Diaspora humanitarianism is characterised by rapid mobilisation and engagement that is built upon social networks, affective motivations, informal delivery and accountability mechanisms. This has implications for how it fits into the broader international humanitarian system.

In 2020, the World Food Programme (WFP) received the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts “to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” The WFP has a clear identity as a global brand, with codified working procedures that are easily recognisable, seemingly transparent and manageable. Yet, like many international humanitarian organisations, it can be slow to mobilise support during emergencies.

In contrast to established international bodies, there are a host of so-called new humanitarian actors that are characterised by rapid mobilisation and greater flexibility. Some of these target small communities areas, and indeed, sometimes individual family members.