Every day brings more evidence of the death and devastation wrought by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photos of corpses in the street, bombed-out buildings and survivors clutching whatever they can salvage from their old lives are impossible to miss – or forget. It’s hard to know when the war will end, but it’s clear that recovery will take years for decimated cities such as Severodonetsk and Bucha.

Ideally, humanitarian efforts will accomplish more in Ukraine than they have in Syria, where Russia has backed state-sponsored violence that began in 2011. Having studied aid efforts there for years, Tufts researchers Kimberly Howe and Elizabeth Stites sum up what the world should learn from Syrian aid. One takeaway: Humanitarian efforts usually work best when local organizations are allowed to take the lead, without being controlled by outsiders.

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Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy + Nonprofits Editor

Millions of Syrians remain displaced from the conflict that began in 2011. Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

Helping Ukrainians means listening to their needs – 3 lessons for aid groups from Syria’s war

Kimberly Howe, Tufts University; Elizabeth Stites, Tufts University

Russia has used similar tactics in both countries, including bombings that flatten homes, schools, hospitals and key infrastructure. The humanitarian needs are vast.

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