Section 7: Programming in Emergencies


Key Points

  • Human rights-based approach – ActionAid believes that poverty is a violation of human rights; poverty underlies and is exacerbated by people’s vulnerability and their inability to cope with shocks and hazards. Disaster-affected people living in poverty have the right to assistance.

  • Accountability is the responsible use of power in the interests of people living in poverty and exclusion and affected by disasters. This is done through various tools and techniques including community-led assessment and change plan and implementation processes, social audit, community reviews, public hearings, economic literacy and budget accountability for government (ELBAG) etc, in accordance with international standards that ActionAid is signatory to.

  • When disasters strike, people need information as much as they need shelter, food, water and safety. By providing the right information, at the right time, from the right source, lives and livelihoods can be saved.

  • Advancing women’s rights is unapologetically taking sides with women living in poverty and exclusion and affected by disasters. Our response must take into account women’s specific needs and right to protection and dignity. We strengthen and facilitate women’s leadership and ensure that they effectively lead the assessment, response, preparedness and resilience building process.

  • Pychosocial work is an essential component of our response that is built on 4 Rs: relive/ re-grieve, recreation, rebuild, refer. We enable community-based volunteers to facilitate and support the process.

  • Livelihood support enables affected communities to maintain and rebuild their ability to support their families and build resilience for future disasters.

  • Secure access to food is a universal human right. Support can be provided through food distribution, cash support, cash transfers, lobbying government. All interventions must link to the restoration of livelihoods and resilience to future disasters.

  • Providing non-food items (NFIs) in emergencies is essential to ensuring the safety, security, health, dignity and wellbeing of people affected by disasters. This will primarily depend on the context, but usually includes clothing, kitchen utensils, hygiene kits etc.

  • Conflict sensitivity is the ability of an organisation to understand the conflict and power dynamics in the context it operates in, and the interaction between intervention and that context. This understanding is applied to minimise negative impacts and maximise positive impacts on conflict throughout the emergency response and resilience building cycle.

  • Policy should start from day one and is a core component of emergency response. It should be led by community demands and should link local, national and international discourse.