of humanitarian emergencies, in particular natural disasters, continues to increase worldwide, and aid organizations are searching for ways to make their processes more efficient, ethical and accountable to the populations they serve. Historically, women have been sidelined in the aftermath of disasters and humanitarian aid response. The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 has been discussed in the humanitarian community as a prime example of having an abundance of resources and yet being overwhelmed by the challenges of creating a coordinated humanitarian response across stakeholders. The intention of this research is to increase awareness of the voices of women in research and policy to help stimulate change in the aid response. The findings highlight the barriers and facilitators to humanitarian aid, including gaps in addressing the psychological effects of trauma, lack of accountability and manipulation of aid. In addition, the findings highlight the resilience of women in adapting and creating their own solutions to address accessibility of aid, as well as the historical context of Haiti’s colonial history within which the humanitarian system operates. The implications of these findings support incorporating a social justice and gender lens into nursing education and practice, encouraging nurses to reflect upon and acknowledge our own positions of power and privilege in post-disaster settings. Nurses are encouraged to engage in practice and research in ways that support policies that are inclusive of vulnerable groups and to elevate the voices of women and explore power structures within humanitarian aid systems.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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