World Humanitarian Day 2020 “Celebrating local heroes”

This World Humanitarian Day 19th August 2020, Charter4Change wish to pay tribute to all our #localheroes who demonstrate local capacity. Charter4Change wish to see the humanitarian aid system effectively reflecting a shared humanity, solidarity in diversity and equal dignity among people.

Local humanitarian workers are real life heroes, who struggle to preserve the life of others by putting their own lives on the line. Today more than ever before, it seems, humanitarian crisis abounds everywhere in their diverse forms and shapes. #LocalHeroes like the ones represented in the blogs below are humanitarians who defy all odds, make extraordinary sacrifices amidst heighten insecurity from Northeast Nigeria to Afghanistan. The COVID-19 pandemic adds an additional burden on their shoulders. “During this pandemic they bring hope, relief, food security, improved health, social cohesion, protection measures for the most vulnerable and sustainable livelihoods to survivors of humanitarian crises”, says Nkese Udongwo, Director of Humanitarian Services, Caritas Nigeria.


Philippines / ECOWEB

“In every crisis situation, we see #reallifeheroes. They are the living souls that sustain the humanity in us. But with limited resources for own protection, we see greater risks our #localheroes are facing especially in this time of pandemic when the international aid system is largely paralyzed. This WHD2020, I wish to pay tribute to all our #localheroes who demonstrate local capacity. I wish to see the humanitarian aid system effect shared humanity, solidarity in diversity and equal dignity among people.”, says Regina Nanet Antequisa, executive director of ECOWEB, Philippines.

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South Sudan / TOCH

TOCH and other local organisations are normally the first responders to community needs or disasters by being present daily, with better understanding of the community, but they are hardly recognised or considered by the global or international humanitarian funding mechanisms.

Local NGOs need to benefit from flexible, multi-year funding so they can have the resources in place to support their frontline staff and invest in the systems which keeps them safe and their work as effective as it can be. Short-term projectised funding without support to our overhead costs puts an unfair burden on the frontline responders. If donors, UN agencies and INGOs can have their costs covered, why can’t we?


South Sudan / Caritas Diocese of Rumbek (CDOR)

CDOR and other local organisations are normally the first responders to community needs or disasters by being present daily, with better understanding of the community, but they are hardly recognised or considered by the global or international humanitarian funding mechanisms. As a church-based agency, CDOR is well connected with the community in South Sudan.

Local NGOs need to benefit from flexible, multi-year funding so they can have the resources in place to support their frontline staff and invest in the systems which keeps them safe and their work as effective as it can be. Short-term projectised funding without support to our overhead costs puts an unfair burden on the frontline responders. If donors, UN agencies and INGOs can have their costs covered, why can’t we?


Philippines / ECOWEB and Johanniter International Assistance

“I am Khalid Bantog and work as a volunteer in ECOWEB Philippines. In celebrating the World Humanitarian Day, I am representing our organisation and the sector of public-spirited youth volunteers. I believe we are not only the hope, but we play a vital role in serving our community better through localizing our efforts on the ground. As a M’ranao youth volunteer, it motivates me to listen to community’s experiences and learn from it. I appreciate the bottoms-up learning and observe how resilient communities are. It was self-fulfilling to hear the success stories of the poor and oppressed and take actions to volunteer.”

Khalid Bantog, volunteer, ECOWEB Philippines

“I am Renefe Padilla and work as a Project Manager in ECOWEB Philippines. In celebrating the World Humanitarian Day, I am representing our organisation and the women sector. I have been working with various projects implemented by ECOWEB. In our humanitarian responses, we have the survivor and community led  response approach. That motivates us to be more involved in empowering communities. Participation and inclusivity are our goals. They plan and execute their own responses. They are able to support their own recovery and build their resilience. This is what motivates me, more especially to see women becoming leaders and communities becoming agents of change.”

Renefe Padilla, Project Manager, ECOWEB Philippines

Nigeria / Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center (CIRDDOC):

Excellence Chiamara from CIRDDOC Nigeria

During the covid-19 pandemic crises, CIRDDOC severally engaged rural communities through sensitization and awareness campaigns on certain behaviours that have arisen as a result of the pandemic and which is being under reported. This include rape, incest, battering among couples, child abuse and other domestic violence in various homes. We also engaged in several radio and Tv programs to send these messages across to the general public and to ensure that everyone is at watch of their neighbourhood.

CIRDDOC also took part in the SAY NO TO RAPE campaign in covid-19 by Association Against Child Sexual and Gender Based Violence (AACSGBV) in Anambra State of Nigeria. Local organisations need to take their rightful space at the table in local and national decision making, leading humanitarian response, influencing international

policy through injecting ground realism, accessing financial and other resources raised in the name of affected communities in their countries. They need to be able to access detailed information on how funds are being spent. Most of all we need to restore respect and dignity to the local heroes. We need to work in solidarity to tackle inequality and  injustice, not only in the society around   us, but  also in our own ‘aid sector’.


Nigeria / Care for the Physically Challenged and Destitute Foundation (CAPCADF)

CAPCADF is a Non-Governmental humanitarian Organization formed in 2008. Her main focus is to see that PWDs and vulnerable have access to basic needs of life through promoting literacy and vocational skills, health care services, agriculture input, soft loans and grants and participation in governance.

CAPCADF, in her humanitarian response on Covid 19 crises, organized a sensitization on Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) and on how to use them. We also produced face masks and distributed to the indigents who are PWDs, men, women, Youth and children  of the local communities in Ufuma, in Orumba North LGA, Nigeria. CAPCADF also took part in the SAY NO TO RAPE campaign in covid-19 by Association Against Child Sexual and Gender Based Violence (AACSGBV) in Anambra State of Nigeria.

Nwafor Gloria, CAPCADF in Nigeria.

Nigeria / The Big Smile Foundation

The Big Smile Foundation is a humanitarian organization that focuses on improving Education and general living standards of children (girls and boys), Adolescent girls and boys, women and the family. Since the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the organization has been working tirelessly with children in IDP camps to make sure that they do not miss out from learning despite schools being closed. The project (I Read and Learn COVID-19 Initiative) has benefitted over 200 school aged children in the past 3 months and we hope to add more children to the numbers.


Nigeria / Caritas

Humanitarian workers are real life heroes, who struggle to preserve the life of others by putting their own lives on the line. Today more than ever before, it seems, humanitarian crisis abounds everywhere in their diverse forms and shapes. The recent COVID-19 is a classic example of a public health hazard that has befallen humanity since the early part of this year.

It is in the bid to restore possible confidence, that life is still worth living, in the context of the humanitarian crisis across the globe, and possibly set the pace for a new beginning among victims of humanitarian crisis, that humanitarian workers exist and work everywhere there are crisis and humanitarian needs. – Fr. Uchechukwu Obodoechina, ES/CEO, Caritas Nigeria.

 #LocalHeroes like Caritas Nigeria, Humanitarians who defy all odds, make extraordinary sacrifices amidst heighten insecurity in Northeast Nigeria and indeed across the country, even in the raging COVID-19 pandemic they bring hope, relief, Food Security, improved health, social cohesion, protection measures for the most vulnerable and sustainable livelihoods to survivors of humanitarian crises” – Nkese Udongwo, Director of Humanitarian Services, Caritas Nigeria.


Uganda / West Nile Youth Empowerment Centre

“West Nile Youth Empowerment Centre has been implementing an initiative called Tualau Ama Ecora Door to Door Covid19 Awareness Campaign! Tu’alu Ama Ecora is a local lugbara language meaning Together We can. This was an initiative to spread information about Covid19 to the rural Communities  and create awareness on the Covid19 focus on ways the Communities can use to stop the spread of Covid19 among them with more emphasis on the Youth, elderly and women.

Today, half the global population is under 30 years old. Natural hazards, disease outbreaks and man-made crises are increasing in frequency and severity. Young people should be at the centre of how the humanitarian system responds to these crises.

Engaging young people in humanitarian action is however not a matter of if but how. Young people are key players in ‘building back better’ for themselves and their communities. Engaging young people in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery will bring better, more localised and more accountable responses. We must support the world’s largest ever youth population to create more peaceful, resilient, just and equal societies”

Drate Yassin Jaffar, Executive Director, West Nile Youth Empowerment Centre


Uganda / Shabab Peace and Environment Action Group (SPEAK)

The SPEAK team has since the emergence of the novel corona virus spent sleepless nights sensitizing the communities about the new virus that if not responded to would be devastating for the vulnerable refugees. The team carried outdoor-to-door sensitization campaigns, print and distribute IEC materials in local languages, monitor social distancing at places of gathering, produce and distribute face masks to vulnerable populations. SPEAK has been responding through a team that understands the full context of the refugee settlement and with full knowledge of engagement


Nepal / Faya

#RealLifeHeroes like Sher Bahadur Basnet and #localheroes like Shivraj Chaudhary, Rajendra Raika, Yagya Awasthi, Sarada Chaudhary, Rekha Bohara and many other FAYA volunteers have been responding to COVID-19 in Farwest-Nepal.

“You are not alone during disaster. The pandemic is neither first nor the last. Together we can defeat it. Together for new normal, together for prosperity.”

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India / Humanitarian Aid International (HAI)

Local actors led the Covid19 response from front from the early days of the pandemic, not because it was planned and facilitated by local actors, but because of the absence of international actors from the scene. That provided free and independent space to local actors to plan and execute need-based activities by mobilising resources locally. Two factors underline the uniqueness of early response to Covid19, i.e., 1) local actors and 2) local resources. The same is being undermined yet again by international actors as the funding possibility goes up. Now they are capturing again the fundraising space, coordination mechanism and decision-making platforms.


Afghanistan / Assalam Welfare Foundation

Assalam Welfare Foundation, with support from international donors, managed to reach some of the most vulnerable communities during the pandemic. With the help of their volunteers, they managed to identify those vulnerable in target areas such as IPD camps in Kabul and villages in Kunar province by carrying out need assessment and pre-distribution survey. Around 400 food packages including flour, rice, tea, cooking oil, salt, and sugar were distributed to the families affected by unemployment due to COVID-19. This program has benefitted around 3200 people! In addition to the pandemic response, Assalam Welfare Foundation also arranged awareness Shared on email sessions and distributed COVID-19 flyers and messages in 5 districts of Kunar, with support from Geneva Call during the pandemic. Assalam plans to arrange 150 more awareness sessions in areas which are going to be arranged in areas under the control of the government and those which are not under government control. In order to continue delivering essential services, local and national organisations must receive more quality funding.


Afghanistan / Citizens Organisations for Advocacy & Resilience (COAR)

COAR broadcasts up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 according to the needs of the community; for two hours every day, MOPH and WHO approved messages broadcast through Gorbat radio in Kabul. Over 30,000 Shared on email listeners receive messages on how to combat COVID-19 in their society along with what symptoms to look out for. Around 1,000 families, including women and children, benefit greatly from this program. Complementary to this service, 10,000 MOPH and WHO message-approved brochures were distributed in target provinces in Afghanistan; this has proven to be effective in the prevention of COVID-19 in these areas. Through their Livelihood, WASH, Radio, Education, and Food Security Programmes, COAR has successfully stepped up their activities in response to COVID-19. Local and national organisations are leading the Covid-19 response but are still on the margins of the humanitarian system. There must be a shift of power and transformation of the humanitarian system so that these organisations are leading efforts.


Afghanistan / Just for Afghan Capacity and Knowledge (JACK) and Johanniter International Assistance

#RealLifeHeroes are #LocalHeroes like Fatima, trauma care nurse of Just for Afghan Capacity and Knowledge (JACK) in Kunduz, Afghanistan: I work in a hard to reach area, the people who live here are the most in need of humanitarian aid. People are very thankful for the free services we provide and I am happy to serve them.

“Distribution of Masks“ Afghanistan: JACK

Bangladesh / Centre for Environment, Human Rights & Development Forum

The executive director of this Bangladeshi organisation Illias Miah is passionate about his work. During the pandemic Md. Ilias Miah worked as a frontline humanitarian. He worked hard for resilience of children, widowed, transgender & vulnerable community. He worked for livelihood, environment management, climate action & youth engagement at the time of Covid pandemic. He is a strong voice for localisation in humanitarian ground in Bangladesh. Especially in terms of #Rohingya #Refugee management he is an advocate of local partnership & capacity synergise.    


Bangladesh / Garib Unnayan Sangstha (GUS)

Our organization has been in Covid since the declaration of the epidemic in Bangladesh educating the people on how to behave in favour of barrier systems directly in communities, Both in the design and in the promotion of the good anti-Covid. We’ve created the Covid 19-Brigade, which broadcasts from megaphones to broadcast circles, Community Risk Awareness Message and Education on Covid 19 and Barrier Measures We raise funds locally and with the help of Oxfam Bangladesh to help every family. The COVID-19 response includes alternative livelihoods, including awareness raising, case management, and livelihood support in vulnerable families. We are in contact with various donors with the aim of providing humanitarian assistance.


DR Congo / Union for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights and the Environment in the Great Lakes region (UPDDHE)

The UPDDHE / GL is a key actor in the search for solutions to the various problems affecting vulnerable communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo while campaigning for the improvement of their living conditions in a climate of peace, a Prosper environment and respect for their rights in humanitarian emergencies, peacebuilding and peaceful conflict resolution, the promotion of female leadership, the fight against poverty, food insecurity and poor governance. It works with all social strata including children, young people, women and men as well as with the political-administrative authorities and local leaders in order to maximize the chances of achieving its objectives for the benefit of the deficit populations living in its areas of intervention.


DR Congo / Santé et Développement (SAD)

Our organization has been involved, since the declaration of the pandemic in the DRC, in educating the masses in the adoption of behaviour favouring barrier measures directly in the communities, both in the design and in the dissemination of good anti-covid. We have created the anti-covid brigade which circulates in the neighbourhoods broadcasting from megaphones, awareness messages and education on community risk in relation to covid and barrier measures. We mobilized influential people in the community to locally raise funds and produce masks (12,000 pieces) which were distributed to the most vulnerable people unable to afford it. With the funds raised locally, we have the health centers (8 health centers) which have notified the most suspected cases of individual protection kits for all nursing staff and on the front line. We have just provided schools (30 schools) with prevention kits against covid-19 made of hand washing kit, thermo flash, hydroalcoholic gel, soap cube etc … We have also trained journalists from all local media to increase awareness against the spread of covid-19.


Kenya / RACIDA and Johanniter International Assistance

#RealLifeHeroes are #LocalHeroes like Sabdow Dagane Osman, who works  with RACIDA in Kenya against a locust crisis. “ I was born in Mandera and I know how it feels when parents are struggling to put food on the table for their children. Since I used to see what my parents were going through, nothing makes me more happy to see when parents receive humanitarian support. I am the focal person in Mandera now, overseeing the whole implementation of all programs at the county level, representing the organisation in all the coordination forums.”


Germany / Kindernothilfe-CEO Katrin Weidemann: 

The corona pandemic and its consequences have a dramatic impact on the situation of children and their rights. We distribute seeds and food to enable children to grow up healthy and to prevent them from being sent to work or beg for money as a result of existential need. In our projects, we print out textbooks or develop digital learning units so that girls and boys can continue to learn. Our project staff has set up hotlines and online sites, stays in contact with children and young people through social media or – where possible – with home visits to protect them from violence.

Of particular importance are our numerous self-help groups. They provide valuable awareness training in their villages and communities, protect children from violence right in their families and work together to ensure that children and youth are fed properly.


UK / Christian Aid:

“A rapid learning review of our DFID Rapid Response Facility (RFF) funded COVID-19 programmes in Nigeria and Afghanistan highlights that localised responses via local Nigerian and Afghan partners are proving to be very effective in terms of ensuring rapid response and access to highly vulnerable populations amidst major challenges of Covid19 and insecurity in hard to reach areas, says Jane Backhurst senior humanitarian policy adviser with Christian Aid. Christian Aid having existing local partnerships in place in Nigeria and Afghanistan meant that the RRF interventions were able to hit the ground running in terms of partnerships, track record, due diligences completed and trust.

If we are to ensure that aid reaches those most in need in remote areas in countries hit by COVID-19, conflict, severe food insecurity and locusts, like South Sudan, then we must build on existing local partnerships that put local people in the driving seat.”


Honduras / Care

Surgeon Gabriela Portillo explains what the challenges and motivations of life as a humanitarian worker during an unprecedented pandemic

Gabriela Portillo is a surgeon and is a postgraduate degree candidate on health management. She is currently working on CARE’s COVID-19 humanitarian response in Honduras with the Prolempa Project, an initiative to increase the economic well-being of women and youth in the country’s rural Lempa region. The region is known as the Dry Corridor and its residents face severe droughts, water shortages and food insecurity due to lack of rain. With the arrival and spread of COVID-19, the team adapted its tactics and goals to the needs created by the pandemic.

“I am happy to be a humanitarian worker. There has been a great effort in the [COVID-19] response. Most of us involved in the project have not seen our families, yet the whole team remains COVID-19 negative and that is a huge relief for us. We are so aware of the responsibility we bear each time we visit a community. In this emergency response we are doing a bit of everything, from food baskets to tackle food insecurity, to providing toiletries for health and, in the case of women, we have always prioritized access to key products such as sanitary pads that are scarce and expensive in these areas. Very few times have I seen women’s needs prioritized and, in this project, we have made them a priority.

My gratitude and admiration as a young doctor to organizations like CARE and ASONOG [Association of Non-Governmental Organizations] that support our capacities, despite how hard it is to find spaces to do this kind of work. They have trusted me, have respected me and have pushed this project forward.”


One thought on “World Humanitarian Day 2020 “Celebrating local heroes”

  1. Bonjour En marge de la commémoration de la journée mondiale de l’aide humanitaire, ce 19 aout 2020, nous avons adressé une lettre au Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies dont nous envoyons en copie. Bonne exploitation Cordiales Florent BABI Coordinateur National du FONAHD RDC

    Like

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