ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Our Programs

ActionAid Australia works with women around the world where the need is deemed the most. Here is an overview of our programs to date where we have worked within emergency and livelihood contexts.  

The Ni Vanuatu Girls Forum – Strengthening Girls Voices in Vanuatu

  • Where: Port Vila 
  • When: July 2017- 2020
  • Funding: Supported by the Australian Government and the Austrian Embassy in Canberra
  • Partners: ActionAid Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, girls come up against cultural barriers that prevent them completing their education, from accessing employment, from participating in politics - from reaching their full potential, and accessing their rights.

In partnership with ActionAid Vanuatu, ActionAid Australia is supporting girls in Vanuatu to learn to challenge gender and cultural norms and understand national legislation – particularly as it pertains to them.  Through participation in Girls Forums, girls are learning how to access support – both through services and through structures established by the community – that will enable them to feel safe and secure, in, and out, of school.

The numerous barriers that school aged girls in Vanuatu face exist largely as a result of cultural expectations and a lack of awareness of their rights. The Ni Vanuatu Girls Forums are designed to give young girls a space to learn about their rights together.


In the long term, the Forum aims to support girls to develop self-confidence that will enable them to become leaders in building young people’s ability to respond to and mitigate climate disasters and ensure social security within their communities. 

Women’s Land Rights in Northern Uganda

  • Where: Amuru and Nwoya Districts in Northern Uganda
  • When: July 1st 2015-June 30th 2018
  • Funding: Supported by the Australian Government and ActionAid Australia supporters
  • Partners: ActionAid Uganda, Gulu Women’s Disability Union, Uganda Land Alliance, Forum for Community Transformation, Partner for Community Development
File 38448
Women farmers in Uganda make tremendous contributions of labour to their households and communities. Despite this, the majority of women are denied their rightful ownership of land due to a lack of protection in policy and law, as well as patriarchal social and cultural beliefs.

The denial of Ugandan women’s land rights greatly increases their economic vulnerability, which in turn places them at risk of violence, making them less inclined to invest in cultivating their land and increasing the burden of their unpaid care work. Widows and women living with disabilities are particularly at risk. In Northern Uganda, these issues are further compounded by prolonged conflict.

To support women to secure full ownership of their land as well as greater protection from policy and law, ActionAid Australia is partnering with ActionAid Uganda, Gulu Women’s Disability Union, Uganda Land Alliance, Forum for Community Transformation, and Partner for Community Development - to support Ugandan women to increase their awareness and understanding of their rights. Women are also being supported to raise their voices and have greater influence within their families. Their access to justice is strengthened through engagement with local paralegals and legal aid clinics.


In addition, the project provides spaces and collectives for women in the districts of Amuru and Nwoya in Northern Uganda to freely discuss issues relating to their land rights and build their power to address these issues.

Promoting Women’s Rights and Resilience in Emergencies in the Philippines

  • Where: 3 provinces of the Philippines: Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar
  • When: June 2014 – July 2018
  • Funding:  Supported by the Australian Government and ActionAid Australia supporters
  • Partners: Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Women’s Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organization Inc. (WeDpro Inc.), Balay Mindanao Foundation Inc. (BMFI), Women in Emergencies Network (WENet)

The Philippines is exposed to a high risk of recurring natural disasters, so it is critical that communities are prepared for and working to reduce risks of any future disasters.  For women in the Philippines, this risk is compounded by the increase in violence against women during disasters and the low priority the government and other humanitarian actors place on women’s rights in emergencies.

To ensure that women’s rights are protected in emergencies, ActionAid Australia is partnering with women’s organizations PKKK, WeDpro Inc., BMFI, and WENet to work with over 6000 people across three regions of the Philippines to build the resilience of the most vulnerable women.  The support also includes reducing the risk of violence against women in emergencies and ensuring communities are prepared to respond to future disasters and place women’s needs at the centre of the response.


Through the project, women are being supported to lead disaster preparedness and response (where they were formerly excluded) and are becoming more aware of their own rights and how to ensure they feel safe in emergency situations.

The project also aims to influence government and humanitarian organisations to take stronger action to reduce violence against women and continue supporting women’s leadership in emergencies.


Change-Makers: Empowering Communities in Kayin and Chin States

  • Where: Myanmar - Chin and Kayin States
  • When: July 2016 to June 2019
  • Funding: Supported by The Planet Wheeler Foundation
  • Partners: ActionAid Myanmar
Poor, rural communities in Myanmar face many barriers to claiming their rights and accessing basic services and entitlements.

With the support of the Planet Wheeler foundation, ActionAid Australia is partnering with ActionAid Myanmar to support 60 communities to become more resilient. They are working collaboratively to develop young leaders who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to claim their rights, entitlements and access to services.

The project will be run through village organisations that will assist project participants to identify their rights and respond collectively to the needs of their communities. Community members will then have increased ability to negotiate with state and non-state actors to secure those needs.


The project has engaged 20 villages from both Chin and Kayin States. Each village is in the process of implementing their own Village Development Plan, and have already started initiatives to strengthen people’s access to health, education and income opportunities. The Kayin government has also committed to and started practicing a process of working with communities to make sure their needs are addressed in government services.


Shifting the Power Coalition

  • Where: Pacific Island Countries
  • When: 2016 – ongoing
  • Funding:  Supported by ActionAid Australia supporters
  • Partners: FemLINKpacific, Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), Pacific Community (SPC), Nazareth Centre, Talitha Project, Transcend Oceania, Vanuatu Young Women for Change, Vois Blong Mere, YWCA Samoa 
Humanitarian responses have traditionally been controlled by male-dominated international bodies, leaving little space for women in affected communities to lead, and therefore rarely prioritising women’s rights and needs in their response.

The Pacific in particular is experiencing a significant increase in climate induced humanitarian disasters. In this context, ActionAid Australia is working as part of the "Shifting the Power Coalition” to support women to lead emergency response and take power back into their own hands – ensuring the response addresses women’s needs.

Working in coalition with FemLINKpacific, Pacific Disability Forum, Pacific Community (SPC), Nazareth Centre, Talitha Project, Transcend Oceania, Vanuatu Young Women for Change, Vois Blong Mere, and YWCA Samoa, the project builds on the existing power and knowledge of women emergency responders. On the front lines of the disaster, women play a vital role in ensuring the food security of families and communities, including during times of crisis.


Women are being supported to lead humanitarian action and raise their voices through training, network building, and research – all which help strengthen their advocacy and engagement with local and national decision makers.

Over the long term, the project is pushing to transform gender relations by supporting women to demonstrate the power and potential of their leadership well beyond the humanitarian crisis.


Protection and Psychosocial Support for Women in Post-Earthquake Nepal

  • Where: Nepal
  • When: June 2015 – 2018
  • Funding: Supported by the Australian Government, ActionAid Australia supporters, and ActionAid Australia’s Arise Fund
  • Partners: ActionAid Nepal
File 38452
The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal devastated communities, and had serious impacts on women. Women reported feeling unsafe at night, and experiencing significant psychological impacts as a result of feeling insecure in their environment.

As part of this project, ActionAid Australia is working in partnership with ActionAid Nepal to respond to the emergency by supporting 6,000 women in affected communities to access women-friendly safe spaces. These spaces continue to play an important role beyond the emergency by providing women a safe place to discuss and address the challenges they’re facing.

Throughout the project, women members of these space spaces are being supported to establish disaster response plans and risk reduction plans so they feel equipped to lead the response to any future disasters and ensure that women’s needs are addressed effectively in the response.


Twenty women’s safe spaces are being engaged to put in place new systems to ensure women can quickly come together and lead the response to future emergencies. ActionAid Nepal staff members will also be trained up at an international workshop on how to support women to lead on disaster risk reduction and the protection of their rights during disasters.

Once completed, the program will ensure that women’s rights are central to the community-led response.


Increasing the Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in Bangladesh

  • Where: Three districts of Bangladesh: Patuakhali, Faridpur and Barguna
  • When: June 2015 – July 2018
  • Funding: Supported by the Australian Government
  • Partners: ActionAid Bangladesh, AVAS (Patuakhali), Shushilon (Barguna), Amra Kaj Kory (Faridpur)
 File 38453
In Bangladesh, existing gender inequalities mean that women and girls are disproportionately impacted by natural disasters and climate change. Women often don’t have access to information, and tend to be excluded from decision making in their communities. This means that when disasters strike, women’s rights and needs go overlooked.

Working in Patuakhali, Faridpur and Barguna regions of the country, ActionAid Australia is partnering with ActionAid Bangladesh and other local organisations to address this inequality by supporting women to break down gender barriers and lead their communities in building resilience to disasters like floods and cyclones.

Women have been supported to plan for new employment opportunities that will improve their financial situation and access to affordable, nutritious food.  This helps build women’s resilience to the effects of disasters, as well as transform gender norms and challenge deeply embedded inequalities in their communities.


Throughout the project, 36 women leaders have led 443 community participants to develop plans to build the resilience of their communities to disasters. Over 70 women’s groups have collectively identified the services and resources required to address the economic inequality they face, and formed action plans for how they will advocate for them.

By the time it is completed, this project will have directly supported 700 women and 520 men in Bangladesh, and will have had an indirect impact on the broader community of 15,000 people.


Women Stepping Forward In Palestine

  • Where: West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • When: June 2015 – 2018
  • Funding:  Supported by the Australian Government and ActionAid Australia supporters 
  • Partners: ActionAid Palestine
File 38454
Palestinians in the southern West Bank have experienced loss of land and livelihoods, displacement, restrictions on movement, lack of basic services and destruction of infrastructure as a result of the Israeli occupation. Within this context, women’s opportunities and freedoms are further limited as a result of social and cultural norms.

ActionAid Australia is partnering with ActionAid Palestine and local women to improve women’s status in three vulnerable communities in the Hebron Governorate.

The project is supporting women in the region by facilitating network building between women’s rights organisations and other coalitions, and by providing training around women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health. Women are also supported with mentoring around employment opportunities, and funding to help them establish new means of making a living.


Many women’s groups have already been established and 85 women have been trained as community leaders to raise awareness of and campaign for their rights. When supported in this way, women will continue to lead positive change within their families and communities.


Resilient Agriculture and Livelihoods Initiatives for Socio-economic Empowerment (REALISE) - Afghanistan

  • Where: 6 districts in Afghanistan, 4 in the North (Sherbeghan and Kaldar in Jawzjan Province, Kamhab and Dawlatabad in Balkh Province) and 2 in the Central Highlands (Yakawlang and Panjab in Bamiyan Province).
  • When: June 2014 to May 2018
  • Funding: Supported by the Australian Government and a philanthropic donor
  • Partners: The International Centre for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), The Afghan NGO Organisation for Human Welfare (OHW), The Afghan NGO People’s Action for Change (PAC), The Accessibility Organisation for Afghan Disabled (AOAD), ActionAid Afghanistan
File 38455
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood and subsistence for approximately 80% of the Afghan population, but decades of war, drought and social upheaval have devastated the country’s agricultural sector.
Through the REALISE project, ActionAid Australia is partnering with ActionAid Afghanistan and several partners to support women and men in vulnerable communities to understand and claim their rights, and improve their livelihoods through farming.
Women are being supported to undertake backyard vegetable gardening and livestock rearing, to understand their rights and analyse policies and laws, and build capacity to engage with government and markets on the issues that affect them. Through this work, women’s access to affordable and nutritious food is improved, and they are able to claim more economic and social power.



2,371 men and 3,078 women are so far directly involved in the project, which impacts a broader community of 121,525 people. Other vulnerable communities, including people with disabilities, are also being supported to improve their access to stable income and food sources and strengthen their decision making power in their communities. 


Building Resilient Communities in Cambodia through Disaster Risk Reduction and Land Tenure Security

  • Where: Cambodia
  • When: 2016-2019
  • Funding:  Supported by the Australian Government and ActionAid Australia supporters
  • Partners: ActionAid Cambodia
In Cambodia, infrastructure development, land rights violations and exploitation by private companies have restricted access to land and natural resources for marginalised communities. Women in particular have minimal access to and control over land, and face challenges influencing local authorities and holding private organisations to account. These factors mean that women and other marginalised groups are ill equipped to prepare for and respond when disasters strike.

To increase access to and control over land for marginalised communities, ActionAid Australia is partnering with ActionAid Cambodia in supporting a range of civil society groups to strengthen their collaboration, research skills and advocacy work. These civil society groups will then help communities become more aware of their rights and entitlements, empowering hundreds of thousands of people across Cambodia to claim their rights and work to hold private companies accountable. ActionAid Australia and ActionAid Cambodia are also engaging with farmers to have greater influence on policies around agricultural land ownership.


Through the project, women are being supported to lead in designing plans to reduce the risk of future disasters. In addition, local and national institutions are being trained on the importance of women’s leadership in disaster preparedness and response so that they integrate this approach into their own disaster response work. All these activities will help strengthen the resilience of Cambodian communities involved in the project.

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