Inclusion in Crises

13th October 2022
Author: Becky Carter Louise Oakley

Aid, Children and Young People, Climate Change, Conflict, COVID-19, Disability, Education, Fragile and Conflict Affected States, Gender, Health, Humanitarianism, Livelihoods, Migration, Participation, Policy, Politics and Power, Population, Poverty, Rights, Social Protection, Sustainable Development Goals, Water

Sustainable Development Goals

1.    No Poverty, 10.  Reduced Inequality, 16.  Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, 17.  Partnerships to achieve the Goals, 2.    Zero Hunger, 5.    Gender Equality

Inclusion is an approach (and an objective) founded on the human rights principles of inherent dignity, participation and respect for diversity. This counters structural discrimination and enables affected people and communities to more effectively anticipate, prevent, prepare, respond, recover and withstand the causes and impacts of crises.  

Structural discrimination has a significant impact on the nature and scale of crisis risk and vulnerability as demonstrated by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on groups that are marginalised and excluded. Exacerbated by the lack of awareness and respect amongst crisis actors for the diversity, dignity, capacity, and agency of affected people, structural discrimination prevents the impartial provision of humanitarian assistance and protection, and contributes to political, social and economic inequalities which in turn reduce social cohesion and stability; increase fragility and the risk of conflict; and impair the capacity of marginalised people to withstand and recover from shocks. Structural discrimination also leads to increased exposure to violence, coercion, abuse and deprivation for marginalised people. 

Inclusion in crises describes deliberate measures, both mainstreamed and targeted, which respond to the relationship between diversity, discrimination, need, and vulnerability. Inclusion enables humanitarian and other crisis actors to avoid causing harm; meet diverse and urgent needs through impartial, humanitarian assistance and protection; address the structural drivers of individual and collective vulnerability; deliver accountability for, and promote the agency, dignity, and resilience of, people who are most at-risk and marginalised, through meaningful participation in the decisions and services that affect their lives. 

As a cross-cutting theme inclusion is an approach and an objective relevant to many of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advisory ‘cadres’ (teams of advisors) and pursued by a variety of FCDO departments that are responsible for crisis interventions across the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding nexus. 

The K4D Inclusion in Crisis Learning Journey – undertaken from 2021 to mid-2022 – provided a space to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of operationalising these commitments; develop a shared understanding of the relationship between diversity, discrimination, and crisis risk; highlight the latest evidence from research and practice; and identify lessons to support advisors, programme teams and others to deliver improved outcomes for people who are marginalised and/or crisis-affected. The overarching objective of the Learning Journey was to support FCDO to harness its collective internal knowledge and draw from external evidence and expertise to improve outcomes for marginalised people in its crisis prevention, response and resilience programming and policy engagement. 

This Learning Package draws on the K4D Inclusion in Crises Learning Journey, and provides a series of knowledge and evidence products.


The resources below have been selected due to their relevance to the learning package. Explore them to strengthen your understanding of inclusion in crises.

Continents, regions and countries