Leveraging Local Capital in Humanitarian Supply Networks During Pandemic Response

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During COVID-19, global supply chain disruption marred communities around the world. In active humanitarian crises, these logistical issues compounded underlying vulnerabilities in communities most in need, pushing humanitarian supply networks to adapt rapidly in order to continue providing aid and development activities. This paper therefore seeks to answer: “how can social capital be leveraged in disaster response during a crisis?“. By conceptualizing resilience through the lens of social capital theory, the paper abductively analyses 17 semi-structured interviews, into other to identify four examples of how social capital was leveraged by local humanitarian supply networks during COVID-19. By adopting a “peri-crisis lens” from trauma-informed research, the paper finds four resiliency behaviours of humanitarian supply networks: 1) localising supplier networks, 2) engaging local production, 3) pivoting to cash provision for local households, and 4) handing over to national staff. This paper argues that individuals, organisations, and communities are more resilient, not merely when they have social capital, but when they can rapidly leverage that social capital in a crisis. Through a close examination of the factors that enabled and hindered the leveraging of social capital during COVID-19, the paper offers practical policy suggestions for government and non-governmental organisations engaged in humanitarian supply networks, to rapidly respond in future pandemics. Additionally, the paper demonstrates the use of peri-crisis as a lens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104421
Peer-reviewed scientific journalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - 26.03.2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • COVID-19
  • humanitarian supply network
  • localisation
  • resilience
  • social capital theory


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