Section 1: ActionAid’s approach to emergencies

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Key Points

  • Emergencies are a strategic priority for ActionAid, and we are committed to responding to the emergencies that affect the communities we work with.

  • We believe that disaster-affected people have the right to assistance – when a disaster strikes, our aim is to save lives and protect people’s rights.

  • In emergencies, it is people living in poverty and exclusion, particularly women, who are worst affected. We see disasters as part of a cycle of poverty, and we seek to use every opportunity brought about by disasters to shift power relationships in favour of the poorest and most excluded – especially women.

  • Our emergencies work is guided by the eight ActionAid human rights based approach principles – this section explains how each of these principles applies in an emergency context.

  • In our emergency work, ActionAid promotes seven alternatives – things that we believe represent a different way of working from the traditional humanitarian model, and which place disaster-affected communities at the centre of the debate. These alternatives should be integrated into all our resilience, preparedness and response programmes:

    • promoting women’s leadership

    • accountability to disaster-affected communities

    • the importance of local partnerships

    • combining scientific information with community experience and traditional knowledge

    • advocating for adequate funding and aid effectiveness

    • linking emergency response to resilience building and longer term change process

    • creating a loss and damage framework to help people claim their rights.