Emergencies, disasters and our humanitarian response
Training women to lead emergency response and resilience work
Sabita is a member of a small community close to the Bangladeshi coast. The area is affected by disasters including flooding, cyclones and droughts, which are becoming more frequent and more severe due to climate change. In 2013, Sabita undertook training with ActionAid's support to equip her to lead her community-based disaster response and disaster risk reduction.
Sabita, who has three children, says: “I am constantly thinking through disaster scenarios in my head: where we will run to the next time a disaster hits, and how I would reduce the risk of the disaster to myself, my family and my neighbors. I always try to help those who are poor, who don’t have food and have great need.
"Each time there is an emergency I contact everyone in my network to tell them that the disaster is coming and I give suggestions and advice about what steps to follow and who should do what. Everybody respects me. I am creating change! I am so proud of how far I have come and everything I am able to do now."
A lifeline for refugees
ActionAid’s women’s centres in Greece provide vital support to traumatized mothers and children fleeing violent conflict in other countries.
For new arrivals we provide hygiene kits with wipes, soap and nappies, and places to breastfeed in private. For the thousands stuck in Athens or Lesvos our centres give women a space to talk and grieve with those who survived a long and dangerous journey and now face an uncertain future.
Our volunteers speak Arabic and Farsi, so they can pass on essential information, refer the most vulnerable for medical treatment and offer hope and reassurance to women feeling isolated and scared.
Rebuilding homes and lives in Nepal
Two massive earthquakes devastated Nepal in April and May 2015, killing over 9,000 people and injuring 18,000 others. Our established presence in rural, isolated areas meant local staff were able to respond immediately.
Using motorbikes to get through roads deemed impassable by collapsed buildings and mudslides, our teams provided 20,000 families with emergency food, medicine and bedding. We also set up women’s centres to give mothers a private space to breastfeed and care for their babies.
Following the earthquake, we reached than 120,000 people, helping build 23 women-friendly spaces, temporary shelters for over 7,000 families, and more than 50 temporary schools.
Local women led ActionAid’s Ebola response
ActionAid was one of the first international agencies to respond to the Ebola crisis in 2014. Working alongside health and aid charities in a concerted international effort we supported over 500,000 people in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
We helped stop the spread of Ebola because we put dedicated local volunteers - mostly women - at the centre of our response. Fear and misinformation was fuelling the virus, so we trained 1200 respected local people - nurses, mothers, teachers - to visit remote communities, gain people’s trust and raise awareness of how to stop Ebola spreading and what to do if you got it.
People were taught to cook meat thoroughly, regularly clean and disinfect their homes and animal pens, wash their hands, wear appropriate clothing when tending to the sick and dying, and limit physical contact.
The volunteers also gave education packs to children unable to go to school and supplied detergents, disinfectants and protective clothing to 58 medical centres. Our commitment to long term support means we are still there: working with grieving communities to help them recover from the physical, psychological and financial losses caused by the outbreak.
You may also be interested in
Read our latest blog posts about our emergency and humanitarian response work.
Learn more about the challenges women and girls face, and how we’re working with them to build long-term solutions.
We work in rural and urban communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.