Degan Ali announced as Oceania Connect opening keynote speaker

09 Oct, 2020

ACFID, together with PIANGO and CID, are delighted to announce that Degan Ali, Executive Director of Adeso, co-founder of the NEAR network, and staunch advocate of shifting the power in the humanitarian and development system, will deliver a keynote address at the Oceania Connect 2020 Regional Conference.  

Degan joined Adeso (formerly Horn Relief) as Deputy Director in 2003 and became Adeso’s Executive Director in 2006. Under Degan’s leadership Adeso pioneered the provision of household cash transfers in Somalia, which was scaled up in response to the 2011 food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Degan’s strong advocacy and demonstration of the effectiveness of cash transfers in Somalia – including in safeguarding the dignity and agency of those in need of humanitarian assistance - contributed to the global acceptance of cash and voucher assistance.

Degan is a strong believer that the current humanitarian and development system needs to be transformed to give more power and voice to local communities and civil society organizations.

In the lead-up to the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, Degan co-founded the Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR network), a movement of local organizations with the bold ambition to reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships.

Degan has also co-founded the Nexus platform, composed of 9 Somali NGOs that aspire to pioneer a locally driven agenda for change by building partnerships between communities, civil society and the public and private sectors.

Degan has called-out the systemic racism within the international aid system, led the charge on discussions on decolonising aid, and called for global solidarity across civil society. In a recent op-ed she stated that the Black Lives Matter movement is also a reckoning for the international aid sector and International NGOs.

“We are thrilled to welcome Degan as a keynote speaker Oceania Connect. Degan is one of the most powerful speakers I have heard on the need to repair inequalities and injustices in the international development and humanitarian systems,” says Marc Purcell CEO of the Australian Council for International Development.

“Her calls for a more just and dignified system will both challenge and inspire conference delegates.”

Degan’s address will be followed by a panel with advocates of local and inclusive leadership on ‘Shifting the Power’, chaired by 'Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki (Director, Women &Children Crisis Centre, Tonga) in discussion with:

•             Rita Thapa, Founder, Tewa Nepal

•             Vani Catanasiga, Executive Director, Fiji Council of Social Services

•             Dumiso Gatsha, Coordinator, Success Capital

•             Nanette Antequisa, Executive Director EcoWEB, Philippines

To find out more and to register for the conference, visit the website at