Number of organisations founded per year since 1945 (all regions)

By Clara Egger

This graph shows the total number of humanitarian organisations created per year since World War Two. 94% of the organisations in the HOD have been created since 1945, with only a few earlier records, such as the Order of Malta created in 1099. 

We see how some critical historical turning points and world events impact on humanitarian action. For example : 

  • The time period immediately following the end of the WW2 (1945-1950) corresponds to the structuring of the United Nations system, composed of many diverse humanitarian agencies. 74 organisations were created between 1945 and 1951. 
  • The decade separating the mid 1960s from the mid 1970s (1965-1975) reflects the combined impact of the May 68 movement on transnational solidarity and anti-war movements in Europe and the USA. Decolonization of Asia and Africa during this period also gave birth to new states who developed their own humanitarian capacity (at the societal and governmental level).
  • The decade ranging from the mid eighties to the mid nineties(1985-1995) marks the end of the Cold War and a rise of humanitarian interventions in conflicts including Afghanistan, the Balkans, Rwanda and Somalia.
  • The mid 2000s to 2010s link with the NATO and US intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and later the Libyan and Syrian civil wars which have led to a dramatic increase in refugees and organisations responding to their needs.

This Expertise Note was contributed by Dr Clara Egger in collaboration with the Humanitarian Encyclopedia team, based on analysis of the Humanitarian Organisation Database (HOD).

Last update : Mar 23, 2021