How philanthropy can support humanitarian response
In the first few weeks of the Ukraine crisis, more than three million people were forced to flee to other countries, most with little more than the clothes on their backs. The speed at which this crisis unfolded is a striking reminder of both the fragility of our lives and how the international community must be ready at any given time to mitigate human suffering. While the conflict in Ukraine is abhorrent, unfortunately it is not isolated. Brutal acts of war are also happening in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan, to name just a few. Rapid and flexible funding is crucial in a situation like Ukraine, and others, where the context is volatile and fast-moving, with multiple neighbouring countries receiving refugees.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed important funding partnerships with philanthropies across several regions to respond to such situations. In 2020, in response to the combined impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut port explosion, which left an estimated 300,000 people displaced the IRC collaborated with Saudi philanthropy, Community Jameel and Toyota Motor Corporation. A separate partnership with Community Jameel, outlined following a roundtable between the philanthropy’s vice chairman, Hassan Jameel, and IRC president and CEO, David Miliband, scaled up a joint response to COVID-19 transmission for refugees living in Jordan.
The solid support of philanthropic partners like Community Jameel, writes Ourania Dionysiou of the IRC, means that we are not only equipped with the tools to respond to emergencies but, more critically, we are able to test, learn and design innovative solutions to support people affected by crisis and conflict.