New package of support for humanitarian crises in the coming year, after UK aid delivered life-saving support to millions of people around the world in 2017.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt today announced a new package of support for humanitarian crises in the coming year, after UK aid delivered life-saving support to millions of people around the world and averted two famines in 2017.
In early 2017 the United Nations warned that the world was facing its worst humanitarian crisis since 1945. Ms Mordaunt says today that 2018 could be even worse with ongoing famines and conflicts in Yemen, South Sudan and Burma.
The new UK aid package will give a £21 million boost to the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) so agencies can respond even more quickly to under-funded emergencies around the world in 2018.
It will help to provide critical health services to 20 million people, plus clean water and sanitation to 13 million people and food to 9 million people.
The UK package is part of a wider international relief effort. Globally, the United Nations estimates that in 2018 some 136 million people in 25 countries will be in need of humanitarian assistance.
The UK is ready to deliver life-saving aid to those that need it most.
During 2017, UK aid has helped prevented famines in Nigeria and Somalia, as well as alleviating untold suffering in South Sudan and Yemen. We achieved this by providing:
In addition, this year UK aid delivered 827 tonnes of supplies in response to hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean. It also provided emergency shelter to 130,000 people affected by the Rohingya crisis and medical support for more than 1 million people in Syria.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
While 2017 was a year of harrowing humanitarian crises, the truth is 2018 could be even bleaker.
When we see suffering, we instinctively want to help. Britons are big-hearted, open-minded and far-sighted – qualities that define a great nation.
This year, through UK aid and further public donations, we helped avert famines in Nigeria and Somalia, gave emergency help to the survivors of the Caribbean hurricanes and provided a vital life-line to people suffering from conflict in Syria and Yemen.
Britain is giving life saving aid, but also hope, to millions of people around the world. In the challenges 2018 brings Britain will continue to be at the forefront of the global humanitarian response.
Ms Mordaunt also announced ¬ongoing support for people driven from their homes as a result of the conflict in Syria, which is in its seventh year. The UK aid package will give money directly to Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, so they can decide how best to look after their families.
The programme, delivered by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), will help stamp out child labour by providing more than 10,0000 families with an allowance so that they can buy essential food, shelter, household supplies and medical assistance.
Published on Reliefweb on December 31, 2017
The humanitarian system is not just broke, but broken: recommendations for future humanitarian action
An unprecedented number of humanitarian emergencies of large magnitude and duration is causing the largest number of people in a generation to be forcibly displaced. Yet the existing humanitarian system was created for a different time and is no longer fit for purpose. On the basis of lessons learned from recent crises, particularly the Syrian conflict and the Ebola epidemic, I recommend four sets of actions that would make the humanitarian system relevant for future public health responses: (1) operationalise the concept of centrality of protection; (2) integrate affected persons into national health systems by addressing the humanitarian–development nexus; (3) remake, do not simply revise, leadership and coordination; and (4) make interventions efficient, effective, and sustainable. For these recommendations to be implemented, governments, UN agencies, multilateral organisations, and international non-governmental organisations will need to put aside differences and relinquish authority, influence, and funding.
See the full article by Prof Paul B Spiegel, MD here.
BY EILLIE ANZILOTTI
In 2007, Feike Sijbesma, the CEO of the Dutch vitamin and nutritional-supplement company Royal DSM, attended the World Economic Forum, where he heard in a breakout session with several African leaders that the humanitarian aid that flows into the continent from western countries does as much harm as good. It was an argument that had been percolating for a while–2007 was the same year that Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda gave his provocative TED talk, “Aid for Africa? No Thanks,” in which he describes how aid hinders economic independence and growth in the developing world.
But the argument against aid Sijbesma heard was specifically around food assistance. “The leaders were saying to me that the food help western countries give, which mainly involves flying in staple foods from Europe and the U.S., certainly keeps people alive, but it also makes them ill because the food is not really nutritious,” Sijbesma tells Fast Company. Staple foods are mainly carbohydrates, which fill out caloric intake minimums, but the inadequately diverse diet leads to anemia, infectious diseases, and stunting. “In a closed-door session, I heard one leader say that people stay alive but become ill and cannot participate in the economy, this makes our countries poorer,” Sijbesma says. “And you call this humanitarian help?”
The session resonated with Sijbesma. And as the CEO of the largest vitamin and mineral manufacturer in the world, he saw a way for DSM to get involved in addressing the problem. Following the World Economic Forum, DSM partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to boost the presence of essential vitamins and nutrients in the food delivered to populations in need, specifically pregnant women and children within the first 1,000 days of life–a critical time frame for ensuring against stunting, which affects around 25% of children under five worldwide and prevents them from developing both physically and intellectually. The ongoing partnership, through which DSM has supplied the WFP with nutrients and vitamins to add to its fortified rice and grain products, has reached over 30 million people through aid delivery and school-feeding programs.
But DSM’s latest nutritional aid initiative goes beyond food delivery and toward establishing the economic independence Mwenda argued humanitarian aid precludes. A manufacturing facility in Rwanda, which has been operational since November and officially unveiled on May 31, is bolstering the country’s economy while producing the fortified grains, porridge flours that are supplemented with vitamins A, B6, B12, C, E & D and calcium, zinc and iron, to support infant and maternal health.
Africa Improved Foods (AIF), a partnership between DSM, the World Food Programme, the Rwandan government, and various other stakeholders like the International Finance Corporation, is the first public-private partnership to take root in Africa specifically to address malnutrition.
To source the maize and soy that forms the base of the porridges, the AIF consortium is working with 7,500 Rwandan smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women; the AIF plant has also created 314 new jobs, all filled by locals. “It’s an astounding fact that over half the people in the world who suffer from hunger are small-scale farmers,” says Rick Leach, president and CEO of the World Food Program USA. “Sourcing from local small-scale farmers will help to deal with extreme poverty and chronic hunger in the country.”
The WFP has signed a $100 million multi-year contract to purchase AIF products for its African food initiatives; so far, the products are being distributed among breastfeeding mothers and young children in Rwanda, a country where 44% of the population is affected by stunting. Drought-stricken Somalia, Egypt, and Kenya will also receive the fortified AIF products. AIF expects to contribute 5-10% to Rwanda’s export sector and bring in around $40 million to the country per year in exchanges.
Rwanda, Sijbesma says, was the ideal country to pilot this initiative in, having both a demonstrated need for nutritious food and enough political stability that the various private-sector and philanthropic stakeholders could work with the government to ensure the program takes root. The country ranks 151 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index–a composite metric tracking life expectancy and per-capita income–and despite its relative political stability now, is still struggling to recover from the 1994 genocide that ravaged the country’s population and landscape.
The support of the government, Sijbesma says, is crucial for the initiative in Rwanda, and will be should DSM be able to scale–as it plans–this models to other countries. “At DSM, we wanted to be the initiative-taker,” Sijbesma says, “but we don’t want to own this operation.” The idea behind AIF, Sijbesma says, is that DSM and other stakeholders can fund the factory’s development (they won’t release exact financials, but the project totaled in the tens of millions of dollars), and eventually create a model that’s economically self-sustaining, and locally supported. By 2022, AIF estimates it will contribute $36 million annually to the Rwandan economy through spending on materials, transport, water, employment, and sales.
The aid-via-economic-development model represented by the AIF facility is, Sijbesma says, breaking down the silos that have long been drawn around development initiatives and emergency aid. Instead of relying on the constant cycle of crisis followed by flown-in assistance, the facility, Sijbesma hopes, proves that resilience can be built into communities and independently sustained. Leach agrees. “Ultimately, the goal of aid organizations like WFP is to leave,” he says. “If we can create enough local capacity to help a country evolve to the point where they no longer need international support, that means we’ll have gotten somewhere.
Published on Fast Company on June 11, 2017.