Degan Ali

Executive Director, Adeso

Degan Ali is the Executive Director of Adeso. Under Mrs. Ali’s leadership, Adeso has become a pioneer in conducting innovate humanitarian and development programming. Adeso recognized early on the interconnection between humanitarian crisis and environmental degradation and climate change. Thus, Adeso has been a leader in advocating for strong policies to reduce the negative impact, often being humanitarian crisis such as droughts, of environmental degradation and climate change. Adeso has been a leader globally and in Somalia for its work on environmental justice. Adeso also pioneered cash transfers as the most effective, timely, and dignified means of delivering aid to vulnerable populations. Degan Ali has been a passionate advocate at the global level on the mainstreaming of cash as the primary response mechanism to humanitarian crisis. She sees cash as not only as an efficient and less costly response tool but also as a more dignified aid response that gives power to affected people to make decisions based on their needs. Degan believes that cash transfers have many positive multiplier effects including boosting economies in affected communities. Under Degan’s leadership, the first large scale cash transfer program led by NGOs was successfully implemented in Somalia in response to the famine of 2011. This paved the way for the large scale use of cash transfers in the Syrian crisis and continues to grow as the primary response tool globally including the use of new technologies to digitize these transfers or the use of mobile money infrastructure. In May 2016, the first global south civil society network advocating for the transformation of humanitarian and development aid architecture, NEAR (, founded by Degan, was launched in Istanbul at the World Humanitarian Summit. Degan’s advocacy efforts in more recent years focuses on challenging the power dynamics of humanitarian response and bringing equitable solutions, such as the direct financing of local actors in the global south. Adeso has been an incubator of NEAR and it hopes to lead the global movement in removing barriers to directly supporting local action.