Useful Outsiders


Ukraine: mobilising humanitarian support in conflict zones

Ep. 5

This month we have a really interesting discussion about some of the challenges around humanitarian response and support to war-affected communities, with a focus on the current conflict in Ukraine.

CID's Humanitarian and Standards Manager, Aaron Davy, speaks with Virginia Pycroft from ADRA, and Mike Seawright from ReliefAid.

Among other things, they talk about working with local teams and volunteers whose lives are directly impacted, the safety and wellbeing of aid staff, interaction with the military and maintaining impartiality, and funding and fundraising mechanisms.


  • Virginia Pycroft is a New Zealander who has worked for ADRA for ten years in both humanitarian and development sectors in NZ and the Pacific. She is and currently serving in ADRA Timor-Leste. As a member of ADRA’s Emergency Response Team she has been deployed in the Asia Pacific region supporting local ADRA teams as they respond to natural and man-made disasters over the last ten years. The latest, outside the region, supporting the ADRA Ukraine team respond to the conflict.  
  • Mike Seawright has been delivering humanitarian assistance to families living in the world’s conflict zones. He has provided medical aid in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, South Sudan and Pakistan, economic development and energy projects in Afghanistan and most recently emergency humanitarian aid, leading multiple interventions in Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine. Frustrated that not enough was being done to help families affected by war and conflict Mike founded ReliefAid. With a simple vision of helping families who had no one else to turn too, ReliefAid has delivered life-saving aid to over 250,000 people in war torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and they are not stopping there.


More Episodes


Supporting people forced to flee their homelands

Ep. 4
This month we look at how NZ can better support people who are forced to flee their homelands. Speakers discuss NZs refugee and asylum seeker policy, and the lived experience of people navigating the system from application through to resettlement and support services. They look at NZ’s commitments, quotas, and they raise some questions around equality.Speakers:Rachel O’ConnorRachel O’Connor is the Lead Advisor to the Race Relations Commissioner, at the NZ Human Rights Commission. She previously worked for the NZ Red Cross, managing their national migration programmes including the refugee quota community settlement programme.Bernard Sama came to New Zealand from the Southern Cameroons seeking protection from New Zealand as an asylum seeker and was formally recognised as a refugee in 2008. Following the positive outcome of his application, he had several years of what he now describes as difficulties coping in New Zealand as a refugee, and separation for a decade from his family. He successfully reunited with his immediate family from the Cameroons in 2019 and lives with them in Auckland. Bernard chairs the Asylum Seekers Support Trust and is a cultural advisor for Refugees As Survivors New Zealand. He is also in the final year of a PhD study at the University of Auckland. His research, supervised by Professor Jay Marlowe and Dr Anna Hood, explores how the therapeutic jurisprudence perspective could inform and improve the New Zealand refugee status determination procedure.Jay Marlowe is a professor of social work and co-director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies at the University of Auckland.His research focuses on refugee studies and settlement futures as it relates to migration policy, role of technologies and disaster risk reduction.In 2019 he became a Rutherford Discovery Fellow to pursue a 5 year research programme related to refugee settlement trajectories.As a social worker and former visiting fellow with the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University, he has worked with refugee communities as a practitioner and researcher publishing more than 80 peer reviewed papers.Safe Start, Fair Future report