Mathias presents results of a qualitative study of how staff at nonprofit social service organizations are navigating the gradual winding down of pandemic-related aid. He shows that staff sought to leverage pandemic aid to make durable improvements in their services and, thereby, to challenge chronic inequality in the US. However, their ability to bring about this "phoenix effect," was limited by policies and resources flows that were largely beyond their control.
Doering-White presents findings from a qualitative study of how aid workers at a nongovernmental migrant shelter in Mexico anticipated the return of international volunteers as air travel restrictions began to lift and vaccines became widespread. He argues that aid workers reconceptualized the anticipated return of international volunteers in terms of "mobility privilege" where volunteers, in addition to migrants, must demonstrate deservingness. Ultimately, aid workers described this shift as part of a broader effort to reconceptualize humanitarian ethics from a politics of "aid" to one of "collaboration."
Gonzalez-Benson presents findings from a qualitative study of refugee-led community organizations (RCOs) partnered with mainstream organizations during the pandemic to diminish language, culture, and geographic proximity barriers. She argues that while these new partnerships brought legitimacy to RCOs, they were also characterized by a lack of shared decision making, appropriation or cooptation of RCOs' modalities and expertise, and limited technical assistance or opportunities for RCOs' organizational development, dynamics that were present prior to the pandemic.
Together, these papers address challenges in managing public health and social services at multiple scales and make recommendations for effectively serving vulnerable populations. Staller will offer synthetic comments and starting points for discussion with the audience.