Local humanitarian action during Covid-19: findings from a diary study

Connecting Business initiative Secretariat • 21 July 2021

‘Local’ humanitarian organisations based in areas of crisis are the first to respond to disasters, conflicts and displacement. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these actors stepped up again, delivering medical supplies, food and other relief for those directly affected by the virus and its many secondary economic and social impacts. While Covid-19 spread, local and national actors also responded quickly to crises as diverse as typhoons in the Philippines, Ethiopian refugees fleeing conflict, and fires in the Rohingya refugee camps of Bangladesh. Despite receiving far less recognition, support and funding than their international counterparts, these actors continued to form the backbone of many humanitarian responses during the pandemic.

This study aimed to identify what changes towards a more local aid model were happening in the context of Covid-19 and, where change was not happening, why this was the case. In order to document and analyse change at different levels, both within institutions or crisis responses, this study used a diary method. This approach enabled the authors to understand and document the dynamic politics of change and policy-making. Thirty-two humanitarian practitioners and policy-makers participated in the diary study. 

This working paper also features the Vanuatu Business Resilience Council (VBRC), a Connecting Business Initiative network. VBRC activated its own preparedness measures to reconnect the islands following the cyclone and assisted in supplying more than 1,000 coastal households with 35 tons of food and non-food items to respond to disasters in the midst of the pandemic (see page 34 - the case of Tropical Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu)

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