Humanitarian work is central to Christian Aid’s identity and part of our core business. We were founded in response to the refugee crisis in Europe after the Second World War, and now, 70 years later, we are responding to a similar refugee crisis.
Throughout our history, we have intervened in some of the worst disasters our world has faced – the Ethiopian famine, the South Asian tsunami, the Ebola outbreak – as well as in forgotten or protracted crises such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We commit almost a third of our total income to our humanitarian work, and every year Christian Aid reaches millions of disaster-affected people.
Our approach is founded on a vision that empowers local partners and disaster-affected communities to decide what is needed and how best it can be delivered.
Through our humanitarian work, we aim to:
- Significantly reduce the loss of lives and assets of vulnerable people.
- Enable people to manage risks and face disasters with dignity and access humanitarian aid safely.
- We champion an approach that integrates preparedness, response, disaster risk reduction, advocacy and development in order to deliver programmes that respond to the multiple and complex risks faced by the communities we aim to assist.
Our partnership model is central to our response. We strengthen the capacity of local organisations and civil society to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and reduce risks.
They are there before a disaster strikes, they know their communities and they will be there long after the international community has departed.
Christian Aid collaborates in all areas of its humanitarian work with a wide range of partners and coalitions, in order to ensure our work is comprehensive and well coordinated, and that the voice of disaster-affected people is always heard.
World Humanitarian Summit 2016
The May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit was a generational opportunity to reform the service the humanitarian system provides to people affected by crisis.
We demanded a shift in the balance of power in the humanitarian system toward the Global South, putting affected populations in the driving seat in terms of the design and implementation of humanitarian interventions, and greater investment in preparedness and resilience before crisis strikes.
Progress so far
The Summit made encouraging progress on these themes. The UN Secretary General called for a shift in the way humanitarian aid is delivered, including by reinforcing rather than replacing local efforts, and by investing in disaster preparedness.
Other commitments included:
- pledges to channel 25% of funding directly to national organisations by 2020 – up from the current 0.3%
- ensuring people receiving aid help to make decisions that affect their lives
- to significantly increase resources for prevention, mitigation, preparedness and early action.
We will now be pressing donors and agencies to deliver on their commitments.
Christian Aid’s strong track record has enabled us to continue the trend of increased breadth and depth in our humanitarian programming over recent years.
In 2015/16 we responded to the earthquake in Nepal while continuing our work in Syria, Iraq and Gaza with war-affected communities. We also continued to help people recover from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the outbreak of Ebola in Sierra Leone and supported lower profile emergencies in Malawi, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Pakistan.
- In 2015/16 we delivered 33 emergency responses in 25 countries, reaching an estimated 3 million people affected by disasters.
- We spent £28.9m in 2015/16 on our humanitarian work, up £2.8m from the previous year.
- Working with local partners and suppliers, we launched a rapid response to the Nepal earthquake, carrying out assessements within the first day and a half, a mobile health post was set up in two days, and we started providing food and medical support on the third day in Gorkha (the epicentre).
- As an active member of the Start Network we responded to 10 smaller, under-funded emergencies, thanks to the pioneering Start Fund.
- We have driven forward innovative practice in disaster risk reduction and resilience work, most notably in conflict settings.
- Through our humanitarian advocacy work, we have been recognised as a leading voice in promoting the role of local and national NGOs in humanitarian action.
In depth information is available in our Annual Report 2015/16 (PDF)