40 Episodes

By: Trumanitarian

If you are passionate about all things humanitarian and you are looking for new answers, you will enjoy listening to Trumanitarian's smart, honest conversations

48. Dancer on the Hill
Last Friday at 7:00 AM

The recent decisions on changes to cash coordination is ground breaking and it not not come out of nowhere.

In this week episode Paula Gil Baizan explores how change happens together with Isabelle Pelly, Juliet Lang and Sophie Tholstrup. All of the guests played a key role in brining about the change in cash coordination and together they explore the challenges associated with making change happen in highly change-resistant systems,, why change is worth fighting for in spite of the obstacles,, and how best to bring about change.

47. Evaluation Kung Fu

Evaluations are an essential part of human sharing accountability. And working with a good evaluator is a fantastic opportunity for learning and improving. However, often evaluations turned into painful confrontational accountability exercises, that leaves nobody satisfied and changes nothing. This week's guest on communitarian is Michael Patton who together with Lars Peter Nissen discusses what evaluations can do for the humanitarian sector, what they are and what they are not (an audit) and how to build trust with your clients while at the same time satisfying the need for accountability.

46. Blue Lamborghini

Procurement and logistics remain the backbone of humanitarian operations. But this crucial aspect of humanitarian action doesn't always get the attention it deserves. We spend a lot of time in the humanitarian sector speaking about issues like localization, decolonizing, aid, how to engage with the diaspora, how to change the coordination system, protection. All of these are really important and valuable discussions. But 65% of the humanitarian budget, namely on procurement and the implications of how procurement is done.

This weeks guest is Claire Barnhoorn who is the founder of Solvoz a new project that is focused on...

45. I Wish You Failure

Serious games and simulations can help us train and prepare for difficult and some times dangerous situations. Crisis are different from everyday life. Different rules apply, and you have to think and walk and talk differently. When you're in a teaching or training situation and you sit comfortably in your chair behind your desk. It's very easy to agree on policies and procedures, the way we behave when we're in the middle of a stressful situation is very different. Games can help us bridge the gap between how we think we work, how we actually work, and it can...

44. Rogue

Humanitarian Action in Ukraine today is a mix between Government-led operations, international humanitarian action and a myriad of grassroots initiative providing essential support to vulnerable populations. But how do these very different types of aid come together? Can "Big Aid" connect with "Little Aid" and can the grassroots initiatives be scaled to become "Little Big Aid?"

Lewis Sida has worked in the humanitarian sector for decades. In Ukraine he has gone rogue, become a "nutter" and is supporting a guy called Vlad who has some medical supplies and a couple of trucks.

Lewis and Lars...

43. The Cost of Silence

Philanthropy is an important source of funding for humanitarian action, but how is it different from the money that comes from governments? Is it a drop in the bucket or a different kind of money? And have we been too silent as a humanitarian community when it comes to challenging and shaping our donors, and what is the cost of our silence?

These and many other questions is the topic of this weeks conversation with Patricia (Patty) McIlreavy, the President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (

42. IPP Who?

The International Planned Parenthood Federation may be the largest NGO you have never heard about. IPPF brings together more than 150 different organisations in a network promoting better access to sexual reproductive health services both within the development and humanitarian sphere.

This weeks guest is Robyn Drysdale, the deputy director of IPPF in charge of humanitarian programs. It is a conversation about the challenges IPPF and its members meet in humanitarian settings, what has been achieved over the past decades and what the challenges are for the future.

You can read more about IPPFs work on...

41. The Committed Capitalist

Homeboy Industries is the largest gang rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. It works with formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated people, enabling them to redirect their lives.

This weeks guest on Trumanitarian is Thomas Vozzo, who has written a book about his experience as the CEO of Homeboys industries

In this conversation with Lars Peter Nissen and Thomas discuss leadership and management, how to balance profit and purpose, the role of spirituality in the workplace and how joy and focus on the individual should drive your work as a leader.

40. Be well, serve well

Mental health and humanitarians is an issue which has been surrounded by stigma. The fear of being seen as weak or not suited for humanitarian work has made many humanitarians reluctant to seek help. Some argue that speaking of our own mental health will detract attention from the people we serve. The issue has been receiving increasing attention in recent years, but it has been and continues to be difficult issue to get on the agenda.

Imogen Wall is a humanitarian and an advocate for mental health. She is also the founder of the facebook group “50 shades of...

39. Double Agents

Disasters are not natural, far from it! The impact of a crisis is shaped by a wide range of societal factors and disasters replicate and amplify the inequalities that exist in society so that it is the marginalized communities tare hit the hardest. The Covid pandemic has once again taught us that lesson. Yet, we continue to refer to sudden onset crisis as “natural disasters” and that is not just a question of semantics, it is an indication of how we tell the wrong story of crisis and very often therefore also seek the wrong solutions.

This week...

38. Happy Clapping

Are Humanitarian Organizations doing an amazing job with scare resources under impossible circumstances, or has international humanitarian assistance turned into a colonial, un-accountable, technocracy – disaster capitalism at its worst? And should we be more careful when criticizing this sector not to undermine morale and give the opponents of aid ammunition? This and many other questions is what Gareth Price-Jones, the Executive Secretary of SCHR and Marie-Rose Romain Murphy, the co-founder and Board President of Haitian Community Foundation discuss with Lars Peter Nissen in this episode.

Best Of: Six Years and a Flood

The travel industry, just like the humanitarian industry, provides everything a person on the move needs. It is also one of the largest industries in the world with a turnover many thousand times that of the humanitarian industry. Gopinath Parayil wants to dual-purpose the assets of the travel industry for humanitarian response during climate-related disasters, thereby contributing towards creating more resilient communities.

Best of: The Great Leap Sideways

This episode was first published in February 2021. It is with Fergus Thomas from the FCDO and deals with two important and very different issues: humanitarian reform and mental health. Together with Lars Peter Nissen, Fergus explores the development of the Humanitarian to Humanitarian (H2H) network and its potential as a change agent in the humanitarian sector.

In the second half of the conversation Fergus talks about what it is like to live with bipolar disorder and how that fits with a hectic life as a humanitarian.

Best of: Arms Race for Data

AI is transforming the world and will have profound implications for humanitarian action. But how? Will it lend itself to authoritarian regimes controlling their populations and will humanitarian organisations be complicit in this and create additional vulnerabilities for the populations we serve? Will be help us create a better user experience for "consumers" of humanitarian aid and will it help us ensure that we get spare parts for the generator just in time?

Listen in as Sarah Spencer from and Lars Peter Nissen discuss these and many more questions.

The episode was originally...

37. A Brutal Year

Paula Gil Baizan, Meg Sattler and Lars Peter Nissen review 2021 and look forward towards 2022 in the humanitarian world.

36. Dull Disasters

Timely, flexible funding is a bottleneck is most if not all humanitarian operations. Daniel Clarke has a solution to that problem. He is the co-author of the book Dull Disasters, and the director of the Center for Disaster Protection. In this conversation with Lars Peter Nissen he discusses how risk based financing and smarter financial instruments such as parametric insurance can enable us to fundamentally change the way in which crises are managed.

You can learn more about the Center for Disaster Protection their website and find Dull Disasters by Daniel Clarke and Stefan Dercon here.

35. The Principled Dinosaur

Philippe Besson worked with the Swiss Development Cooperation for more than 30 years before he earlier this year retired from the position as head of the multilateral humanitarian division. In this conversation he provides a unique perspective on humanitarian action and how to be a "principled dinosaur" and a civil servant at the same time.

34. A Lonely Place

The Global Executive Leadership Initiative (GELI) is a new flagship initiative from the UN to promote leadership throughout the development and humanitarian sector. GELI is led by Assistant Secretary General Panos Moumtzis who in this weeks episode together with Lars Peter Nissen discusses the challenges of leadership, how being a leader at times can be a very lonely, and how GELI seeks to strengthen leadership.

You can read more about GELI on their website and their twitter handle is @the_geli.

33. un-Musked

The weirdest humanitarian twitter conversation has just taken place between WFPs Executive Director David Beasley and the world's richest man Elon Musk. WFP is trying to get some money, Musk is not sure that humanitarian know how to solve problems, and David Beasley has offered to meet up in space. 

Hunter Thompson used to say "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" so that is exactly what Meg Sattler, Paula Gil Baizan and Lars Peter Nissen did in this episode.

32. Left Boots and Sextoys

Unsolicited in-kind donations is a major issues in many sudden onset crisis. Whether due to a genuine outpouring of solidarity or to get a tax write-off the volume and nature of stuff that are donated defies any logic. Ice-skates for a flooding in Bangladesh, sextoys donated after a storm in Vanuatu. A container full of old croissants for Kosovo or a 40ft container full of only left boots.

The donations are not just ridiculous they are also an environmental problem and Travis Opocensky has found a solution. He has founded RightBoot, a humanitarian startup that applies the...

31. Field Ready

Field Ready is based on the simple idea that supplies needed in a crisis area should be made as locally as possible. The organisation works with empowering local production capacity across the world, and in this episode Field Ready's co-founder Eric James explains the approach the organisation applies and the impact it has.

You can find the books Eric has written on his website and read more about Field Ready on the organisations website

30. Inclusion Rider

Tina Tinde has worked in international organisations since she was in her mid twenties. Throughout her career she has fought for gender equality, inclusion and safeguarding against sexual exploitation and abuse and Sexual Harassment her entire career. In this conversation with Lars Peter Nissen she provides her perspective on how we can address these issues and the progress we have made over the past decades.

29. A Humanitarian Irritant

Dominic Naish has worked for various humanitarian agencies as a contextual analysts. The contexts were different, the organisations were different, but he always had the feeling of being more of an irritant than a help to the people he worked for. In the end he decided to leave the humanitarian sector. He has described his experience in a blogpost “Not a priority” for the Humanitarian Practice Network. 

You can find the blogpost here:

You can read more aobut Dominic on his linkedin profile:

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28. Trumanitopia

This weeks episode is a thought experiment. What would we do if we had to begin building the humanitarian sector from scratch? One of my ongoing frustrations have been that many of the reform attempt we have had in the sector are defined more by what is already there than by the problems we are trying to solve – so I thought it would be interesting to build from scratch.

Arbie Bagois is the founder of Aid Re-imagined and is currently doing his PhD at London School of Economics. Arbie is a fresh and radical thinking and exactly th...

27. Hearts on Venezuela

Hearts on Venezuela is a civil society organisation trying to bring more attention to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. This episode features Daniel Cooper Bermudez, the Director of Hearts of Venezuela talks about the crisis facing his country, how civil society learned to become humanitarian and how to use TikTok. Host: Lars Peter Nissen.

You can read more about Hearts on Venezuela on their website:

and about their Director here:údez/

26. A Grander Bargain

Meg Sattler sits down with Beth Eagleston and Kate Sutton the co-founders of the Humanitarian Advisory Group (HAG), a Melbourne based social enterprise that seeks to use research to challenge the status quo of humanitarian aid.

You can read more about HAGs work on their website:

25. Gotta feed the Monkey

Paul Knox Clarke and Lars Peter Nissen discuss the implications of climate change for humanitarian action and the new initiative PREPARE, that Paul has launched on this issue.

You can read more about Paul on his LinkedIn profile

You will find information on PREPARE here:

The work Paul did for ALNAP on change is available here:

Duncan Greens book on Change is available here:

24. Clash Coordination

Distribution of cash instead of commodities is transforming humanitarian action. Cash distribution has grown quickly in past years and today represents roughly 20% of assistance is given.

Cash gives crisis affected populations choices and agency but it also places the sector based humanitarian architecture under stress. There is clearly a need to review the current coordination arrangements for cash assistance, but this has profound implications for the most powerful agencies in the sector.

To get things moving 95 organisations have sent a letter to the outgoing and the incoming Emergency Relief Coordinator to move the issue of...

23. Prisoners of Hope

The ecumenical movement has played a key role in shaping in the fight for a more just world. Christian Balslev-Olesen and Karsten Nissen have been at the forefront of the movement since the late 1960s. But what drove two young theology students to become activists? Where is the ecumenical movement today? What would they do today if they were just starting out?

Listen as two (self-declared) boomers give a master class in how to stay committed for the long haul!

22. The Collaborative Contrarian

The traditional humanitarian architecture is centred around OCHA, the IASC and the clusters. But what is the complementarity between this setup and regional bodies with similar functions such as for example the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA centre).

Adelina Kamal is the Executive Director of the AHA Centre. Together with Lars Peter Nissen she explores the ins and outs of humanitarian architecture, and we get the answer to what would be different if Adelina was working in the UN!

21. An ageing Industry

The idea of developing a humanitarian version of the tech platforms we have seen disrupt one industry after another is appealing. But is it realistic and possible to create the humanitarian Airbnb and can we deliver principled outcomes through an app? Is it possible to cut out the humanitarian middle man.

These are some of the questions Natasha Fridus and Amanda Levinson explore together with Lars Peter Nissen in this episode.

Check to learn more and enjoy the conversation.

20. The Blind Spot

Translators Without Border work with enhancing the humanitarian sectors capacity to operate in the languages spoken by crisis affected populations.

In this episode Ellie Kemp (twitter handle @EllKemp) from and Lars Peter Nissen explore the way in which the power of language fundamentally shapes humanitarian action.

You can learn more about TWBs work on their website

19. William who?

The search for a new Emergency Relief Coordinator is on! There is a strong expectation that the UK again will get to fill the post, but not if William Chemaly, the Global Protection Cluster Coordinator has a say. He has decided to go for the post in spite of. being a somewhat different candidate. Learn more about him, why he is applying and whether he thinks he has a chance.

18. Not just an industry

For more than a decade Yves Daccord was the face of ICRC. As Director General he held one of the most influencial positions in the humanitarian sector. Then he left and started doing something with pop-ups and the social contract at Harvard. In this conversation we touch on issues from art, security, the social contract and knowing when it is time to leave.

17. Arms race for data

AI is transforming the world and will have profound implications for humanitarian action. But how? Will it lend itself to authoritarian regimes controlling their populations and will humanitarian organisations be complicit in this and create additional vulnerabilities for the populations we serve? Will be help us create a better user experience for "consumers" of humanitarian aid and will it help us ensure that we get spare parts for the generator just in time?

Listen in as Sarah Spencer from and Lars Peter Nissen discuss these and many more questions.

16. Mr Fleet

Fleet Management may seem like a marginal, technical issue for humanitarians, But not only is fleet a key enabler for operations, the way we manage fleet tells us a lot about the issues facing the humanitarian industry.

Rob McConnell has worked with most of the major humanitarian players advising them on how to manage their fleet of vehicles. In this conversation Rob and Lars Peter explore the way humanitarians manage fleet and also try to figure out how and why a huge number of new, yet 40 years old trucks, made it from Norway to Southern Africa in 2003...

15. Humanitarian Sci Fi

How do we create change within in the humantiarian ecosystem? Paula Gil Baizan works with humanitarian innovation and she has got a few interesting ideas. in this wide-ranging conversation with Meg Sattler.

14. The Great Leap Sideways

There is no simple answer to the question of how to achieve sustainable systemic change of the current humanitarian system. In this episode of Trumanitarian Fergus Thomas from FCDO and Lars Peter Nissen explore the potential of the H2H network ( as a change agent. They also talk about being bipolar, dyslexic and a humanitarian.

13. 42 degrees

Lana Wolf from joins Lars Peter Nissen to discuss how to create a more inclusive humanitarian sector for LGTBQI+ people affected by crisis.