Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Hilary Appel


To investigate the negative externalities of humanitarian aid, this thesis examines the 1983 Ethiopian famine and the subsequent humanitarian response. This famine is an example of a man-made disaster, which garnered massive international attention. The Western media was especially influential by increasing awareness of the situation and encouraging people to donate to aid organizations. However, the way aid was delivered to the region in response to the crisis highlights underlying problems of humanitarian aid, which are explored through existing literature on aid and development. Because the Ethiopian government was in the midst of a civil war, it severely restricted access to famine-stricken populations and refused to cooperate in a cross-border relief operation. Regardless, aid agencies complied with government demands and channeled foreign aid almost exclusively through official channels. As a result, aid was misused by the government to further its war efforts, which inevitably prolonged conflict.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.