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When disaster strikes, experts are already there

Photo: James Rodriguez / Oxfam America

It is hard to ignore what seems like a relentless stream of international crises lately. But there is reason for hope— women and men around the world are successfully leading humanitarian responses in their communities and countries.

The international humanitarian system is overstretched, and current approaches to humanitarian crises too often rely on outsiders “parachuting” into unknown contexts, leading to aid that is often inappropriate and late. Increasing aid investments in local humanitarians can help change that. By helping people help themselves—removing obstacles, shifting resources, and ensuring that people working locally have the power they need to act—we can save more lives today and improve lives in the long term.

Community protector: Sidi Jaquite

Threatened by the spread of Ebola in neighboring countries, Sidi Jaquite and his team of trusted community health workers used their experience with cholera to spring into action to protect vulnerable communities in Guinea-Bissau.

Meet Sidi

Emergency chief: Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste

In Haiti, disaster management and relief is no small task. Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste has been at it for 10 years and her passion for getting everyone involved - especially the most vulnerable - is setting Haiti on a more resilient course.

Meet Marie Alta

Anti-poverty warrior: Rafiqul Alam

Once a freedom fighter for his country, Rafiqul Alam has spent the last 40 years continuing to fight for his people’s freedom – this time from poverty and the devastation of hazards like typhoons and climate change.

Meet Rafiqul

Rights defender: Karen Ramírez

A child during El Salvador’s civil war, Karen Ramírez grew up with a strong passion for justice and solidarity with the poor. So for the last 20 years, Ramírez has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of El Salvador’s poorest– especially in emergencies.

Meet Karen

Learn more

  1. Brief

    Righting the Wrong: Strengthening local humanitarian leadership to save lives and strengthen communities

    Tens of millions of people receive vital humanitarian aid every year, but millions more suffer without adequate help and protection, and their number is relentlessly rising.

Local leaders' stories


Typhoon in the Philippines: the power of local people to save lives

In December 2017, a deadly typhoon struck the Philippine island of Mindinao. But thanks to a consortium of local organizations, some communities in the hard-hit areas were ready—equipped with an early-warning system and trained in search and rescue, safe evacuations, and health and hygiene in emergencies.

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