Section 2: How ActionAid responds to emergencies


ActionAid’s commitment to emergency response

ActionAid is mandated to respond to emergencies that happen in countries where ActionAid has an operational presence, if the communities that ActionAid works with are affected. This is set out in ActionAid’s Policy on the security of communities in emergencies which states:

Both in its own strategy and through external linkages and commitments, ActionAid has committed itself to playing a significant role in emergency response work. ActionAid emphasises its solidarity with people living in poverty and exclusion and, in so far as possible, it strives to do all it reasonably can to ensure that the communities it works with are secure from the threats posed by emergencies.

- ActionAid’s Policy on the security of communities in emergencies

The policy requires that:

  • All members/country programmes respond to all emergencies that affect the lives and livelihoods of the communities that we work with.

  • If members/country programmes do not have adequate capacity or resources to develop preparedness plans or to respond effectively, they proactively request and are open to receiving support from IHART, including through the deployment of EFAST members.

  • If members/country programmes are unwilling to respond to orange or red alert emergencies, the Country Director provides written justification for non-response, and this is approved in writing by national boards (where they exist) and the CEO of ActionAid International.

In summary, all members/country programmes are obliged to respond, and emergency response must take priority over other programmes.

In exceptional circumstances, ActionAid may respond to emergencies in countries where the organisation does not have existing programmes. The CEO is responsible for taking this decision, which would depend on the scale of humanitarian need, ActionAid’s capacity to respond, institutional risks and opportunities of responding/not responding etc. Further details are set out in the Policy on the security of communities in emergencies in Annex 1.