Humanitarian advocacy

23rd July 2015
ACT Alliance views advocacy as a critical and complementary means of ensuring effective protection for communities in emergency contexts. Advocacy in emergency is a means to implement the humanitarian imperative and ACT’s mandate as found in its founding document.

ACT’s humanitarian action is guided by the fundamental humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and grounded in the desire for the legitimate and effective implementation of international humanitarian, refugee and human rights law.

The ACT Alliance and ACT members have endorsed the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response and adhere to the principles of the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief which are the fundamental standards for all ACT humanitarian programs. Therefore, ACT does not tie the promise, delivery or distribution of assistance to the embracing or acceptance of a particular political or religious creed.

ACT Alliance believes that advocacy is crucial to any emergency response in order to amplify people’s voices, to ensure that responses are appropriate to people’s needs and rights and to ensure that they respect humanitarian principles.

It may relate to, for instance, protection, access, promoting good practice of humanitarian and development work, prevention of escalation of violence, conflict transformation and promoting nation/society-building as part of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

There are two elements to ACT Alliance’s vision of humanitarian advocacy:


  • Humanitarian People-centred Advocacy

  • Humanitarian System-centred Advocacy


For the first, ACT humanitarian advocacy should focus on people – highlighting unacceptable humanitarian situations causing adverse impacts on populations, and ensuring voices of the communities and affected populations are brought to the forefront. It is the imperative of ACT Alliance in our entire humanitarian advocacy messaging to ensure that affected populations are at the centre of what we do.

ACT uses different methods and approaches to advocacy and with a variety of publicity, choosing different methods when defining its strategy to advocate. ACT may also take various roles in advocacy, including facilitating advocacy done by others rather than being the main public advocacy actor.