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Boy in street in Sierra Leone washing his hands at wash station set up to control Ebola.

What we do


We've been responding to humanitarian emergencies and disasters around the world since 1945, providing urgently needed immediate relief and long-term support.

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. Humanitarian work is central to Christian Aid’s mission: responding to the urgent and immediate needs of the crisis-affected communities and giving them the means to stand on their own feet is exactly why Christian Aid was created.

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

Programmes and modalities will be dependent on context. But the foundation of our work will not differ. We place the people directly affected at the centre of our decision-making processes, our project design and programme strategies and that we focus on nurturing their agency and dignity.

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. This is why we channel much of our humanitarian spending through local partner organisations.

Through our humanitarian work, we aim to:

  • Provide lifesaving assistance to those most in need
  • Be accountable to affected populations, and commit to the Core Humanitarian Standards
  • Build long-term resilience of vulnerable communities to cope with future threats
  • Advocate those in power to tackle the causes and consequences of crises
  • Integrate inclusion practices in our work which support the most vulnerable and excluded


Partnership model

Our partnership model is central to our response, as it is our commitment to empowering local partners role in humanitarian action.

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. 

I feel wealthy because when it rains, I don’t get wet. Everyone came together to help build my house and this has strengthened our relationships

- Shelter beneficiary, Haiti.

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, empowering local civil society to play a strong leadership role in humanitarian action, 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.

Read our full commitments to the World Humanitarian Summit 2016


Where are we now?

The WHS 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.

The WHS and the Grand Bargain articulated a very significant paradigm shift for the humanitarian sector towards more resources and capacity for front-line national and local responders; more participation and empowerment of crisis-affected populations; and a breaking down of the silos between emergency response and development – all of which Christian Aid strongly welcomes.

But these changes are easier said than done and take time to operationalise. The challenge now is to turn the WHS and Grand Bargain promises into reality on the ground for people affected by disasters. Christian Aid is working with like-minded peers to improve our own practices and to hold others to account.

Christian Aid spearheaded work among a network of NGOs that provided high quality policy recommendations that have, to a large extent, been picked up in the global process.

- Coalition partner.


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 2017/18 our partners delivered 150 humanitarian projects in 26 countries, reaching 1 million people in need.

  • We raised £8.4m in 2017/18 though emergency appeals.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we reached 200,000 people displaced in the Kasai region and provided them with shelter, water and food between January and July 2018.
  • Monsoon rains in 2017, caused flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh destroying homes and livelihoods.  Shelter, food and water were provided to 45,000 in India, 15,000 in Nepal and 3,000 in Bangladesh.
  • In North East Nigeria where the conflict has displaced at least 1.7 million people, we are providing life-saving support to displaced people and the families who host them. We have reached 240,000 people with food assistance, 160,000 families who are now able to produce food and provided cash transfers to 21,000 people for their essential needs.
  • In response to violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar's Rakhine State which forced hundreds to flee to the border with Bangladesh, Christian Aid, took responsibility for managing Jamtoli Refugee Camp, which has a population of 51,000 people.
  • Our partners in Serbia and Greece provided much needed assistance to vulnerable refugee families, including food, clothing, community support and temporary accommodation. 
  • Through our food kitchen in Eastern Ghouta, Syria our partner was able to distribute food to 12,000 people when the UN could not get convoys into the area.
  • In Yemen, we supported Action Against Hunger's malnutrition project reaching 52,000 people, including children, pregnant women and new mothers.
  • In East Africa, we provided humanitarian assistance across three countries (KenyaEthiopia and South Sudan) that suffered from drought. In the region, 16 million people were in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Christian Aid assistance included cash, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction projects.
  • We have driven forward innovative practice in disaster risk reduction and resilience work, most notably in conflict settings.
  • Through our humanitarian advocacy work, we are a leading voice in promoting the role of local and national NGOs in humanitarian action.

In-depth information is available in our Humanitarian performance report 2017/18

Read more about our current emergency work.

Blogs and stories

Our programmes

East Africa Crisis Appeal project

This project aims to build resilient pastoralist communities in Marsabit county, Kenya, to mitigate climate disasters.

Lake Region Economic Bloc Climate Change Governance project

This project aims to strengthen adaptation and resilience to climate change in the Lake region of Kenya.

Climate Justice Resilience Fund project

This project strengthens pastoralist communities' resilience to climate change in the Marsabit and Samburu counties in northern Kenya.

Reports and resources

Delivery-only envelopes (NI)

Our classic envelope.

Delivery-only envelopes (Welsh Bilingual)

Our classic envelope, for use in multiple settings. With space to write details of a drop-off.

Donation envelope

Our classic giving envelope.

Donation envelope (Channel Islands)

Our classic giving envelope. 

What's COP got to do with me? - video

A reflection film featuring Christian Aid's global theology advisor, Bob Kikuyu.

Women on the Front Line

Read our new report which recognises that women are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Contact us

Want to know more? If you have any enquiries about our work, please contact us

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The latest news, photos and programme updates from around the world. Sharing resources and knowledge with development and humanitarian practitioners.
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