Event recording

A practitioner-donor dialogue on Mutual Aid: Supporting crisis-affected communities to help each other

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At this event:

Practitioners from Kenya, Myanmar, Sudan and Ukraine shared their experiences of leading more locally-led responses: How do they work? What challenges do they encounter? How does their approach differ from international aid? How can the formal system better assist them? Donors, from USAID, FCDO and IrishAid then responded with the approaches they are taking to support locally-led responses and reflected on what learned from hearing the experiences and ways of working of those leading mutual aid efforts on the frontline.

In every crisis, affected people, their neighbours and communities are always the first responders. The response is often spontaneous and informal – known as mutual aid – such as setting up a community kitchen or the local pharmacist serving as de facto doctor. At other times, it is more organised, with initiatives being run by grassroots organisations, local NGOs or even local government (locally-led action).

These ideas are not new, but they are starting to gain traction in the formal humanitarian sector, with growing discussions around localisation and accountability, concerns over the persisting gap between humanitarian need and support provided, and the practical realities of international agencies unable to access certain contexts.

This webinar, organised by ALNAP, Christian Aid and Local to Global Protection explored mutual aid and locally-led action through opening up a dialogue between frontline practitioners who provide this support and donor representatives.


  • Vijayalakshmi Viswanathan | Senior Research Officer, ALNAP 
  • Nils Carstensen | Local to Global Protection 
  • Andrea Freeman | Deputy Director, Office of Sudan and South Sudan Programs, Bureau for Africa (AFR/SSSP), USAID (US)
  • Susan Fraser | Humanitarian Policy Lead, IrishAid (Ireland) 
  • Dylan Winder |  Deputy Director and Head of Humanitarian Department, FCDO (UK)
  • Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam | The Sudan Social Development Organisation SUDO | (Sudan) 
  • Salad Liban Arero | CEO, CIFA (Kenya) 
  • "Mr. Moon" | Practitioner (Myanmar)
  • Hajooj Kuka | External Commnications Officer, The Khartoum State Emergency Response Room (Sudan)