Humanitarian responses have traditionally been controlled by male-dominated international bodies, leaving little space for women in affected communities to lead. As a result, women’s rights and needs are rarely prioritised in their response. The Pacific 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 disaster response addresses women’s needs. Supported by the Australian Government and ActionAid Australia supporters, the coalition of organisations – femLINKpacific, Pacific Disability Forum, Pacific Community (SPC), Nazareth Centre, Talitha Project, Transcend Oceania, Vanuatu Young Women for Change, Vois Blong Mere, YWCA Samoa, YWCA PNG and ActionAid Vanuatu – is working to build the existing power and knowledge of women emergency responders. On the frontlines of disaster, women play a vital role in ensuring the food security of families and communities.

Read the 2020 Shifting the Power Coalition Brochure here


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.This project is transforming gender relations by supporting women to demonstrate the power and potential of their leadership well beyond the humanitarian crisis.

Project Summary: Shifting the Power Coalition


Read the Shifting the Power Coalition Advocacy Brief and Mobilising Women’s Leadership.

Read the voices of Pacific women humanitarians here in the StPC interactive booklet.

Keep up to date with the latest information on the Shifting the Power Coalition Facebook page.

Shifting the Power Together: Pacific Women-Led Responses to COVID-19  

The Shifting the Power Coalition Handbook, produced with the support of the Feminist Humanitarian Network, presents lessons learnt from the Samoa response to the 2019 measles pandemic and how the STP Coalition has played a role in documenting the gendered impacts of the health emergency and gaps in the response.

The handbook also draws from experiences of partners in Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu responding to Tropical Cyclone Harold which brought additional challenges to COVID-19 prevention and response efforts. Many of these recommendations were featured in the Coalition’s advocacy brief.

The handbook is a tool to guide engagement with the ongoing COVID-19 response and prevention of future disasters with specific sections dedicated to women with disabilities as well as young women.

Read the Handbook Here


Shifting the Power Coalition: Communicating Local Priorities and making Global Connections

In collaboration with the Generation Equality Forum Civil Society Advisory Group, with the support of the NGO-CSW Committee, Shifting the Power Coalition partners convened “On the Mat” consultations to connect local and national priorities with global commitments to support diverse women’s leadership on Peace and Security. The consultations focused on the Women-Peace-Security and

Humanitarian Action Compact with Coalition partners collectively calling for:

  • Accessible and inclusive communications
  • Safe spaces for women and girls in all their diversities.
  • Financing locally-led, women-led responses.
  • Building strong networks of local women leaders to strengthen engagement in national humanitarian spaces such as the cluster system and push back against INGO led spaces
  • Valuing women’s indigenous and localised knowledge
  • Recognising women’s organisations as critical actors in localising WPS and humanitarian action.
  • Going beyond gender equality approaches to intersectional ones that lift up the experiences and agency of diverse women, including women with disabilities, young women, rural women and LGBTIQ communities.
  • Through our partnerships with the Feminist Humanitarian Network and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict we will continue to amplify local strategies to reinforce the power and voice of feminist movements and young women in the implementation of the WPS and Humanitarian Action Compact.


The women we work with

The Shifting the Power Coalition brings together 13 women from six Pacific Nations to share their experiences, collaborate and amplify recommendations. Check out the work these women are doing in the video below.


Pacific Island Countries

Our Partners:

femLINKpacific, Pacific Disability Forum, Pacific Community (SPC), Nazareth Centre, Talitha Project, Transcend Oceania, Vanuatu Young Women for Change, Vois Blong Mere, YWCA Samoa, YWCA PNG, ActionAid Vanuatu


2016 – ongoing

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This project is supported by the Australian Government and ActionAid Australia