Exploring the role of empowerment in urban humanitarian responses in Freetown
In Sierra Leone, international and national humanitarian actors have been involved in a series of initiatives addressing humanitarian emergencies caused separately by the civil war, cholera outbreaks, the Ebola crisis, and the recent flooding in Freetown and elsewhere. In each case, there has been a variety of response approaches, from community-led, to top-down relocation. While there has been documentation of these processes, there has been little work attempting to bring studies and perspectives together to generate a reflection to the wider humanitarian community of practice.
This working paper looks at humanitarian responses in the Portee-Rokupa neighbourhood of Freetown. By focusing on the empowerment implication of humanitarian responses, it explores the extent to which approaches have been able to build the capacities of informal dwellers’ groups, foster collaboration among different stakeholders, enable critical learning, and open up opportunities for the recognition of the diverse needs and aspirations of vulnerable groups within the wider policy and planning environment.