ADEPT-Shabaka Policy Brief on African Diaspora Humanitarianism

The Importance of African Diaspora Humanitarianism in Times of Crises

The African diasporas are key humanitarian actors and stakeholders in humanitarian response, often complementing and filling in gaps left by institutional humanitarian partners (DEMAC 2018, Shabaka EU DiF 2021). Diasporas deliver interventions across all stages of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, from pre-crisis resilience building, emergency response, to post-crisis recovery and reconstruction.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced humanitarian and development organisations to change their approaches, especially in the light of travel restrictions. Diaspora organisations and development NGOs alike have had to adapt to providing humanitarian responses, and diaspora organisations and networks have shown how they can be quicker to adapt than larger organisations.

Climate change is already a factor in humanitarian crises around the world, with environmental degradation, extreme weather events, and drought and desertification disproportionately affecting the world’s poorest. It is also a driver of irregular migration within, and from, Africa. These trends are set to increase over the coming decades given the increasing impact of climate change forecast in the recently published IPCC report. This will require concerted action by governments, civil society, and the private sector not only to reduce emissions driving climate change, but also to address its humanitarian impacts.

This policy brief, published on the occasion of this year’s World Humanitarian Day, highlights examples of African diaspora humanitarian response, and identifies opportunities and challenges to working with other humanitarian actors to improve their impact.