20 humanitarians you should follow on Twitter

A few weeks back we asked our followers to recommend the best people to follow in the humanitarian sector. Today, we’re publishing our very own list of practitioners, authors, journalists and others active in the humanitarian space.

By Carolina Are


We’ve tried to keep this list as neutral as possible. We asked our followers on Twitter and via a SurveyMonkey anonymous survey for the best people to follow in humanitarian communications.  These people got the most votes, and they are listed alphabetically (by Twitter username). You will see a few active contributors to the Humanitarian News Research Network included here –  they were voted by independent users.

So without further ado, get ready to follow the below 20 Twitter users. We might do a Facebook-related post in the future, so keep those suggestions coming! And let us know who we’ve missed.

20 humanitarians you should follow on Twitter

1 – Abhas K. Jha

In charge of cities, infrastructure, technology, affordable housing, risk and resilience at WorldBank. Recommended by our readers as he shares relevant in-depth features and research, he’s also a Senior Lecturer & MA Program Coordinator Communication for Development at Malmö University‘s ComDev Master program.

2 – Dr. Alexandra C Budabin

Dr. Alexandra Cosima Budabin is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science and Senior Researcher in the Human Rights Center of the University of Dayton. She is also a Contract Professor at the Free University of Bolzano teaching a course on New Media for Participatory Democracy and a Senior Researcher at Eurac (Bolzano). She looks after projects like Commodify Compassion and Celebnorthsouth. Dr. Budabin tweets about humanitarian communications and reporting issues, together with current affairs. She recently shared with us her thoughts on celebrity humanitarians together with a variety of researchers.

3 – Dr. Tobias Denskus

Dr. Tobias Denksus is a Senior Lecturer in Communication for Development in the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University in Sweden. Denksus has engaged in peace-building in Nepal, humanitarian work in Kabul, Afghanistan and research on German peace-building projects in Macedonia. He is working on research related to social media, communication and the ‘Open Aid’ discourse, and he has been one of the most-voted accounts to follow thanks to his helpful tweets on humanitarian journalism and social media.

4 – Ben Parker

Another community favourite, Ben Parker received plenty of votes from our followers. He is the co-founder of IRIN News, and has been working in humanitarian affairs, online media and fragile states for more than 20 years. In 2013, he was the director of communications for the UN in Somalia in Mogadishu. In 2012, he headed the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Syria in Damascus. Ben has worked for numerous development agencies in Africa and beyond (including Oxfam, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, the European Union and the UN Environment Programme). He shares relevant updates from IRIN, as well as events and topical issues in the humanitarian sector. According to HNRN convenor Mel Bunce (who wasn’t allowed to vote but had a lot to say about the results), Ben’s twitter is invaluable for “critical scoops, comedy relief, and keeping people honest”.

5 – Bonnie Koenig

Bonnie Koenig is a consultant working with non-governmental organizations on developing their strategic thinking and international programs. She has worked for over 30 years with local, national and international organizations in the areas of strategic planning, organizational and program development, staff training, and other governance and management issues. Koenig is a convener, facilitator, strategist, network weaver, author, blogger at goinginternational.com. She tweets about a wide range of humanitarian issues together with current affairs.

6 – Brendan J Rigby

Brendan J Rigby is a literacy, education systems and evaluation specialist working in government, as well as the co-founder of WhyDev, which started in 2010 as a blog and has since become a bona fide non-profit supporting humanitarian and development practitioners around the world. He has been working in the humanitarian sector for 10 years, including at Education For All, UNICEF, Plan International and WhyDev in Australia, China, Ghana, Malaysia, Cambodia, and India. He’s also published and presented educational research in a range of peer-reviewed journals and at international conferences. Brendan often tweets about literacy education, participatory visual research & evaluation, global development and education systems.

7 – Bassam Sebti

Bassam Sebti is the global editor of worldbank.org. He manages the platform’s editorial calendar, core website pages and blogs, and coordinates with social media and other digital products across the World Bank Group. Prior to that, he managed the World Bank’s Arabic web and social media channels from 2013 to 2017. Sebti has a background in journalism as the Arabic editor of the International Journalists’ Network (IJNet), a multilingual media training resources portal published by the Washington D.C.-based International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). He tweets about development and humanitarian crises.

8 – Carine Umuhumuza

Carine Umuhumuza is the Associate Director of Communications at Devex. She has launched over a dozen major campaigns in partnership with leading communicators from a range of development agencies, major corporations, NGOs, and social enterprises. Umuhumuza has a digital-first approach for storytelling and content curation. She tweets about humanitarian crises, digital technology and shares relevant stories and insight from Devex.

9 – Dr. Kim Yi Dionne

Dr. Kim Yi Dionne is a lecturer, researcher and writer on African politics at the University of California, Riverside,  as well as the author or of Doomed Interventions,  a book that tries to understand why AIDS interventions in Africa often fail. Dr. Dionne is also the editor of the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog and the host of Ufahamu Africa podcast. She tweets about current affairs and relevant stories and analysis from Africa.

10 – Erin Gamble

Erin Gamble is the online communications officer for WorldBank. She tweets about digital, social good, learning, design thinking and social network analysis, and received plenty of nominations from our network as a “must-follow” account. Formerly the online director for development organisation ACDI/VOCA.

11 – Jennifer Lentfer

Jennifer Lentfer is the Director of Communications for registered charity Thousand Currents, which focuses on facilitating transformative change, working with over women, small farmers, Indigenous Peoples, urban residents, sexual and ethnic minorities, and youth. A Guardian contributor and the creator of the How Matters blog, she tweets about global development, philanthropy and current affairs.

12 – IRIN News

IRIN News is the world’s leading provider of humanitarian news and analysis. A community favourite in our Twitter call-out and survey, IRIN is published from Nairobi, Bangkok, Jerusalem, Geneva and London, sharing in-depth features about the state of development, aid and humanitarian crises all over the world.

13 – Malaka Gharib

Malaka Gharib is the digital strategist and editor of Goats and Soda, NPR‘s global health and development blog. She reports on topics such as the humanitarian aid sector, gender equality, and innovation in the developing world, and tweets about similar issues. Gharib was another community favourite, receiving many nominations. Before coming to NPR in 2015, she was the digital content manager at Malala Fund, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai’s global education charity, and social media and blog editor for ONE, a global anti-poverty advocacy group founded by Bono.

14 – Dr. Martin Scott

Dr. Martin Scott is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Development at the University of East Anglia and lead researcher of the AHRC-funded Humanitarian Journalism project. He is author of Media and Development (Zed Books, 2014) and has written academic articles and book chapters on the subjects of humanitarian journalism, celebrities and development, representations of Africa, mediated cosmopolitanism and the role of popular culture in politics. He tweets about the latest humanitarian news and shares in-depth features from the field and from his research.

15 – Megan Nobert

Megan Nobert is an international criminal and human rights lawyer, who has practiced for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and International Criminal Court. She is also a Guardian contributor and a humanitarian specialising in sexual violence and protection, and has done field work in the Gaza Strip, Jordan and South Sudan. Megan is the founder and director of Report the Abuse, an NGO that works to break down the silence around sexual violence against and within the humanitarian and development community.

16 – Dr. Mel Bunce

Dr. Mel Bunce is the Humanitarian News Research Network’s director. Her research focuses on international news, politics, humanitarian journalism and Africa. She’s a senior Lecturer in Journalism at City, University of London and currently working on an AHRC-funded project about humanitarian journalism with Martin Scott and Kate Wright, who also made our list. Mel is the co-editor of Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century, and she tweets about humanitarian communications and current affairs with a focus on Africa.

17 – Natasha Tynes

Natasha Tynes is a Social Media Lead at the WorldBank Group and International Finance Corporation (IFC). She works as a Communications Officer for the WorldBank, where she manages IFC’s corporate social media program. Tynes has almost 20 years of experience working as reporter, editor, and a managing editor, and also as the director of a global training program for journalists worldwide. She has a Master’s degree in International Journalism from City, University in London, and she is a native of the country of Jordan.

18 – Dr. Kate Wright

Dr. Kate Wright is a chancellor’s Fellow at Edinburgh University, where she works in the Centre of African Studies. She has recently published a book called Who’s Reporting Africa Now? Non-Governmental Organizations, Journalists, and Multimedialaunched at City, University of London last month. Dr. Wright is currently Co-Investigator for a global project on Humanitarian Journalism funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council.  A former BBC journalist on Scottish, British and international news flagships such as Good Morning Scotland, Radio 4’s Today programme, and Newshour at the BBC World Service, and BBC’s Arab/Africa desk, she tweets about journalism, humanitarian issues and current affairs.

19 – Sarika Bansal

Sarika Bansal is the editor in chief at Bright Magazine, a site reinventing storytelling about health, education, and social impact funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She’s also a mentor at the Aspen Institute’s New Voices fellowship, an initiative designed to bring more expert voices from the developing world into the global development discussion. She tweets about current affairs, development, humanitarian issues and journalism.

20 – Tariq Khokhar

Tariq Khokhar is a Senior Data Scientist at the World Bank, as well as the institution’s Global Data Editor. He is interested in the intersection of technology, development and data. A mathematician and computer scientist by training, Tariq is a graduate of the University of Cambridge and currently lives in Washington DC. He tweets about data and global development.